Pages

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Citizen Me: I Believe in Angels

When I think back to the disappointment at the 'perfect' house being sold out from under us, I realize that it was a kind of quiet shock. There was no use flailing about being upset -- it was a quiet pain that needed to wear itself out.

In the meantime, life went on. We looked through the papers from time to time, but nothing interested us. So we decided to expand our living quarters! When we first designed the flat we took out the staircase that connected the basement to the rest of the house. After careful consideration we decided to put a staircase from the bedroom in the basement to the large room above. This change meant that our original one-bedroom apartment became a very large 3 bedroom apartment. In addition we installed central heating throughout the entire flat. What had been our bedroom became a very large dining room and the dining area off the living room was an ideal study.

There were two 'interesting' moments in the expansion saga. Although The Man had considered building the staircase himself, I insisted he have the builder give us an estimate for doing the work for us. This was a smart move as I am sure The Man, as talented as he is, could have done it in the two or three days it took the builder and his men. However, putting a staircase in an old house can be problematic, as I was to discover. On the third day or so the men came in to finish off the work around the edges. That afternoon, a few hours after they left, I smelt the strong odour of gas! I realized it was getting stronger by the minute and with The Man in London rushed to the phone to call our builder.

In all the times I have ever called Eric, our builder, I have always had to leave a message and he would call back. This time he actually answered the phone -- never before and never since! Within 20 minutes his plumber was at the door. And I got a very very valuable lesson -- he taught me how to turn the gas off! The gas leak had been caused by one of the lads finishing up the wood work around the hole in the ceiling. He hd put a nail through a gas pipe hidden in the ceiling!

The plumber's lesson was to be very important. This same  plumber installed a new gas fire in our 'new' bedroom. At about 7.00 in the morning I was lying in bed about to get up to get the boys ready for school. Suddenly there was a loud bang and a huge plume of gas was shooting up into the room out of control! I tore out of bed, flew downstairs to the cupboard and turned off the gas I'd only just a few weeks before learned to do! The gas pipe to the heater had not been properly sealed...

Made me believe in angels, I can tell you! The year is 1986, a year of surprises!

31 comments:

  1. I learned how to turn off the gas flow after an earthquake. I learned about cars the same way, after something went wrong.
    Hope you're enjoying your visit with your mother and the rest of the family in the States.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. At the time I was quite embarrassed that it had never even occurred to me that knowing such basic stuff could be so very important!

      Delete
  2. All I know how to do is stand on the sidelines and look helpless...one day someone's bound to find me dead as a dodo with a helpless look on my face, waiting for someone to fix whatever it was that caused me to cark it. Smiles - Astrid

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Astrid -- it's never too late to learn!!

      Delete
  3. That plumber sounds a real liability - was he prosecuted or at least stopped before he actually killed someone?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. To be honest, the man is really a very good plumber! And it was this same guy who showed me how to turn the gas off a few months earlier. We were so lucky in so many ways that day -- If I'd been out shopping for example or even in another room of the house -- doesn't bear thinking about. The poor guy was really upset and somehow it didn't seem the right thing to try and punish him...

      Delete
  4. I only ever knew how to turn off the gas at one house we lived in many years ago. Now I have all electric and so don't have to worry about it. That must have been so scary when that gas shot up through your room. Gas can be so dangerous. Did you hear about the neighborhood that was set on fire by a gas explosion in Daly City/San Francisco a couple of years ago? It was bad!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I haven't heard about the explosion in San Francisco ... but there have been a number in the UK over the years. One near Manchester in 2010 destroyed 15 houses! It amazes me how little attention is paid to making sure people know how to turn off the gas into the house when there is a problem.

      Delete
  5. Like Jenny, I can't help wondering why this guy hasn't had his license pulled. He sounds like a menace. Glad everything worked out for you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This all happened in 1986 and I can't remember much about regulations -- but I do remember they are much more stringent now. One thing for sure -- the plumber and I had Guardian Angels working overtime!

      Delete
  6. Hello Katherine:
    What a very alarming experience and how thankful you must have been that on that particular occasion Eric was actually on hand to answer the telephone!

    Altering and reshaping buildings can be great fun and most interesting too, particularly in the planning stages. We are less keen on the mess which ensues whilst the work is in progress.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was so shocked when he answered the phone! Life really is full of miracles!

      I agree with you about the 'mess which ensues whilst the work is in progress'! And the messy bits seem to take so long to get through!

      Delete
  7. The joys of moving house or large scale alterations in the UK!
    I can sing a song about that too.
    We twice had our offer accepted, on two different occasions, and both times the vendors had also accepted the offer of a different buyer. we lost out both times. It doesn't happen so much now, times are a lot harder and it's a buyers market.

    Workmen are a chapter all to themselves; they don't really have to have certified qualifications and there are no apprentice or training schemes as there are in other countries.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is astonishing how often you discover the things people can do in the without any qualifications being necessary. 'Watchdog' is full of stories about what happens when this is the case!

      Delete
  8. Things really do happen for a reason, Broad. I'm very glad you'd learned where the gas tap was and I hope your plumber learned a good lesson too. No-one can afford to be careless where gas is concerned.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I certainly believe that things work out if you give life half a chance and 'go with the flow'. I do believe the plumber learned a very great lesson. We were both very fortunate...

      Delete
  9. hah, love it...I came over from Inger's blog and I'm doing the A to Z Challenge and you need to go and read my "A" is for Angels post...very similar theme...I love it! and yes, I do beleive in angels...

    ReplyDelete
  10. Welcome, Tracy. Thanks so much for stopping by ... I'll be checking you out now!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Thank goodness you knew what to do, Broad! What a scare that must have been! And a real argument for angels as well!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, and it was the same plumber on both occasions! It's amazing how looking back and remembering events over your life reminds you of how many times things hang in the balance...

      Delete
  12. Well, this post has ben a real gas. So to speak. Glad nothing got blown out of proportion in the process. Hope you're having a great holiday.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ah ha! You are 'at one' with the pun today! Well done, dear Bear! Yes, it's been a great holiday with my sweet Mom!

      Delete
  13. That was a close call and I'm glad your Angels watched over you.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Gadzooks! I think it would make me believe in sweaters and woolies and blankets and quilts.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I believe in angels, and even more so now.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've got that ABBA song going around in my head now!

      Delete
  16. That sounds really scary and yes something like that would make you believe in angels. In the house we have just sold in the UK, the guys fixing down the squeaky floor boards hit a water pipe and drained all the water out of the central heating. Strangely, we only discovered when the house got very cold and there never was any sign of where the water ever went to!! Not a cheap job putting it right though as it caused other problems to appear!! Diane

    ReplyDelete

Receiving comments is a joy and I thank you all for taking the trouble and showing your interest. Makes me feel all gooey and stuff!