If I have one dissatisfaction with my temporary accommodation, it’s that the television reception is not very good.
I don’t watch a lot of TV. I play bowls on Monday nights now, so don’t get to see University Challenge, so from my ‘must watch’es that only really leaves Eggheads and the Channel 4 News, and anything featuring Kirstie Allsopp or/and space travel. However since my reception has become a Cameronesque snowfest, the Radio Times is suddenly chock-full of interesting documentaries and dramas and nature programmes etc. that I really really want to tune in to see.
The Aerial Man arrives.
I greet him at the door. He has a van, and some electronic testy thing, so I do not ask to see ID and let him straight in. He removes his shoes at the entrance, which impresses me.
Initial readings on his device do not appear to be encouraging.
“I’m just going to follow this wire,” he says, following a wire. It leads out through the rear wall. The Aerial Man asks me to open the back door so that he can examine its progress.
This I do, while he goes to the front of the house to fetch his shoes. At the back door, he puts his shoes on and goes outside. It turns out that the wire does not do anything unexpected in the back garden, so he returns to the back door and takes off his shoes. Announcing that a signal booster might be worth a fiddle, he carries his shoes through the house to the front door, puts on his shoes, goes to the van for the equipment, returns to the door, takes off his shoes and re-enters the house.
By this point I am slightly anxious that I’ve fallen for some sort of shoe ‘cup and ball’ trick, and that I will go to put a pair of my own on later only to find that he has stolen all my shoes with cunning sleight of hand. It does happen. But he seems on the level and we chat amicably about signal reception.
“It’s been a bugger of a morning,” he explains, twiddling a dial. “I got the wrong house, and went next door. But the woman was on the phone, so she just beckoned me in. I think she thought I was there to see her husband. I was hanging around for ages before she asked me who I was.”
“We were both quite confused,” he adds.
Presumably he also had no shoes on at the time.
In the end we establish that he can do nothing without incurring considerable expense, the aerial socket not actually being connected to the rooftop aerial itself. He gives me some more good advice about cable types whilst packing his equipment away.
“How much do I owe you?” I ask.
“No – nothing at all. Sorry I couldn’t do more.”
“Are you sure?”
“Wouldn’t dream of it.”