Cellardyke … the Gas Man cometh

An early start this morning as I drove over to Cellardyke for 08:00. Not early enough, and I’d forgotten that the car needed more petrol as I cranked the engine and the Feed Me Fuel light glowed a smug hue of yellow in the darkness of this Edinburgh morning; I arrived around 08:30.

I know I’m getting old when I arrive at the house and the first thing I do is switch on the kettle. I’m surprised I didn’t rub my hands together and mutter, “Ooh! I think I’ll have a nice cuppa, first!” I don’t even drink tea or coffee. And even if I did there was neither a teaspoon in the house, nor a drop of milk!

I know I’m not getting that old when the kettle boils, I open the cupboard and instead of reaching for the tub of Options Belgian hot chocolate I decide to eat an entire 200g bar of Co-op Fair Trade chocolate for my breakfast. I certainly felt much better for that. Yum yum — thanks Mum for the house-warming gifts (I later had some cup-a-soup for my lunch too, that Mum had left us).

I had work to do before the gas man arrived — there was no “WHERE WERE YOU?!” note through the door when I arrived, so I knew that I’d beaten him there. When he pulled up around 10:30 I’d painted one wall with anti-damp paint, removed the fixtures in the bathroom (with a hammer!), filled in the resulting holes in the wall (*whistles and looks innocent*), and was in the process of a) trying to close a window with a hammer and a file, and b) removing, measuring, cleaning and trying to refit various bits of ‘door furniture’ — a ridiculous collective term for handles, door knobs, letter boxes and numbers.

Our gas boiler — a ‘back boiler’ behind the gas fire in the kitchen — was last made in 1981. Of its 140+ servicable parts Scottish Gas can now successfully get their hands on twelve of them. Thankfully the one part that does need replacing they can get. Still, we will need to replace this antique some time soon. Preferably when we have the money to do so! In the words of the gas engineer, the standard boilers are “a hundred times safer” than these back boilers. That’s always good to know.

While he was upstairs fixing a couple of radiators (one that leaked, another that didn’t come on at all) I sat in the kitchen on a beanbag (one of only 3 pieces of furniture in the house), supping a mug of cup-a-soup, writing my Deep Impact presentation.

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Gareth Saunders

I’m Gareth J M Saunders, 52 years old, 6′ 4″, father of 3 boys (including twins). Enneagram type FOUR and introvert (INFP), I am a non-stipendiary priest in the Scottish Episcopal Church, I sing with the NYCGB alumni choir, play guitar, play mahjong, write, draw and laugh… Scrum master at Safeguard Global; latterly at Sky and Vision/Cegedim. Former web architect and agile project manager at the University of St Andrews and previously warden at Agnes Blackadder Hall.

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