“Brrrr. It’s cold this morning” was my first thought when Toby woke me up by prodding my nose with his paw and then pulling my hair with his teeth.
The wind was roaring outside in a temper and I wouldn’t let any of the cats go out in that weather. I switched on the bedside light. No power. So I found a torch and went into the garage to switch the trip back on.
“Funny, why hasn’t the boiler kicked in?” I wondered vaguely as I went back to bed to wait for daylight.
When it was time to get up I realised the radiators were stone cold and the bathroom was not very cosy. No hot water either. Getting the fire going was a priority but then I had to decide how early one could telephone the plumber.
I waited till quarter past eight and dialled his number. Bother, it was the answerphone. Either he’d already gone to work or he was having a lie-in but I left a message. By lunchtime he still hadn’t got back to me so I thought I’d better try again.
Friends had warned me that French plumbers were notorious for being hard to get hold of so this time I listened carefully when the message announced his mobile number. The line wasn’t very clear and Bear was rattling the newspaper and snorting so I couldn’t hear it clearly. It meant redialling and taking the phone somewhere quieter.
It was the plumber himself who answered.
“I’ll be round ‘au debut de l’aprèsmidi’ .” he said when I explained the problem.
Wow, if only I could believe that! But, having fielded Bear away from the boiler on a couple of occasions already, I could only hope.
Bless his cotton socks, the plumber rang the bell at ten past two.
“I like to come promptly when boilers break down”, he said cheerfully. He inspected both the boiler and the water heater, and decided that a strong draught must have blown out the pilot lights and so turned off the gas. He had it firing in a matter of minutes but he was a bit doubtful about the pump.
“I’ll just give it ten minutes or so to see if it’s working OK.”
He came through for a coffee while he was waiting. But when we went back it went out again. This may have been due to the draught but he fiddled about with the pump and it seemed to be ‘stuck’ until he poked about with his screwdriver and caused hot, dirty water to spurt everywhere.
“There’s no point in replacing it if I can get it to work,” he said, “but keep an eye on it and if it seizes up again, let me know.”
He had been here about an hour. What did he charge?
The house is warming up nicely again and the cats have realised they can curl up on the radiators as usual.
I think I’ve found a treasure.