On Saturday, we had a lovely few hours at the stables. Okay, so the wind was blowing rather wildly but Blue (be still my beating heart) handled it well, flattening his ears at the harder gusts and steering me through the woods like an old-fashioned gentleman. The love affair is deepening, he whickered joyfully as I approached and started snorting when I drew two carrots out of my pocket. It was freezing though, I was quite glad to be back in the warmth of the office as we block booked a month's worth of lessons. We spent the rest of Saturday pottering and went to the Harvester's for dinner.
On Sunday, Lydia, Bea and I went to Lakeside Shopping Centre - me to buy some summer things for The Hen Weekend, Lydia to buy new underwear and Bea to see if she could cope with Burberry-wearing men and women in a confined space. You think I'm joking! She drove us there, cursing at other drivers, one of whom cut us up as he was in danger of missing the Lakeside turn-off and shot across all three lanes. She called him a very rude word that had Lydia in hysterics in the back. Bea relaxed once we were in House of Fraser and disappeared into the handbag section. Eventually she returned to us and we headed off for lunch. Bea was a bit concerned about hitting the Food Court "Darling - Burger King?" she said with horror in her eyes. Both Lydia and I could have murdered a jacket potato (me with chilli, her with cheese) but Bea wasn't impressed. "Fat Jackets? Is that a wise name choice for a restaurant?". We eventually got her sitting down and stuck into a salad. Lydia got her new knickers, I got a tankini, some shorts, pedal pushers and some T-shirts and Bea decided that, as long as she had some lavender smelling salts and a decent Dick Francis, she could cope with the rigours of an economy flight.
Bea dropped me home where I found my husband, child and three dogs sitting mournfully on the stairs. "The heating is dead mummy" said Mac, pulling his denim jacket closer round himself. "I've asked Jack Next Door to lend us his heater, so we've got some warmth in at least one room, he's looking it out now." David added, greeting me with a kiss. It was unbelievably cold - it was warmer in the fridge. The plumber David rang was "busy until mid June", the bloke that Jack Next Door recommended is "away until next Friday" but John, his details found on a card in the papershop window, would be round "first thing mate".
No heat, and no hot water either. Wouldn't you know it on the coldest May Bank Holiday in, well, ages. Mac was given a tiny bath last night (four kettles worth and a load of cold water). We slept, all six of us, in our bedroom with the heater on full pelt and the door closed. I woke up at half past two when I felt all three dogs trying to get on the bed with us. I gave up wrestling at twenty to three and left them to it - they were nice and cosy on my feet.
"First thing" came and went. We got to mid morning (it's amazing how much you miss hot water out of a tap until you haven't got it) and still no sign of John. His mobile, whilst this morning was ringing no reply was now going to voicemail. We rang another plumber, Tony, who was in "Chiswick, be with you in an hour or so". This was at 11.30. Would it surprise you if I tell you that we're still waiting?
David eventually found yet another plumber, Alf. Alf is a "bit tied up now, can get to you temorah". Having extracted assurances that he would in fact turn up on our doorstep tomorrow ("on pain of death, do you promise" I thought I heard David say, along with "I've got your address"), David is now ringing John and Tony to tell them to "eff off and don't bother showing your faces".
Still, Oceans Eleven is on tonight - thoughts of George Clooney will keep me warm until the dogs get on the bed again.
Post script, 2 hours since post: Tony the Plumber arrived twenty minutes after David got off the phone from Alf - we told him we'd told him not to darken our doorstep. Tony listened to David's message on his brick of a mobile - "eff off and don't bother showing your face" - while he stood in our hallway. "If that's your attitude mate, I will" he huffed and hoiked himself out of the door. I was all for chasing after him but, apparently, it's the principle of the thing. Half an hour after that, John arrived. Apparently "the wife was ill, she's been up since half one this morning, in the lav" which explains his non appearance bright and early this morning. I shot David a look as John peered into the boiler bit of the house. David bit his lip and rang Alf back to grovel, apologise and tell him we'd got it sorted out.
John told us all we needed was a "scarlet flappergange with a left whitted waddockthumper" - well that's what it sounded like to me. John left to go to "the yard", was back within in half an hour and is now crashing and bashing about upstairs. Apparently, we're "ten minutes from having heat love". David has tentatively asked about the cost (it being a Bank Holiday and all that) and I think he's upstairs lying down.