New Flat Adventures – Season 3, Episode 2: In Hot Water

From the middle of December 2010 until January 2011, our old flat’s boiler didn’t work very well. I’ve gone on about the problems with this at length elsewhere, but it culminated in a massive, epic Scott-of-the-antarctic journey in the run up to Christmas to try and buy a halogen heater in the middle of a snowstorm, which I completely and entirely failed to write up. I should do that.

During this time, I spent a great deal of time in the company of Vlad the Installer, plumber extraordinaire, and his dedication to spending as much time as possible – at fixed cost – making the damn thing work. The next year, when the boiler fell over again, Vlad was ill and so another company came to look at it. They had neither the wit or patience of Vlad, and so declared it dead and invoiced for a new one, fixing the entire problem in four hours flat.

There is an important fable in there about dedication, patience, and the knowledge of when to give up, but that is not what came to mind when I arrived at the new flat this afternoon for delivery of the white goods to find a plumber on my doorstep waiting for me.

He was here because the boiler doesn’t work. Because it’s a 4 day national holiday, it’s going to be Wednesday until we get heating and hot water.



New Flat Adventures – Season 3, Episode 1, The Key To A Successful Move

I bought a new kettle yesterday.

There is a tradition that when I get to a new house, the first thing I do when I have the keys is go inside and make a cup of tea. This has happened every move since Bedford (Which is five), but was actually started with my very first flat of my own in Sunderland. So I bought a box of tea-bags in my lunch break on Friday, preordered a kettle and some cheap mugs in Argos at the same time, and picked them and a bottle of milk up on the way to Palmers Green where the estate agent is.

The flat is lovely. In total it’s smaller than our current place, but the kitchen is nicer. Also, it’s twenty minutes by bus from work, which is an improvement on twenty minutes to the first of two trains to work. It’ll gain me about three hours a day of extra life, which is worthwhile.

So me and Fyr went to sign the contracts, and in return for a great deal of money got a small set of keys to borrow for a year. Quite a small set of keys, in fact, because instead of being two full sets of keys for the house, it was in fact three quarters of a set of house-keys, four duplicate window keys and three duplicate mailbox keys. This is mostly fine, as keys we have can be duplicated.

The problem is, of course, in the fourth of the three quarters. For we have a deadlock key for the flat door, and we have a key for the back door, and we even have a yale key for the flat door. We do not, however, have a key for the building door, and it looks like the landlord’s phone number is office hours only.

Of course, from the back door we can access the front door, so it’s not a massive problem, but still. Keys would, generally, be handy.