“Townie!!! Townie!!!”

I clearly remember mocking Martin the IT Consultant at the bar in the Village Pub. He had called out an emergency Boiler Repair Man whose expertise had identified that the oil tank was empty.

That was a couple of months back. I replayed the scene in my mind as I hammered the boiler furiously with my fists at four o’clock in the morning. Behind me, my father-in-law radiated unimpressedness.

I have always got on reasonably well with my father-in-law. Granted, he probably thinks that I am a bit of an idiot, and I have an inkling that recent events have confirmed his suspicions that I have had sexual intercourse with his daughter, but in general he’s a smashing chap who has never hit me with an axe.

I methodically worked my way round the boiler, looking for a secret switch marked ‘Turns on heat despite no oil’. I could not find one anywhere. You would think there would be a failsafe. It was clearly a heap of shit, and I told it so in my firmest voice. Behind me, my father in-law racked up the unimpressedness radiation.

“I’ll have to check the tank when it’s light,” I explained, reinforcing the fact that I was in charge of the situation.

The boiler looked on mockingly, as only an appliance can.

Short Tony arrived the next morning with portable electric heaters. He is a very helpful man, but could do with losing the smug expression.