Tuesday, January 16, 2007

2007 seems to be mad at us. I had intended to greet the new year with pancakes and irish coffee but just couldn't stay awake long enough. We had pancakes for breakfast on new year's day, and irish coffee some nights later, but it seems the expected combination at midnight on the day was called for.

We started off sick. First Paul, then me. The kind of sick that keeps you in bed for a week, with a never-ending cough. I finally got rid of the cough with mustard soup, which was just like a warm mustard poultice for the inside. Currently I am searching for a good recipe that I can use when it's no longer possible to go and buy a bag of the stuff from the supermarket.

Then, having recovered enough to get out of bed, it's cold. Temperature inside the house only 19 degrees. Boiler needs filling. Paul comes home Friday night and refills the boiler.

Next morning, downstairs is flooded. Water dripping through the ceiling. We bring out the towels and buckets, another leak develops during the day on the other side of the ceiling.

Hmm. And all we did was refill the boiler.

There's a bit of history here. Just before Christmas we noticed a leak starting which seemed to be linked to filling the boiler and called in the plumber. He came (three days later), checked it out and assured us it was NOT the central heating. He said it was almost certainly water leaking from around the bath, because the seals were faulty and he would send someone to fix that.

So we used the upstairs bathroom for the next few weeks, but still there is leakage. Usually after filling the boiler, but now we know that the central heating system is not at fault. The expert has told us this.

Until Saturday.

Anyway, the leak cleared up, and when the central heating system kicked in later in the day, out came more water. So we turned it off. More water came out. So we refilled the boiler and turned it on again. Now the water gushed through the ceiling! S o we turned it all off again.

In the morning, the leaking had stopped. But the house is of course icy cold and there's no hot water for showers. And nobody, but nobody, does plumbing work on the weekend in the Netherlands.

Monday morning first thing I phone the insurance company. I reckon if anyone can get change out of the lackadaisical plumbers they have here, it's them. I phone again at noon and again at two. At two they put me through directly to the company that does the stuff for them. Oh, nobody told us it's an emergency, they say.

At three I get a phone call from the guy who's supposed to be handling and he'll see what he can do about getting me a plumber tomorrow.

Tomorrow. What about tonight? What am I supposed to do after four days with no central heating? Get pneumonia?

We are not happy.

Even worse, we can't get gas for our gas heater. The companies who deliver don't do butane. Today, I will make this the insurance company's problem as well.

Paul has decided not to brave the bath in a bucket, heated lukewarmly by the contents of a kettle. He's taken his clothes off to work, to use the shower facilities there. I will need a shower today, I can't stand myself any more so I'll take myself off to the gym and shower there in their somewhat public (eek!) facilities.

We are definitely not happy. Perhaps tonight I should make those pancakes and the irish coffee. 2007 needs placating.