Personally, I blame the Usher Gene.
I didn't immediately apportion blame. Or, at least, I blamed it all on our (still fairly new) boiler. Intriguingly, looking
back to this very day last year, February 3rd 2015 was the day the boiler packed up on the first of several occasions. I couldn't believe it when the same happened today. It was almost as if our boiler had checked its own diary and announced, smugly; "Today's
We were welcoming all our Nomination Whist group members into our home for their fortnightly session of cards and conversation, fun and laughter. How lovely it was, everyone commented as they deposited
their winter coats in an orderly heap on the stairs, to come in Out Of The Cold.
Except that as the afternoon wore on, a definite chill permeated our cosy home. Mr B, investigating in between card games, reported
that Something Was Very Wrong in the Boiler Department.
Now, Mr B is what I call an Immediate Person. As in, when he discovers that something needs doing, he is of the firm view that it needs doing immediately.
If not, indeed, sooner. As the person required to effect the action - immediate or otherwise - I occasionally grapple with mixed priorities. As in, Dead Boiler versus very much alive crowd of friends, all awaiting their coffee and shortbread biscuits. Once
everyone has departed, I reassured The Immediate One, I would do battle with British Gas. Promise! I added. Mr B grunted and growled a bit but went back to the card table.
As soon as I had waved the last person
off along the garden path, I was as good as my word and through on the telephone to Helpful Shaun before you could say "Dead Boiler". Thirty minutes later, an engineer arrived at our front door. We had been granted emergency status due to Mr B's need to be
kept warm. Sometimes, just sometimes, it's worth using every argument at one's disposal.
Mr Gasman wanted to know where he could find the plug which turns off the boiler. Oh, don't you hate it when people
ask you questions like that? As in, questions to which you don't know the answer. I appealed to Mr B but he was in one of his "why have a dog and bark yourself?" moods. Put simply, no help at all.
and I searched everywhere for the plug. This required a search of any number of cupboards, all crammed full, Usher Gene style. The Usher Gene, regular readers will doubtless recall, renders those afflicted with an ability to find room for just about anything
in places where no room exists. Extra carton of milk in the fridge? No problem. Just wedge it in on top of the packet of Cathedral Cheese bought specially for Young Sam when he came to stay at Christmas and never used. It might be necessary to stack the spreadable
butter on top of the Large Organic Eggs and relegate the jars of home-made preserve to the very back of the refrigerator - but, hey, that carton of milk will not be left homeless.
Mr Gasman, of course, knew
nothing of the Usher Gene as he embarked upon his search. There was the Saucepan Cupboard, a search of which brought pots, pans and an occasional rolling pin toppling out onto the kitchen floor. Then there was the Cupboard Above the Microwave from which a
veritable shower of plastic bowls and assorted kitchen utensils (mostly unused) descended noisily around our ears. I knew I was in for more trouble when Mr Gasman decided to inspect the airing cupboard....
Eventually the plug was located - at the very back of the larder. A quick switch and we were sorted. At which point I remembered that, while clearing up the kitchen in preparation for the arrival of our card- playing guests (well, even I occasionally
feel bound to Keep Up Appearances) I had stowed away several packets of cereal, previously littering the breakfast bar, in the larder. Could I possibly - just possibly - have tripped the switch while piling in the packets willy nilly?
I haven't yet confessed even the possibility to Mr B. After all, it wasn't really my fault.
As I said, I blame the Usher Gene. It has such a lot to answer for...