Jaqui's Daily Blog

British Gas and Putting the World to Rights

It’s an interesting fact that, since I retired, whenever anyone phones me first thing in the morning, they assume that they have dragged me from my bed. Honestly, I really am not that lazy...


The conversations start something like: “I hoped nine o’clock would not be too early for you....” which makes me think that when I answered the phone I must have sounded half asleep and still in my pyjamas. Did I yawn as I picked up the receiver? I ask myself. I don’t think so but I can’t be sure.


I am tempted to say that I have already unpacked the dishwasher and packed it up again, scrubbed the saucepans from yesterday evening’s dinner, attacked all the kitchen surfaces with Dettol anti- bacterial surface cleanser (it kills 99.9% of bacteria, you know. I wonder what happens to the other .9%? Is it even now thumbing its nose at me and catcalling: “Yah, boo, hiss, can’t catch me!”?) I have swept the kitchen floor and emptied the bin under the sink. I stop myself from such a response on the basis that (i) I will sound as if I am protesting too much and (ii) it will be an admission that I didn’t wash and clear up immediately after yesterday evening’s dinner, like a good housewife should.


I actually dreamt about my untidy kitchen, which is why I made such an early start on it this morning.  Normally I would have waited until after I had eaten my bowl of Special K, drunk my first two cups of coffee of the day, checked my emails and Facebook messages and totted up how many people read the Daily Blog yesterday. I might even have allowed myself to watch Heir Hunters on the TV if I found myself wrapped up in a particular story. However we were expecting the Man from British Gas to service our boiler and fire and I really couldn’t let him into my kitchen in the state it was.


I expect he has seen worse things. As it happened he didn’t turn up until just before mid-day so I could have allowed myself a more leisurely breakfast after all. He was, however, within the time slot he had given us – just. He arrived in a bright blue van with the somewhat expansive statement on the side: “British Gas – we look after your world.”


Now, this is what you call hyperbole (I still remember my English lessons with the lovely Mr Hoellering). It is a blatant exaggeration. British Gas may be looking after my boiler and my gas fire but it isn’t tackling any of my other problems. I wonder what the Man from British Gas would say if I asked him to look at my tomatoes which seem to be suffering from some horrible blight which turns their bottoms black as soon as they ripen? Would he have an answer to the disappearance of Mr B’s favourite pair of scissors (still missing, regular readers will be sorry to hear.) No, I wouldn’t expect him to look after my whole world and British Gas shouldn’t set him up to fail by raising customers’ expectations. Not everyone is as understanding as I am, you know.


He did turn up on time, too. Which is more than can be said for whoever was supposed to be opening up the Church this afternoon so that I could welcome visitors and show them around, as part of my monthly Church Watch duties.  When I arrived the doors were well and truly bolted. 


Patience is my middle name so I waited quarter of an hour before looking for a telephone number I could ring. In the meantime I checked my mobile phone several times to make sure that it was still August 21st. Why I had to check it more than once is a mystery. I can only imagine that, in my head, if I could check the date and find that it was 22nd August – well that would have explained everything. Except that, hang on, then I would have felt even worse, for missing my slot on Church Watch. There is no answer from the Church Watch Co–ordinator when I ring. I left a message – a faintly apologetic (why?) message as if it’s my fault that I have turned up on time to find the door locked against me.


I look around the churchyard for somewhere to sit but there are no handy benches. Is this because they might get vandalised or should I maybe put in a suggestion to the Parochial Church Council? In case I find myself in this position again. I am sure a bench would be helpful to others, I add hastily, in case it sounds as if I am only thinking of myself.


I find a perch on the tomb of John Longman and his family. I hope he won’t mind but my legs and back are aching. He’s been a long time dead so I expect he’s used to people stopping by. I lean back against the cool marble of the tomb and watch the squirrels.


My fellow Watcher turns up. She is a bit late but I’m not about to draw her attention to the fact. She is much, much crosser than I am about the locked door. She insists on ringing the Church Watch Co-ordinator herself, even though I tell her I have already rung him and he is, quite definitely, Not At Home. On reaching only his Voice Mail message, she declares that she is off home.  Reluctantly I say goodbye to John Longman and the squirrels and accompany her back to her car to make sure she gets there safely as rage seems to be making her shaky on her feet. It is clear that all is not well in her world.


Where’s British Gas when you need them?

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Latest comments

23.04 | 20:15

lovely and heartwarming - an inspiration to us all x

09.03 | 12:07

Love this story told as ever beautifully.x

10.11 | 21:31

What a super account of a special event. I loved meeting you last night and seeing your creation come together. I’m so pleased you got so much from the activity

07.09 | 13:17

I have broad shoulders x

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