Carbon monoxide awareness week (and other catchy blog post titles…)


(The Cupboard of Domestic Disgrace, aka: where we hide our boiler and shame)

Given the Scrooge-like nature of this blog, you would not believe the number of emails I get from companies who “just wanted to say, hiya! Hope the weather isn’t getting u down! Wondered if you’d be interested in our new line of toys/range of designer handbags/trendy kids clothes/handy microwave meals/educational books/revamped hotel rooms…”

Honestly, their number is only equalled by the amount of time I spend secretly wishing I’d started the kind of blog that would allow me to freeload all this stuff shamelessly, and then feeling dirty about wishing it. So when I got an email from Boiler Juice, the UK’s leading online supplier of heating oil, my finger was hovering over the delete button. And then I saw what it was about. And I remembered what happened to us this time last year. And I stopped. So here it is, a rare interruption from normal services, for a subject that’s, well, how do I put it, not the sexiest. Nor the most glamorous. Nor the most fun. But nonetheless…

It’s Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week. I know, I know. I’m celebrating quietly at home too. But the thing is, while my ‘cynicism override’ button may be so overused it’s practically glued down to the keyboard, if you haven’t checked your boiler in a while, you really, probably should. When we moved house, three years ago, there was so much to do to the house, so much money to be spent, that we just boxed in the old boiler, painted the doors an optimistic blue and forgot about it.

Every so often the hot water would fail and we’d open the cupboard, give it a thump, shudder and then shut it away again. And then, finally, the hot water stopped altogether and since our addiction to scalding hot baths is the only thing more powerful than our denial, we got someone in to look at the boiler. Not only was it so old that we couldn’t buy replacement parts for it anymore, but it had been leaking carbon monoxide. You can’t see it, or smell it, or taste it, so we’d had no idea. It was only a small amount, the guy said, but even low exposure can cause lasting damage and at high levels they call it ‘the silent killer’. Which made it pretty unambiguous, even to a total DIY dunce like me, that it wasn’t the sort of guest I wanted to invite into my children’s home.

So, yes. Check your boiler, please. Normal, cynical services will resume forthwith.


Carbon Monoxide Awareness