Posting days: Sunday and Wednesday and, sometimes, maybe, extra ‘news flashes’!
Wednesday November 30th 2016
It’s my fault that we’re shivering during this coldest of cold spells. I should have done something sooner: like when the boiler first began making very strange noises. At first I thought that it was the next door neighbours knocking down a wall, but it soon became clear that the sounds were coming from somewhere nearer home. As I approached the kitchen, I fantasized that the boiler had detached itself from the wall and was throwing itself around the room.
No. It was still attached to the wall. But the noise it was making was amazing. It sounded as though someone had left a pair of football boots inside it. Really.
Then, last Friday morning, it switches itself off. Despite several attempts, I can’t persuade it to restart. I explain my woes to British Gas.Between us we decide that it’s unlikely I’ll die of cold before the morning. B., the engineer, will come tomorrow.
B. arrives at 8.30. I leave Isis in bed. She is very good and doesn’t complain until almost 11.00. I manage to take her into the garden while B. is collecting tools from his van, then bundle her into the front room. She is not amused when I serve her breakfast there, and she defends her food vociferously, growling and snapping and barking just as she used to before she became a reformed dog.
B. explains that the boiler needs a new heat exchanger. This will have to be ordered so can’t be fitted until Wednesday, but he manages to revive the boiler enough to give us some heat. It will not work as it should but will switch itself on until it reaches a certain heat when it will switch itself off again. We have a gas fire in the back room and a small electric radiator which can be lugged up to the bedroom. B. will bring a fan heater for the front room.
It is freezing, literally, most of the week and when we return from our walks it is very hard to resist the temptation to turn up the gas fire, creep onto the futon, wrap myself up in a fleece blanket and snuggle up to that warm little Isis. Most days that’s what I do. Fortunately, she’s much more tolerant than she used to be, and as long as I’m reasonably still and move away from her when she growls, we co-exist quite comfortably. Don’t get anything done, though. I tell myself that being cold is very tiring, switch on the radio and go to sleep.
At night, too, it’s cold, despite the radiator. I even put a second fleece blanket on the bed and spread it over Isis as well. She doesn’t usually feel the cold but she she stays under the fleece most of the night. Again fortunately, she has become a much better bedmate. If she’s first to bed, she no longer growls ferociously when I join her; in fact, she usually doesn’t growl at all. She even allows me to sneak my feet up against her so I can feel the heat of her body radiating through the covers.
In this way, together we manage to keep reasonably warm. Until this morning. It’s Hairy One’s monthly anal gland appointment and I get up at seven. It’s freezing. A glance out of the window confirms that all of the car windows are covered with frost. And the heating is off again. It’s far too cold to have a shower. Hopefully, the vet and the nurse will think the smell is coming from Isis.
I think that the frost encrusted car will be a shock even to the most robust dog and wrap Isis up in the warm winter coat she inherited from Ellie, my previous dog. She doesn’t protest. Once the windows are scraped we set off. At least the car heating works.
It’s after 3.00. Isis is waiting to go out. But she can’t go yet as we are expecting B., the gas man. I am very, very cold. She is sleeping on the futon but, rather stupidly, I wake her up to check whether she is warm enough. She is. She’s nearer to the fire than I am. Sitting at the computer, I’m sure that the dead radiator next to me is pumping out cold.
B. phones to apologise. His last job has run over by two hours and fitting the heat exchanger is a three hour job. He’ll not be able to do it until Friday, but he’s come to restart the boiler. Hopefully, it will struggle on until Friday.
Better work on keeping that new, warm relationship going, Isis.
Isis came from the Aeza cat and dog rescue and adoption centre in Aljezur, Portugal. For information about adopting an animal from the centre, contact email@example.com or www.dogwatchuk.co.uk