Tuesday 5 November 2019


My brother (the pirate, not the oil baron) is seemingly preparing for the fall of civilization and has organised his house such that you burn wood to heat domestic hot water and central heating circulating water. One of the thermostatic valves in the system failed and he's waiting for a replacement. The valve is designed to fail "safe" and while that means that you don't overheat anything and burn the house down you haven't got any heating or hot water. He modified the failed valve to lock it in a moderately dangerous position.

I'm in the opposite situation. All the upstairs radiators in my house have thermostatic radiator valves and the one in the spare room is worn out. I leave it on the "frost protect" setting which should keep the room above 5 degrees C. This valve has failed in the "decadent" mode and whenever I switch the heating on it brings the spare room up to an extravagantly warm temperature. That's my gas bill it's wasting!

Meanwhile my sister has turned fried breakfasts into an impossible palaver. She correctly pointed out that you enjoy a greasy spoon breakfast most when you're both hungry and slightly hungover. Going out to breakfast now requires at least 14 hours of preparation. Let's say you're meeting for breakfast at 8.00AM. You have to be having your evening meal by 18.00 the day before so that you're hungry enough to appreciate it and then you have to go to the pub and drink a carefully calibrated quantity of booze so that you're muddle-headed enough to need and love your breakfast, but not so much that you're not well enough to eat it.

Richard "5 pints, 8 hours sleep, bacon egg and toast please" B

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