The electricians had been here for the best part of the day. So far they had got off to a bad start. After explaining the various problems that needed looking at I left them by the fusebox and returned to my office. I heard footsteps going upstairs. My daughter was in bed as she gets up at 5am to do her morning job and then gets her head down for a couple of hours when she returns. My husband had taken time off work and was enjoying a lie in. I dashed upstairs to warn them not to go into any of the bedrooms, but I was too late.
"Whaffuck?" said my husband as he awoke to find a strange man in the bedroom doorway.
I was cross. I hadn't said they could go upstairs in the first place, they hadn't said they were going off on a voyage of exploration, and you'd think they'd at least knock before heading into bedrooms with closed doors.
I returned, stompily, to my office. Where the computer screen went dark, the lights went out and the fire door slammed shut as the power was unexpectedly cut off.
I was cross. "You could give me a warning before you do that," I said. "Otherwise I lose whatever I was working on."
They moved on to the installation of a new immersion heater. The old one would trip the switches every time I tried to use it on its overnight setting. I could have hot water if I remembered to manually switch on the immersion heater, but the night time setting had to be deactivated.
The first sign all was not going smoothly was the request for a mop and bucket.
The next was the sound of pouring water some time later.
When the electrician came through to ask me to call a plumber I knew for sure.
The verdict was not good. The old immersion had been tricky to remove, so a bit of pressure was applied and the result was a broken hot water tank.
"I can't get hold of a new tank until Friday morning" said the plumber.
The thought of two long days without hot water loomed before me. It didn't help that the weather had just become very cold again and the thought of shivering in the bathroom while trying to have a strip wash in the basin was not an encouraging one.
"I know," said my husband. "We could bring the urn over - that would be a useful way to heat up lots of hot water."
"It's broken," I wailed.
"There is the other urn," said McColleague. "The one we do mulled wine in."
The urn we use for mulled wine can be used for no other hot beverage. No matter how thoroughly it is cleaned after use, it never loses the smell. Still, it does, inarguably, heat up a lot more water at once than a kettle. Handy for washing pots and pans and me.
So, for the next couple of days I washed in water still slightly scented with cinammon, cloves and red wine. It was great to get the new hot water tank fitted, but I do rather miss smelling like Christmas.