The Only Solution To This Intense Cold


The other day, Mrs H and I were entertaining (in the loosest sense) her parents. Despite the warm bonhomie in evidence around the dinner table, I found myself feeling cold. Far from delivering a steady stream of life-affirming heat, our radiators were sitting in a state of chilly impotence. The problem was quickly traced to the boiler, where I instigated the relevant diagnostic procedures.

When the boiler rouses itself under normal circumstances, there’s a preliminary buzzing noise, followed by a slightly louder one as the fan starts. This is usually followed by the chikachikachika of the ignition process which should, in theory, culminate in a satisfying fwoom as the relevant interior portions burst into flame. On this occasion we got only the first of the two hums, with nary a chikachikachika or fwoom to be had.

As the in-laws retreated to warmer Dundonian climes, solutions were sought to this intense cold. Cue a phone call to British Gas.

Now, the boy at BG was only too happy to send someone out, but indicated that I would need to show some commitment my end. This commitment would involve signing up for some scheme whereby I would shell out many hundreds of pounds in return for the unlimited attention of BG engineers any time I wanted. In truth, it seemed a bit overboard in the circumstances. But I was assured that it was the only way of securing BG services in my hour of need. Unless, of course, I was prepared to pay a flat fee for a single callout. Now that sounded more like what I was after. Why wasn’t this possibility aired 15 minutes ago?

It was embarrassingly obvious that this was the least preferable route to take from BG’s point of view, and their representative began his attempts to dissuade me. The rather charming arrangement they have is that there is a flat fee per fault. As it was pointed out to me, the boiler might have conked out for two simultaneously-occurring reasons, in which case I would be charged double.

Personally, I thought it was obvious that there was only a single fault: the boiler didn’t work. The single solution was also apparent: to fix it. But my friend at BG could not be persuaded.

I hastily explained to him that I would need to discuss it with Mrs H, and that no, the decision was not likely to be reached before he knocked off for the night in ten minutes time. In reality, I rather felt that my relationship with BG was progressing a trifle quickly.

Put off, I started thumbing through the Yellow Pages. In the end, we found a company called ReactFast, who sent someone round the next day, knocking off £20 in recognition of the slight delay. The chap who came round was most efficient. Despite what Rogue Traders would have us expect from heating engineers, he neither invented fictitious boiler faults, nor urinated in our plant pots. He was even helpful enough to demonstrate which bit of the boiler to poke should the problem recur.

So that’s us. We’re heated again. Until next time, anyway.

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4 Comments on “The Only Solution To This Intense Cold”

  1. J Says:

    I’ve got a number of service packages from Scottish Gas and they have bailed me out on a number of occasions for the grand total of something like a tenner a month.


  2. Doug Says:

    That sounds a trifle more reasonable than the suggested £35/m it was suggested would be necessary. I’m almost too miffed to enquire further.

    Although, having said that, the amusing appendix to this little tale is that the boiler broke down again within days. Gah.

  3. J Says:

    I’m paying a total of about £40 which gives me boiler coverage, pipes, electrical wiring and three essential appliances. Arguably essential for an older flat like mine.


  4. Another Mrs H Says:

    Hello – welcome to the world of rubbish boilers!!!
    We still have no heating – BRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR
    However, once it is fixed – we shall invite you and Mrs H 1 to our house re-thawing party…warming woud be going a but far!!

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