+++*

Symbolic Forest

A homage to loading screens.

Blog : Posts tagged with ‘repairs’

Heat

In which we’re cast back to the olden days

You probably thought, like me, that the days of people bathing in a tin bath by the fire, jugs of water heated on the kitchen range, were a thing of the past. To be honest, they probably are. It doesn’t feel like that sometimes, though.

About a month or so ago, I went to do the washing up. Ran the hot tap, waited a few minutes, then felt to see if it had warmed up. Nope. Stone cold.

I waited a bit longer. Still stone cold. Ah. The gas boiler had a flashing light on the front, where no light had flashed before, and its burners were unlit. A swift internet search led me to the boiler manual, and the meaning of said flashing light. “General fault – call our service line”. Oh dear.

Now, the boiler belongs to our landlord, who has it insured, so we don’t, at least, have to pay emergency plumbing rates, call-out fees and so on. This, as you’ll see, is a Good Thing. However, it’s the only source of heating in the house. With no electric shower, it’s the only source of showers, baths, and hot water generally aside from the kitchen kettle. Back to the days of the old tin bath, then.

The landlord called British Gas, and British Gas came to visit. And the boiler was fixed – or, at least, it was working again. But the engineer freely admitted that he had no real idea how exactly he’d cured it. He’d serviced it, given it a bit of a clean-out inside, and it had sprung back into life again. And everything was fine and warm and cosy. For two weeks.

A couple of weeks later, I suddenly realised the heating wasn’t on when it should have been. We checked the boiler, and yes, the fault lamp was there merrily flashing away again. Oops. Come back please, boiler repairman. A different engineer comes back, and proclaims that, for sure, there is nothing at all he can find that’s wrong with the boiler. It might be low pressure in the heating circuit, maybe. We check around, but can’t find any leaks anywhere. There might, he says, be a slow leak somewhere in the dark under the floorboards. If we find where it is, then British Gas will fix it for us; but they won’t go hunting for it. The boiler is working again, though, although again we’re not entirely sure why.

Roll forward to the other day, and I go to do the washing up again. Guess what? No hot water. Broken boiler. Call Landlord. Wait for British Gas. We’re getting rather used to this now.

This time, the first engineer comes back. He does the same thing as before, and gets it going again, without really knowing why it has any effect. This time it keeps working for a few hours, and then, again, stops. So now we’re left with a weekend without hot water. Boiling water from the kettle for a shower, although it would be better described as “a pour”, is really getting annoying, now.

He’s coming back today, with a bevy of spare parts. Just about every spare part available, in fact, in the hope that it’s something replaceable that’s causing the problem. I’m really glad we’re not paying by the visit, given the number of unsuccessful visits we’ve had so far. But, never mind the fact that we don’t have to pay for it, we’re definitely fed up of this now.

Shredder update

In which the broken shredder is sensibly disposed of, to our disappointment

The shredder didn’t go anywhere, in the end. Before anyone could lift it, the branch office phoned up and said: “don’t throw it away! Fix it!” I explained it was unfixable, by me at any rate. So, they phoned up the Office Secretary and said: “don’t let them throw it away! Find someone competent to fix it!” The Office Secretary told them to stop being silly, and started shopping for a replacement, before throwing the broken one out in a sensible, unimaginative fashion. I was mildly disappointed.

Disposal

In which we’re trying to get rid of something

I have been wrestling with a shredder.

A dead shredder, not a switched-on one – that would be silly. Wrestling with a dead shredder gave me at least a fighting chance of not having my fingers chewed off.

It was all the fault of the branch office staff over in Another Part Of The Forest. Their shredder was dead, making horrible noises, they’d tried oiling it, nothing was working. So, it turned up in Room 3B (IT Office) for me to deal with. I took it apart, scattering chaff all over my desk. I pulled chunks of oily paper from the jammed-up cutters. I dragged a length of plastic, of some kind, from between them: possibly the remains of a comb binding, or the banding you get on boxes of fresh paper.* I picked out all the paper I could see with tweezers, and made a minor blood-sacrifice with my fingers. But nothing would bring it back to life.

Which itself raised a problem. How do you dispose of an office shredder? We’ve tried putting things like that in our office skip before: it generated irate skip-collectors. They’re a bit big for the waste paper basket. So I came up with a plan. I drew up a sign. “Valuable! Do not throw out!” and stuck it onto the side of the shredder, before parking the shredder in Reception, by the door. With any luck it’ll be gone tomorrow. I’ll let you know how we get on.

* “Oh no,” said the manager from Another Part Of The Forest on the phone later, “we’d never put any sort of plastic through it!”