Hosni and me

Hosni and me

Last night, the heating stopped. I restarted it. This morning, the heating stopped again, and wouldn’t restart at all. Turns out, our oil tank is empty.

This is a fairly major problem, as you can imagine. Not only do we have no heating, but we also have no hot water. How could we have let things come to this?

Simple. I just didn’t think about it, and my wife… well, my wife had thought about it, but was waiting for Mubarak to resign so that the price of oil would come down (as if the price for consumers would come down as magically as it went up). Basically, Egyptians, could you not have waited a bit longer?

Of course, the way things are in this house, the gauge on the tank is actually broken, so measuring the oil in the tank involves using a yardstick as a dipstick (which sounds like a line from a very bad hip-hop track) followed, in my experience, by a strange conversation. It began something like this:

Me: “The tank is empty.”

Wife: “What do you mean, ‘empty’?”

See? Already I am floundering. How do you answer a question like that?

Me: “I mean there is no oil in it.”

Wife: “But there must be some sludge in the bottom.”

Me: “All I know is, I put the yardstick in, it reached the bottom with a clang, and when I took it out again, it was clean.”

For a moment, I thought I was going to have to go back down there, remove the lid and clamber in, wearing a fedora and holding a torch and a whip, but luckily my wife was convinced that I had actually gone to the oil tank and not, as she had obviously feared, the bathtub.

Anyway, we’ve ordered some more oil, which will be arriving, we have been promised, sometime this afternoon. Meanwhile, the cats, resigned to their fate after half a morning’s plaintive mewing, are now snuggled up together, while I am reduced to eating hot Weetabix for warmth. Unfortunately, this has not resulted in the permanent warm glow promised us in our youth by Readybrek, but it’s barely possible to get Weetabox here, let alone Readybrek.