Central heating is my TriWizard Tournament. Seriously, it’s so unnecessarily complicated and difficult. Why?
When I was a child, my family had oil heating. I remember the big tank in the back garden, but I remember nothing else about it, and we switched to natural gas when I was about 12. When I arrived in my lovely new house, my landlord showed me the big oil tank in the back garden and told me that the minimum order for new oil was €300. It seemed a lot, but I just nodded. Then he showed me the burner (I think that’s what it’s called. It could also be be a boiler. Or possibly a furnace? Who knows. It’s a big metal contraption that is clearly for grown-ups and I have no idea why I should be expected to understand it.) He said, “Don’t let the fucking oil run out completely or this fucking thing will burn out.” He showed me another burner (boiler/furnace) that another tenant (a fucking eejit) had allowed to burn out, and left it at that.
After that warning. I didn’t want to let the oil run out. I would kick the tank and try to guess how much was in it. Considering what a big deal it is to let the oil run out, you’d think there would be a better way of checking how much oil there was. If any normal person designed these tanks, there would be a gauge that would tell you how much oil was left, and maybe even a warning light or little alarm that would tell you when it was running low. There isn’t. There is kicking the tank. There is also the idea of a dipstick. But where am I meant to get a stick that long? And anyway, to dip a stick in the tank, I’d need to open the top of the tank and it’s bolted down and I really shouldn’t have to get out tools and find a big stick in order to check the oil. And how often should I be checking it? Like every week? Every day? Who knows? And do I need to be careful when dipping the stick in? Like doesn’t the oil go on fire? Could I catch fire? This is just too hard.
So I just kicked the tank and hoped the oil wouldn’t run out.
Of course it did. My oil ran out well over a week ago. The house was very cold. My Vietnam pay was three weeks late coming and I learned to live with blankets and hot water bottles. When I was paid, I ordered €300 of oil. I had spent ten days where I could leave my milk sitting on the kitchen table, because the whole house was at fridge temperature. The oil man came yesterday, and once he’d left, I turned on the heating. It didn’t come on. I turned every knob and dial. I turned it off and on again. I kicked the tank. Nothing worked, the heating didn’t come on. At one stage, a burning/melting smell came from the burner (boiler/furnace) and I turned everything off immediately.
I tried Google. Apparently, if my burner (boiler/furnace) hasn’t burned itself out, and please God it hasn’t, what I need to do is bleed out the pipe and restart the burner. I searched everywhere in the house looking for an apparatus like the ones on YouTube where I had watched tutorials on how to do this. I can’t find them. The only place that they could possibly be is inside the burner (boiler/furnace). But there’s a lock on the front of it. And I don’t have a key. I tried forcing the lock with a knife and I tried attacking the machine (It won’t blow up in my face, will it?) but it stayed locked. So I can’t bleed it out even if I knew how, because I can’t get at it.
I’m going to have to phone my landlord, aren’t I? I’m going to have to admit that I “let the fucking oil run out”. And he’s already annoyed with me because my rent was late because my September pay was three weeks late.
I’ll phone him. Soon. Honest.
Entertainingly, I kicked up such a fuss about getting paid three weeks late by Vietnam that my October pay has arrived almost a week early. Life is funny.
I need the money because my car is basically a schoolyard bully who keeps stealing my lunch money. I have now paid over €700 on repairs, which is a lot considering I only paid €900 for it in the first place. This time I got a new fuel pump, the fourth one the car has had since I bought it in August. It’s a proper brand new branded fuel pump and please, please God let the car keep running until the new year at least. Please.
Since I got the new fuel pump there is no doubt that the car is running better. It can do hills again. But it still chugs and I worry. Of course I do. It has developed a new, but minor, problem. The boot won’t open normally any more. Now if I want to open the boot, I have to unlock it and then drive over a bump or a pothole and it will spring open for me.
There is always a solution.