If there were ever a dramatic contrast to a luxurious holiday of a lifetime in the sun, landing at Heathrow in January must be a contender. We swapped 26 degrees and sun in the Southern hemisphere for – 5 degrees and freezing fog in the North.
I do not recall much of the hour- long transit along the M25 to Gatwick airport for the final leg of our journey, other than the universal greyness of everything, both physically and mentally.
Our 30 minute hop to Guernsey was, thankfully, uneventful, and it was nice to be met at the airport by the family. Apparently, all was well at home, aside from the fact that it was freezing cold in the house and the cats were not moving much. By freezing cold, they meant that it was colder in the house than it was outside. This was not an exaggeration. Have you ever walked into your home and seen your breath condensing as you walk through the hall into the kitchen?
Family thought I was just economising by turning off the heating and killing the cats through hypothermia. But no – the boiler had broken down, of course, and seemingly some time ago. The house was frigid.
Lorna’s cats were, indeed, unusually quiet, hibernating in their baskets. Instead of greeting her like a long lost Goddess and biting me like some kind of rodent, which they would usually do, they barely moved.
Being a weekend, we had to call out the emergency on call engineer. He arrived four hours later and spent a further four hours trying to fix the problem. He said it was his first weekend on call on his own, poor chap, and he had to call out his boss and another colleague to assist. I made a mental note to look into home boiler maintenance courses at the adult education centre as part of my retirement project.
We spent the day in our house, in our coats , unable to sleep off jet lag, lest we fail to regain consciousness, until finally, the old boiler chugged back into life and the radiators started to clank, as luke warm water trickled through the central heating system.
It took two days for the house to thaw out, but it could have been worse. At least no pipes had burst and the cats were still alive, albeit, mentally scarred.
That’s the trouble with great holidays in nushell though. You have to come back to reality and reality is often grim.