Pete went to Finland last Monday (that’s 25 October) with his sister, to bury his mother’s ashes and see lawyers and bankers about her estate. He left me with a non-working boiler (see previous post).

Some friends popped in first thing Monday to take a look, but it was beyond their abilities, so I called the people who had fixed (if they did indeed fix) the pressure gauge a few weeks previously. They arrived after Pete had been delivered to the railway station, prodded and poked, tutted a bit, and said I needed a new PCB. They scuttled off to fetch one from their supplier, fitted it and … there was at least power, but no ignition. They prodded and poked some more, but couldn’t fix it, so that was £154 for not much.

In desperation, I phoned British Gas. They do a range of repair services, and I opted for the fixed price at £99, parts and labour, with a further 12 months at £20 for any other repairs (apart from scale related ones, which paints a lovely picture to me). This was the right decision, as in the end we had a new ignition board, new wiring and pressure valve to replace the ones that had melted(!), and it required the services of two BG engineers and two visits to fix – we had a little coven of gas vans outside.

On the Monday night we had a problem with the web servers that I didn’t know how to fix, and Pete was not answering his phone, so I panicked quite a lot. Hat tip and huge thanks to ICUK, our ISP, who sorted it out for me, working late into the night. There were some other bits and bobs that needed Pete’s attention, but they all got sorted thanks to the all-you-can-eat internet from a Finnish telco and his trusty netbook. But by then I was so bloody stressed and exhausted that I took Thursday and Friday off in a virtual sort of way, and just answered e-mails.

On Friday night I drove across the Pennines to Manchester airport to collect him from a flight due to land at 22:20. Which actually landed at 23:00, and there was a huge queue at immigration, so he didn’t get through til 23:20. There is *nothing* at Manchester T3 except a Spar. I had nothing to read, no headphones, and had a fairly miserable wait WITHOUT TEA. So we decided to stop on the way back, but UK services are very poor in the middle of the night, so we just used the loos and carried on. Was very nice to have him home, I can tell you.

The Merc is very enjoyable for that sort of run, but the wind across the Pennings was ferocious that night, and it wallowed a bit.

We had a slumping day on Saturday, and on Sunday went to look at Magnet kitchens (nice, but too expensive for my tastes), then had a walk round Cottingham, and a £6.99 carvery in the West Bulls, which was better than you might think.

And now – life is back to what passes for normal. I hope.

waiting lists

perlmonger‘s appointment for his MRI scan came through on Friday – it’s for 16th June, which is remarkably prompt, and much quicker than we thought.

which is good, given the story here. Although, of course, in a “that’s not a light, it’s a train” fashion, they could be doing it as an emergency …

he also has two followup appointments at the Eye Hospital tomorrow, with two different consultants. So at least we may know more after them.

phew …

Pete woke up this morning not being able to see very well out of his right eye. It had started yesterday, and got worse overnight.

so he phoned NHS direct, who were wonderful – asked lots of questions, then said someone would phone him back “within three hours”. It was about ten minutes.

after asking more questions, they suggested that he contact the nearest eye hospital forthwith, as it sounded as though it was possible that he had a detaching retina. Aaargh.

so he phoned, and got an appointment for 2 p.m. *Today*. And got there, and was eye-dropped and examined, and out again by 2:50. And it’s just badgerdom – a floater in his eye.

for which, much relief. But that’s the first cause either of us have had to use any sort of emergency NHS in years and years and years – and we were enormously impressed with the speed the matter was dealt with.

aw …

yesterday was a particularly nasty day – I can’t remember the last time a client e-mail reduced me to tears (of rage, mostly).

we were making chicken and lentils for supper, and discovered we were out of lemons, so perlmonger manfully volunteered to pop up to the off licence and get some (we have a very civilised off licence in the village).

and bless him, he bore home a bottle of one of my absolute, uncheap, favourite wines – Cloudy Bay, *straight out of their chill cabinet*, so I could drink it straight away.


that, the aforementioned lentils, and a couple of episodes of West Wing made things a little brighter. Although I’ll have to deal with it today somehow.