The gasman cometh

Today we were visited by the gasman though I suppose I should be polite and refer to him as an engineer. A pleasant enough young man, he was here to check our gas appliances for safety, a legal requirement on our landlords, the Council, that we are happy to cooperate with.

Last year, the gasman, I mean engineer, who was carry out the same task never appeared, despite my waiting in for him and readying the special radio bell we use when expecting visitors because the built-in one doesn’t work. The fact that this one turned up at all was therefore a cause for celebration. This was not to last.

“Where’s your boiler?” he enquired brightly.

I looked at him narrowly. “Er, boiler?”

“Yes, your gas boiler.”

“We don’t have one.”

It was his turn to look at me narrowly. “No boiler?” Then, with an air of gotcha in his voice: “How do you heat your water?”

“Electricity,” I replied. “Immersion heater. Under the sink.”

Any triumph on my part was short-lived. Before he had even made the slightest gesture towards examining the gas fire, he said “Open gas fires are not allowed in bedrooms. I’ll have to disconnect it.”

I think I have already explained that we live mainly in one room precisely because it is the only room with any heating. In winter, what passes for the bedroom with its 7-foot by 7-foot window which cannot be replaced or double-glazed because it is ancient and therefore protected, becomes like a refrigerator. Living like Eskimos, er I mean Inuit, in an igloo is the sensible strategy.

“Let me get this straight,” said I thoughtfully. “If the bed were in the other room there would be no problem.” He agreed that this was so. I did think of suggesting he come back another day after we had moved the bed – temporarily – to the other room but it all seemed too much trouble somehow, especially as we are awaiting surveyors to discuss refurbishment with us. No doubt I will regret it come the winter.

“Anyway,” he continued cheerfully as he cut the gasfire’s jugular, “being without heating makes you a priority for refurbishment.” I think I was supposed to look cheerful at that point, instead of which I looked even more doleful. Refurbishment means moving out for the duration and paying to move our possessions and what passes for furniture while they install gas central heating that we don’t want, and heaven knows what else.

It is now nearly 3 pm, well after the surveyor’s appointment time of 1 pm and he has not appeared. (Perhaps he used to be a gas engineer.) Tigger has taken an afternoon off work so he’d better come or they will be hearing from us.


About SilverTiger

I live in Islington with my partner, "Tigger". I blog about our life and our travels, using my own photos for illustration.
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6 Responses to The gasman cometh

  1. emalyse says:

    It’s a good game waiting for these people sometimes (OK not at all).Shame about the gas fire cut off. Our last place was a maisonette which only electricity heating (no timer) and ancient storage heaters with a very draughty stairway and single glazing throughout with copious condensation.. not fun in winter. If you accept a refurb, how long do they expect you to vacate for?.

  2. Chris says:

    All these new rules and regulations they keep introducing do nothing but cause disruption. Why can’t they just let you enjoy your open gas fire in peace, eh? Still, at least it’s summer, so there shouldn’t be much danger of freezing just yet.

    Our last place was a one bedroom flat and the storage heaters were ridiculously expensive to run. We eventually got a couple of those halogen portable electric heaters (they’re so bright you could probably use them to light your house as well as heat it!) and, later, a couple of oil-filled electric radiators. All of the above somewhere around a tenner each (brand new, of course) so there are alternatives to mains gas fires. The important thing with older and colder places like yours is not to heat the house till its like a furnace, but to keep a certain low level of background heat going, so you’re protected against damp.

    As for that big window letting cold air in, we used to have big windows too and every winter we covered them with a special transparent sealer that you can get from most branches of Wilko’s. Looks like polythene but isn’t, ; I think it’s called Window Seal, or something similar. Not expensive. Definitely worth a go. Failing that, if it’s a harsh winter this year, you could just try huddling together for warmth. (Or get hot water bottles?)

  3. SilverTiger says:

    I lived with night storage heaters for many years and found they worked quite well apart from their obvious inflexibility though the modern ones have control both for the inputting of energy and for the release of heat and this makes them more viable.

    Draughts can largely nullify the effects of the heating system brrrr and damp is not much fun because in addition to the unsightliness it makes things go mouldy and gives everything a characteristic smell.

    The surveyors (I think they deserve a blog entry on their own) were surprisingly gung-ho, suggesting we may not need to move out at all.

    I shall miss the old gas fire as it got me through the winter and I feel affection for it.

    Huddling together for warmth: what a good idea!

  4. emalyse says:

    Hello Both- We used that window sealer many years ago-It was like cling film but you applied it across the inner window frame and used a hair dryer to heat it and it went went rigid like instant secondary glazing. It worked well except you had to destroy it in summer in order to get to your windows to open them again.

  5. SilverTiger says:

    We’ll bear it in mind. If we move the bed back into the back room, it might be useful.

  6. Pingback: ShiverTiger « SilverTiger

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