Sunday, December 31, 2006

there's no smoke without smoke alarms

the peeps have the prof, mrs prof and their son the extreme programmer staying. this is always a welcome event as these are the sort of guests who not only make their own cups of tea but even make cups of tea for the peeps. they also have the same sense of humour as my peeps so a good laugh is always had. added to this the extreme programmer usually mends the various computers round the place which makes for domestic harmony for a while as no-one has to borrow anyone else's computer.

the day before yesterday the peeps and their guests met the captain, mrs captain, the wild girl and their boy at the local pub for lunch. having got everyone in a mellow and relaxed frame of mind herself broached the question of the thermostat with the captain. "would you folks like to come back to our house for a cup of coffee?" she said innocently. "why that would be lovely!" they cried. she then dropped the bombshell on the captain "while you are round our place, could you just have a quick look at our new thermostat?" the captain is handy with electrical things. something to do with needing to understand wires in order to get a plane off the ground, i suspect.

herself is a master of understatement. the words "quick" and "look" are instructive here. nothing involving herself is ever as quick as it might at first appear. and most people do not need to stand with a torch between their teeth and a screwdriver in each hand to look at something.

regular readers will be familiar with the thermostat issue. basically the old thermostat has bitten the dust, with a little help from herself. so she and mrs prof purchased a new one. the new one is rather more technical than the old one. so instead of sitting quietly enjoying their coffee, the captain, the prof, the extreme programmer and herself found themselves in the bedroom in the dark, with several torches, trying to work out which wire went where on the new thermostat. meanwhile the rest of the assembled company sat in the dark in the living room making singularly unhelpful comments. my boy and his mate were most put out to find the computer would not work with no leccy so had to resort to the age-old art of conversing with each other.

eventually the combined intellects of the fearsome electricians won over the thermostat (after a couple of false starts) and some semblance of order was restored. so the peeps settled down to enjoy their by now rather cool coffee.

i can hear you wondering what the picture of a prof flapping at a smoke alarm has to do with any of this. not a lot, dear readers. this picture is to do with yesterday's roller coaster ride. in order to explain i will need to backtrack, which i hope will not leave too many of you behind. i would draw you a diagram but i fear the blog does not allow this.

our fire is a sort of box which for a long time i thought was a television. it has knobs to adjust it so this was an easy mistake. i did think the range of programmes was limited but not excessively so. my boy's viewing diet consists of wall to wall disaster programmes, many of which have a lot of flames, so i just assumed the fire was stuck on the same channel. it only dawned on me that it was not a telly when they opened the door and added logs to it.

anyway, one log too many was added a couple of days ago and the roof of the fire caved in. it appeared that a thing called a firebrick had collapsed. on closer inspection all the firebricks were past it. not to be defeated mrs prof got on the net and tracked down a man who was not only open during the festive season but who would cut us some bricks.

so yesterday herself and mrs prof set off to horsham. they returned from their trip with the bricks and triumphantly fixed the fire. amid much jubilation it was lit. all went well for a while. herself played with her new camera. the prof peeled potatoes for tea. the extreme programmer and my boy raced each other on computers.

but the peace was rudely disturbed by quite a lot of nee-nawing. the house was full of smoke. and i mean full. himself was flapping at the living-room smoke alarm, spouting his favourite smoke alarm incantation which is, i think, intended to lull it into submission. the prof was flapping at the kitchen smoke alarm. herself was overtaken with a fit of coughing so did nothing useful at all. my boy thought he would give her some encouragement by saying "i simply cannot believe you!"

all the windows were thrown open. the curtains blew all over the place as outside there was a gale. i have to say this was one of the peeps' most spectacular smoke alarm adventures. you could have been forgiven for thinking that we were in a disaster movie. usually only one smoke alarm goes off at once. no-one would believe that herself had only been playing with her camera. they were convinced she had done something to cause this commotion. it was eventually concluded that the new bricks in the fire had made it draw rather more efficiently than people were used to and that more care would need to be taken with the amount of fuel from now on.

tonight the peeps are cooking a huge meal for a bunch of friends as it is new years eve. on the draining board is a large lump of dead cow. next to it is a fish kettle containing a whale. i may pop out to the pub for the duration...


dogfaceboy said...

Oh, is that ever a riot! Loved every minute of it. Glad you do not have smoky lungs.

jen said...

the other animals sound much larger, i am betting you'll be safe.