Tuesday, 1 January 2008


We made it but only just by jove. On the morning of Christmas Eve, as we awoke, Hubby leapt out of bed with gymnastic zeal and scampered down the stairs. The boiler was playing up as it tends to do on frosty mornings, belching the fumes back down the flue and into our hall way. The condensation it produces runs in fast rivulets all down our coats, shoes, utility area, windows and kitchen. I’ve oft thought it somewhat dodgy but Hubby has in the past mopped said walls and windows and opened a few doors. This winter however, fed up with being placated I went out and bought carbon monoxide indicators.
I didn’t get a chance to look at them on that morning though as my two youngest girls got out of bed then immediately fell onto the landing carpet vomiting. Alarm bells rang immediately in my mind and, having administered to them as best I could; I ran downstairs to find the CO indicators had turned a very threatening, black.
“Oh. My. God”, I wailed.
“What is it?” asked Hubby, convinced the girls had both woken with a bug. I tried to point out that it would be some amazing feat of synchronicity to time puking simultaneously but he was resolute. It was only the beating of my chest and the repeating wail of “They could have died” that made him look at the CO indicators and finally believe me.
The twelve year old woke next and she too went the way of the others. Handing her a bucket and opening her window wide, I didn’t know what to do for the best. The front and back doors were wide open as were the windows, it was freezing but we had to let fresh air in. Hubby took the youngest, albeit green in the gills, for a little stroll. By the time they returned, their little cheeks were pink again and they were ravenous.
I had never been happier to make bowls of Weetabix and left them chomping before checking on my son. He was still in the sack, oblivious to the drama and commotion and was a little put out to find me in his bedroom, checking that he was breathing before opening his curtains and flinging open the window wide.
“M-um, what the hell are you doing? It’s bloody freezing”.
“Less of the hell and bloody if you please. Are you giddy? Do you feel nauseous, sick, headache, feverish?”
“No, just blood- I mean blinking freezing”, he said, clutching his duvet to his scrawny chest.
“You should wear pyjamas”, I advised.
“Mum, where once real men didn’t eat quiche, now they don’t wear pyjamas.”
“Well, if there was an incident in the middle of the night you’d be the foolish one out on the pavement with all your”, and I indicated with a flapping hand towards his nether regions, “Accoutrements dangling everywhere”.
He pulled the pillow over his head, “Oh mum, puh-lease”.
“Sorry, I forgot it was completely out of bounds for a mother to bring up her son’s genitals in polite conversation, but as we’ve all just missed death by approximately fifteen minutes and, had we had to have run out onto the street for air, then at least your father and mother would have had their modesty appropriately furnished. Now get up, make your bed, tell me how you feel and then you can start to peel the sprouts”.
I returned downstairs to find Hubby with his head in his hands.
“What’s wrong now?”, I enquired. The girls were playing dressing up and seemed absolutely fine.
“Alice, I’ve been online, should we need a new boiler, we’ll have to sell one of the cars. Boilers cost thousands”.
I’d been dreading this day. To spend thousands on the house is one thing, especially if it requires oodles of fabulous fabric, a new sofa and a fitted kitchen. But a boiler? It must be one of the unsexiest yet essential pieces of equipment one could ever buy.
“But I thought it was the flue that was the issue”, I replied, “There is over twelve foot of aluminium tubing on the outside of the house. For some reason this problem with the condensation and fumes only happens when it is freezing. Perhaps someone will suggest a solution?”
“Well whom I’ll be bugg..”, but he desisted swearing as at that moment a five year old in a princess dress danced into the kitchen.
“Dad, I’m getting a Rapunzel wig and satin ballet shoes for Christmas”.
“Darling, I don’t think Santa will be able to get a Rapunzel wig ”, said Hubby kindly, “They are very hard to come by in Lapland”.
She looked at him as though he was a sad git and said, “Dad. You’ve got to believe”, stressing with great, dramatic effect the second syllable, before twirling away again.
I rubbed his shoulders in a ‘come on old chap’ sorta way, before handing him a list as long as his arm of jobs to do. Sprout peeling was not among them as at that moment our son, bleary eyed and wearing a dressing gown that only just covered the aforementioned crown jewels ambled in.
“Wassup?”, he yawned before diving into the bread bin.
“Before you help yourself to the bacon”, I warned him “let me tell you now, that it is for adorning the turkey ”.
And after that it all became a bit of a blur. The day was spent prepping veg and mulling wine, collecting the turkey then stuffing it and generally ticking things off my list. It goes without saying that the children woke early on Christmas Day and tore at their stockings before piling into what Santa had left downstairs. As one gift was opened, my five year old daughter adjusted a four foot long, blonde, Rapunzel wig before triumphantly turning to her father saying with great disdain , “You see? You’ve just got to believe.."


Alice Band said...

Sally - Thought this post might elicit an empathic response!!

It's just me said...

Wow. That sounded scary!

rosneath said...

That was exceptionally scary! You have to get someone to look at it! Or else make sure Rapunzel can let you down her hair if all else fails!

Happy 2008!


Alice Band said...

IJM - very scary!

Belle - Rapunzel is already rather knotted!

thefoodsnob said...

Very, very scary!
I had no idea it would just go away with fresh air, doesn't it just build up again?
Yes, you have to beLIEVE, Daddy!


Sally Lomax said...

Yes - Indeed..........

As you know, "near Carbon Dioxide poisoning" and boilers are us....

We too missed death by minutes - as we were told in an admonishing tone, by the plumber who removed the offending article. Good luck with finding a replacement. The Keston is doing a good job if it's any help and are more reasonably priced than some...

Great post. And HAPPY NEW YYEAR!!!!


CresceNet said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Mary Alice said...

Good God, my friend. Let's make a New Year resolution not to die before the month is out. That is terrifying.

Alice Band said...

Lisa - It only builds up when its freezing for some reason.

Sally - Looked at the Heston. It looks fab - if boilers can look fab! Would you mind emailing me the costs beofre I contact them. Thnakyou.

Mary Alice - Will do! Your blog has been causing the husband and father of this family to weep!

Mary Alice said...

Oh dear God. Make him stop. Kiss him all around the mouth and clasp his head tightly into your bosom so he will cease. That's what I do when I make Military Man cry. He is easily distracted.

enidd said...

enidd has a boiler story too, which she may tell if this morning's emailing of her father from her enidd account doesn't mean enidd dying for good.

a happy new year to you all, and may cheap boilers abound.