Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Carols, Coughs and Gas...

I hadn't planned to write this as today's blogpost - in fact I had almost forgotten about it and to be honest, I'm not actually supposed to be here. At this very moment I'm supposed to be sat in the school hall with three hundred other parents all desperate to get a look at our darling children as they murder some Christmas Carol or other - as you may remember from last year's post (or was it the year before) the school carol concert is usually quite comical - for all the wrong reasons. Instead of craning to see my 8 year old belting out While Shepherd's washed their socks (that never gets old) I get to see him close up as he sits on my lap coughing and sneezing... it really is quite unpleasant. Maybe I should have sent him to school and then I could see him coughing and sneezing from a distance - although that would be irresponsible as he would infect the rest of his class.

It wouldn't be so bad if KC wasn't at home as well. He broke up last week and has been driving me bonkers ever since - he's bored, there's nothing to do, can he watch TV?... again. Of course everything I suggest we do together is 'boring' - my ten year old has suddenly turned fifteen.

But last week we had a bit of a scare - I went into my eldest son's room and smelt something very strange. Odd smells are normal in a ten year old boy's room - I know this after sharing a room with my particularly smelly brother for many years - I, of course, smelled only of Giorgio Armani - the after shave of choice in 1985!

However, this smell was very strange - a sickly sweet odour that could only mean one thing - gas!

We recently had a lot of alterations to the house and most of them involved KC's room which is directly above the car port, where the main point for the gas is. I rushed downstairs and got the carbon monoxide monitor which immediately went off. We panicked.

I immediately opened all the windows and called the emergency gas number. I followed their instructions, turned off the gas at the mains, opened all the doors and waited for the gasman to come.

To be fair, he arrived within the hour, not bad for a Saturday afternoon, and came straight into KC's room. "I don't know what that smell is?" he said, "but I don't think it's gas. What worries me is that your carbon monoxide alarm keeps going off."

He took out his own monitor, it said everything was fine but, unfortunately for us, the gasman wasn't prepared to take any chances, and he had a flight to Tunisia to catch at 7pm (I know he told me... many times!) So he shut everything down and told me to call a gas repair man to check on the problem.

You try getting a gas repair man on a Saturday evening - it wasn't going to happen. So we were facing a weekend without heating or hot water.

Then I had a brainwave. I called the builder that did the work on the room. He immediately called his mate who did the plumbing and fitted in the radiators. He promised to be round straight away. As luck would have it, he lives around the corner from us.

So he came and checked everything out. There was no Carbon Monoxide and no gas leak. He checked our carbon alarm. It was dated 2009 and, as we were then told, after five years it would begin beeping to let us know that it needed to be changed. They only last for five years apparently. So that was why it had gone off - it just chose to go off when I placed it in KC's room.

But that didn't explain the strange gas-like smell - we were all puzzled. Then KC came into the room and immediately looked sheepish.

"What have you done?" I asked him.

"Well," he said, "You know that you told me to clean my rugby boots? Well, I did and then they were wet - so I put them on the radiator to dry - and I think that's what is making the smell."

I looked at the radiator which had now cooled and there on top was balanced a pair of rugby boots. I didn't need to smell them - we could all smell them, a strange mixture of over heated plastic and boy foot sweat... It's amazing that once you know what a smell is then you can pinpoint immediately where it is coming from.

The plumber howled. I sighed with relief. "Emergency over!" I laughed.

"Yes," agreed the plumber, " Now that'll be a £75 weekend call out fee," he laughed.

I didn't.

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