Don't scratch that itch by Jo

[advert:mpu]It wasn’t so much that the boiler had broken, but the fact that we had to find a plumber (sorry heating engineer – don’t mean to offend!) and more importantly one we could trust. Damn! We once had a good plumber but I had lost the number.

I searched our extensive filing system (we really should sort that out) – a pile of papers the size of Kilimanjaro - no joy. I checked our telephone book. Now there’s a project in itself (hampered by the major handicap of having forgotten the name of the plumbing company). My husband constantly takes the piss out of me, what could I have put it under? It wasn’t under P for plumber or H for heating, neither was it under B for boiler, so I looked under the next most obvious, no it was not even under F for F*cking Freezing. So I gave up and went alphabetically. 9.20 p.m no joy. Now it was time to start lateral thinking...

I first got the plumber number from our great Carpet Cleaner man - Martin. Now Martin came to us from my cousins – who have now moved to New York (time 4.20pm). I call them, but hit answer machine. So I call a friend to whom I recommended Martin. She’s not in, but her mum is. She is empathetic to our situation, but can’t help. She goes suspiciously quiet if I ask her if she knows anyone good. She obviously does, but knows she can’t divulge the information. It’s too dangerous. Once out, there is no going back.

Strategy 2 –b lanket bombing. I start calling everyone I know. Finally I get through to a trusted friend, and a true friend she is. For she gave out the holy grail, the number of a good plumber. I rang tentatively. He answered. It was booked he was coming round the next day to fix the problem. I danced the Hora round the kitchen. I was jubilant. I had succeeded when many may have fallen at the first hurdle. Tomorrow the world would be at one, the lion and the lamb would lie down together – our boiler would be fixed.

Then of course the inevitable happened. I leant back, touched the radiator, yup it was back on. This was seriously embarrassing. I had rung about 20 friends, left a transatlantic message and turned our house upside down. I left it half-an-hour, called the new-messiah back and cancelled the call out. Before he let me go, the plumber asked me a few basic questions pertaining to this weird miracle (could this be the next lactating buddah of Neasden?). And then it all came out….

Barney, our lovely but disgusting 6 year old, had recently suffered from (another !!) bout of worms. Yuck. If I was feeling in a kind and loving mood I might say the worst thing about this revolting affliction is the pain that Barney is in at night. A seriously itchy bottom, which nothing can make better, is not pleasant. He is told in no uncertain terms at the pain of death (or at least all his computer rights being taken away) is he allowed to scratch. In fact if God had really thought about it he may have replaced one of the ten plagues with bottom worms.

Surely an itchy bottom has to be worse then some cute frogs jumping around. If lice gets a mention it seems unfair not to include its rear-end counterpart. Imagine a whole nation incapacitated by itchy bottoms! I’d certainly take the frogs every time.

Anyway the very worst thing about it is the monster load of washing that it involves. Everything needs to be washed - every single piece of bed linen, towelling, teddies, and any clothes in use in the whole household, and most importantly it has to be done all on the same day. That is a serious ‘ask’. With 5 of us in the house that means a relay race of washing and drying. And therein lies the answer. The tumble dryer is in the same room as the boiler. The boiler had decided the heat was not funny anymore, and it was asserting its worker's right and going on strike, to cool down and take a minute (or rather an hour).

And so my son’s bottom has a lot to answer for. I hope my friends and cousins forgive me in my frantic hour.
But all’s well that ends well. I now have some numbers of great plumbers (sorry HEs) – and no don’t bother trying to bribe me – it won’t work, I’m not telling.

My filing system is efficient (well almost), we have a new telephone book, the house is warm and clean, and Barney’s bottom is parasite free.

But wait a minute, why is Dan scratching his head so violently…..aarrghhhh.

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