Monday, February 26, 2007


The boiler's broken.

The trouble is that it's not just broken, it's probably heading for the boiler graveyard in the sky.

On Friday evening I was out, rehearsing for my play, saying lines that weren't supposed to be there and not saying lines that are, due to a serious memory problem that I seem to be suffering of late. It had been a technical rehearsal, just two weeks before the play, so we had all arrived early to help with the set and everything else. It had been a long day.

I left feeling very upset with myself, partly because I seem unable to grasp this part, despite countless hours spent learning it, hence lack of blog this week, and partly because I have this annoying habit of being oversensitive whenever anyone says anything remotely personal to me. This means that I probably annoy people more because I am over sensitive than because I need another week to learn my lines. And besides my lines were SO much better than they were the previous week, and it is a VERY large part, and why did no-one see that........... Well of course no-one is interested. That's the job in hand. No-one wants to know how much work you have put in. They just want the job done.

So I got home, expecting full sympathy and understanding, to be greeted by hubby with the news that he was very sorry to interrupt me, but that there was a much more pressing issue at stake. The boiler had died. It had in fact been throwing out yellow flames before he had turned it off. So it was fortunate that he caught it in its stride. Otherwise we might not have been there to catch it all.

That's the problem when you buy huge old house, with huge mortgage for huge family. You don't have anything spare to fix the old bits. Like a boiler throwing carbon monoxide poisoning into the room.(Well, some might..... We don't.) Furthermore, in old houses they didn't think that when they attached gas boiler to old fashioned chimney that European legislation would dictate that this would be illegal in twenty years time, and as such, not only will we need a new boiler, we will need an entirely new system, and we will probably have to knock down some (albeit disgusting) conservatory style lean to affair, so as to accommodate new boiler on an outside wall somewhere close to where it currently is. It is a major job. Major. And there is NO scope on the mortgage for an extension of funds.

Of course I had been hoping for a while to replace said boiler, with a range. One a bit like the one that was taken out of the said fireplace by our predecessor. In the days before the fashionable became unfashionable, before it became fashionable again. In the days when they thought that a white boiler slightly yellowish with age was more attractive to look at than a black cast iron range. I live in wild hope. I even have picture of a nice green range on the wall above the boiler. If you close your eyes to a certain point and concentrate very hard, you can almost see what it would look like, and if you get really good at it you can miss out the yellow boiler from your sights all together.

I did wonder momentarily if I could blame my line learning on the boiler's emissions. Probably not. It's probably down to needing more hours...... Perhaps we could invent a new calendar with a twenty eight hours day. Those extra four hours are probably all I need.

So I had less sympathy than I wanted, and I was cold too.

The next morning 6 year old came downstairs. "Mummy", she said. "Yes" said I, wondering what little piece of wisdom was about to come forth. "The boiler's broken." "Yes I know." I said. "That's a nuisance". "And you know that bread you made last night for us? In the breadmaker, before you went out?" "Yes" said I. "Well, I think that you had forgotten to put something in it. Because it was all flat and tasted like dough."

Amazing what a bit of yeast can do.


The very nice man said...

Haha! No yeast?? What a muppet!! Sorry, just had to say that to deflect the attention away from my mistake in the bread-making arena!
I added too much yeast and the dough stuck to the lid of the bread maker, making an almighty mess!

enid said...

whereas enid forgot to add the water, and came back to some nice flour, just as she left it 4 hours before.

she's had to replace an old boiler too. it's horrible having to spend money on things like that. good luck with the range of your desires!

Sally Lomax said...

VNM. Indeed what a muppet.

Enid - Range maybe out of our range for some time yet. But I lvie in hope!

Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear about your problems, I know the feeling well. My pension barely covers my necessary outgoings, so having my central heating repaired is out of the question at the moment. Still. it's getting warmer now....hopefully.

I divorced my "old boiler" when I found out she was seeing another man! Trouble is I haven't found a young, rich, blonde nyphomanic with a sports car who owns a pub yet. Still, I keep hoping.......


Momo said...

I am over sensitive and get frequenly that feeling: I allways forget something- these days I have to study for a test that it will be by the end of March so I'd better retain the information!
It is time to be a sharp-girl...

Sally Lomax said...


My husband says that it is because my head of full of such a lot of stuff that I forget things!

So clear you head and give yourself some time, and you will be fine.

I realised from the things that you write on your blog that you, like me are very sensitive.

Sometimes over my sensitivlty is a real pain in the neck. I never managed to develop that thick skin that people told me to get when I was a child!

Asha said...

LOL @ the yeast err.. lack of it!!

I love that range,it's beautiful!Pity it broke.Hopefully,it's fixable.

Our water heater went kaput last week and it's winter!!But got it fixed quickly,NEED the hot water!

elena jane said...

oops @ the yeast, we added too little for our bread and it's HEAVY!
sorry about the boiler, not a good thing!

Beccy said...

Sorry to hear about the boiler Sally, I hate having to spend money on pratical, boring stuff. Isn't paing a huge mortgage enough!

Hope you have more luck learning your lines this week.

Break a leg!

Sally Lomax said...

Asha - sadly that'a picture of the range I would like. We have a sad whhite - yellowish - boiler at the moment!

Thanks Elena Jane! It was funny the bread!

Thanks Beccy! I do hope so!!

Ignorminious said...

It never rains but it pours!

My mother routinely forgets to switch her bread maker on, then comes back after a few hours to find the ingredients sitting there exactly as she left them.

We had to change our boiler a little while ago as it also died. Friend of mine lived in a flat up until a fortnight ago that had the boiler on an internal wall. The landlord was a total cowboy and had refurbished the place without planning permission and broken about every regulation in the book.

Eventually the system leaked and was condemned. When the landlord refused to do anything about it she moved out, after a full 2 months with no heating at all.

Wendz said...

You live as I do...from month to month trying to make ends meet, hoping with all your heart that there won't be a catastrophe that needs money to fix it. I understand you completely. I hate emptying my letterbox because I fear the demand for money from some governmental dept or other.

It sucks!

And good luck with the learning..I am not far behind you in age btw, nearly 41 (on Friday actually) so my memory fails me too these days! Embarrassingly so at times.

ChrisB said...

poor you, I remember when our boiler broke down when the oil practically froze (long story we were trying to save money) - but we were lucky and managed to get it repaired.

aaah yeastless (sorry lame joke=useless)

meredic said...

Hot water is for wimps!

Karmyn said...

No yeast - too funny.

That sucks about the boiler. Sorry to hear it died. I fear the same in my house - our furnace is acting up quite a bit. The one good thing is if it died, we could get a/c.

What play are you in? (I am very impressed!!!!)

Ailsa said...

Our boiler almost died 2 years ago. The service man assured us that it couldn't be repaired and sent us a quote for a very expensive replacement. Luckily the boiler survived, but we know that it may give up at anytime. Now if we were sensible we would start saving up - but have we? With 2 teenage children - no chance!

Sally Lomax said...

Ignorminious - That's awful about your friend's landlord!
Wendz - Thanks Wendz!! I agree. Glad I'm not alone on the memory thing. Hopefully I'll get those lines this week!
Chris - We've done daft things like that to save money. And it can be disasterous can't it? Oil boilers are particularly temperamental. We had one in an old house, and I remember once we let the oil run out, and the whole thing had to be restarted!
Meredic - that's a funny pic Meredic! Everyone should have a look! (

Sally Lomax said...

Hi Karmyn!
It's called Memory of Water! I'm a bossy woman, (she was played by Julie Walters in the Film - "Before you Go" - same story) organising her mother's funeral with her two sisters!! It sounds morbid, but it's actually funny. (At least, it should be!)
p.s. What's A/C?

Ailsa - Hope the boiler survives!!! Fingers crossed!!

pierre l said...

Hi Sally
I remember seing "Memory of Water" in Hampstead a long time ago. On that particular evening, one of the characters was jumping on a bed (already occupied by her boyfriend or ex-boyfriend) when the bed came apart. I don't think that was part of the story! We had come from Berkshire to watch my favourite actress (who had lovely long hair at the time, and whom I had previously seen in Peer Gynt). Unfortunately, I think the Forest of Dean is too far to come and see you perform in this. But I did listen to your radio program last Friday, and that was good.
And good luck with the boiler - have you had a second opinion, or are you sure it faulty?
Pierre in Berkshire

Momo said...

"I never managed to develop that thick skin that people told me to get when I was a child!"
You ruin even my last hope...I will always be the same: lyrical and tender!
If we are pretty much the same it means that I will have FIVE children...OMG!What age did you start giving mommy?
Glad to "meet" you, Sally!

Sally Lomax said...


Hello and welcome!! And thank you for listening to my radio show!!


I was just 28 when Emily, my eldest was born and 37 nearly 38 when my youngest was born. So you are doing just fine!

Julia Buckley said...

comiserations, I'm sure there are plenty of other things you'd rather spend your money on. Still, your kitchen looks lovely!

JoeinVegas said...

Will you live on sticks burned in the fireplace for the rest of the winter then? Oh my, cold mornings!

Sally Lomax said...

Hi Julia!

Yes absolutely! And sadly, that is just a picture pf how I would like the kitchen to look..............

Unfortunately it doesn't yet. The current one is a yellowy white ordinary boiler..........

Hi Joe!

Indeed we will. We literally have a woodburner........

Sequel coming up shortly, re immersion heaters and stuff....................

Watch this space!