The one where the cat doesn't get electrocuted...

Hooray, a new email from my brother for me to share with everyone.

Hi Fay,

Early e-mail again this week.  Lucky you!  I read your blog about your oncology report and the drug testing thing (if you missed it, its here) and I reckon you should push to get it done a.s.a.p. and get yourself on the drug trial.

Well, that’s all really.  Write to you again next week.

Mark xxx

Not really.  How could I miss an opportunity to tell you on a real life woe that makes your medical problems look trivial.  You see this last week we’ve gone without a hot water boiler.  No hot water at all!  Oh the horror.  At least that’s what people think when you tell them but it’s actually been a minor inconvenience at worst.  And here’s why …

As you may or may not know we’re moving our bathroom from the back of the house (which is cold and a long way away) to one of the four bedrooms in the main house (which is right next to everyone and is warm).  Eventually the old bathroom bit will become an awesome on suite master bedroom with a walk in wardrobe and beer taps and plasma screens on all the walls and disco balls and a little robot that will ask you if you want a sandwich and dancing unicorns and everything.  It’s a long term project but for now it’s all go for the new bathroom so we don’t have to get up in the night for a pee and go down to the part of the house that the previous owners called “The Icebox”.

Obviously the estate agent didn’t tell us that’s what they called the bit of the house where we’d be spending long periods of time naked (come on now, we’ve been married seven years and we’ve got pre-school children here now so less of that smut), but we found out that’s what they called it thanks to a neighbour.  Supergrass we call him.  On account of all the lawn mowing he does.

Part of the new bathroom plan is to get rid of the old electric water boiler and install a gas Infinity system.  Like 99% of Kiwi’s here living rurally stuff like mains water, mains gas, broadband through the telephone wire and mains sewage is something that ‘ain’t ever going to happen.  What’s painfully obvious when you actually take stock of the situation is that we live in a field. It is a field that has a power line slung in and a telephone wire seemingly added as an after thought.  Everything else you’ve got to get yourself and store on site or it’s back to the nineteenth century.

We get water from a bore hole that I reckon used to be the well/long drop toilet a hundred years ago (most people collect rain water from their roof but birds shit on your roof - disgusting), we’ve got bottled gas for our cooker like we’re living in a caravan site and thanks to gravity and a splash of water we poop into a septic tank.  The septic tank gets emptied every three years.  

If you remember to do so.

The old boiler plugged into the electric and that was cool but recently it started tripping the circuit breaker and heating the water to a billion degrees centigrade.  But as long as it produced hot water we were happy.  Then I decided that perhaps I should have a look and found out that it’d been leaking long enough to corrode all the electrical contacts.  I thought I’d better check it out so not being one to laugh in the face of death by electrocution I switched it off and then tried to get Tom the cat to lick the terminals to see if they were live (he’s got nine lives after all and I’ve only got one).  However Tom was singularly uninterested in licking rusty metal even after I’d flicked tuna onto the circuit board.  So I put the cover back on but after that for some reason the boiler never worked again and just sort of continued to leak water.

Very cold water.

But we had a fool proof plan.  Do nothing!  We were getting a new hot water system.  Genius!  The planned new gas Infinity system works by taking a water from the bore hole and passing it through a pipe that gets heated up with a thousand tiny gas fuelled blow torches so that you get an infinite supply of hot water.  Hence the name.  You never run out of hot water.  It’s Infinite!  (Unless the bore hole runs dry or the gas runs out.)

The Infinity unit gets bolted onto the side of the house along with two industrial sized gas bottles that are chained to each other and the building so that in the event of a gas bottle explosion we can all experience what it’s like to ride on a Saturn 5 rocket for the remainder of our lives.  It’s be like the animated film “Up” except it’d be called “Along”.

Anyway, the Infinity system is due to be installed sometime in the “near future”.  We’ve got it all ordered with our builders but when it comes to being assertive and demanding that something be done I end up talking like John Le Mesurier’s  Sergeant Arthur Wilson from Dad’s Army – “I’m awfully sorry to bother you but would it be inconvenient to, ha, ha, ha, ummmm, sort out a date for when we might get some hot water system?  Jolly good.  Awfully sorry, I understand.”

So we haven’t got any hot water but it’s not been a real problem.  Our washing machine and dish washer runs off the cold water and they do their thing on their own.  For bathing we’ve got a wood burning stove that I pop a three gallon pot of water on when I light the fire in the evening and it’s hot within half an hour.  Flannel baths all round.

“But what about day to day washing your hands?” I hear you ask.  Well think about how you might wash your hands.  You turn on the hot tap, get some soap on your hands, lather up under the cold water coming out of the hot tap and just when the water starts to hint at getting warm, you’ve finished.  So who needs hot water coming out of a hot water tap?  Not us!  We get by and pull together as a team.  Except Tom the cat who is aces and skill at rat catching but is bugger all use as an electrical multimeter.

It was good news hearing that you wouldn’t need any further treatment for the cancer.  If your gall bladder is causing mayhem get it out quick, don’t wait.  Push for it.  The drug trial is cool but it sounds like you need to get comfortable and start getting on with stuff.  The invitation is still open for visit once the gall bladder situation is sorted, meet Tom the cat, the alpacas and see Eva & meet Sam, but might want to wait a bit though if you don’t enjoy flannel baths.

Mark xxxx

I did actually laugh out loud when I read about trying to use up one of Tom's nine lives, thought MrC was going to have a heart attack at the unexpected explosion of noise.

What's your favourite bit been of the saga of my brother's emails from down under? (he's got his own page on my blog and everything!) 

Leave me a comment so I can lol all over again

And as always Mark.....
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