A Bolt from Heaven

I didn’t realise, staring at the beautiful full moon last night, on the first non-gale force, non-lashing rain and sleet with below zero temperatures in over a month, that within minutes of coming indoors, continuing the calming effect with some classical music whilst I bled my ever useless radiator, that within minutes I would be scalded, screaming and soaked.

I blame Mammy for giving me the twirly knob thing that you stick in the back of radiators to ‘bleed’ in order for you to feel some semblance of heat in these freezing times.   Mammy normally does the bleeding for me; for once I was trusted to do it myself.  And what a peachy idea that turned out not to be.

I turned the knob thing.  The hissing began.  Grand.  I put the small towel underneath to catch the dribbles of water that would come out.  They did.

Then the gushing started.

It doesn’t normally do that, I thought.  Beethoven concurred, and played on.

Then it wouldn’t stop.  I better turn the knob thing the other way, I mused, and tried to do so.

It wouldn’t work, and instead the knob fell off, and I was instantly burned by the scalding water now seeping onto the wall, and all over my cheaply installed laminate floor boards.  The small towel quickly became a puddle of its own self.  I foresaw warped floorboards, peeling walls and a big problem.

I could think of no quick way to resolve the problem, except to say politely to the hole: ‘Em, could you please stop.  Ah stop now.  Would you ever STOP!!!!’.  The last part was delivered in a highly pitched screech, which made the dogs in the neighbouring back gardens howl.   And that was the volume of my voice for the rest of the incident.

And it just wouldn’t stop.  I stuck my finger into the hole – and I was burnt.  I now have a huge round welt where the top of my finger used to be, in the perfect circumference shape of the hole where the twirly knob thing goes to.  I ran, got a bucket, positioned it at an angle to capture the waterfall, and several more towels, which had just been washed and dried (damn!!!).  I was now standing bent over, finger in a hole, foot balancing a bowl at a perfect 90 degree angle, trying to reason with the universe.  Then I rang Mammy and screamed that I was being burnt alive yet being soaked, and could she come and do something with the twirly knob.  She screamed to turn the knob, quite unhelpful as I had been doing just that for quite some time now, and in fairness, this is what had started the bursting of the dam in the first place.  I screamed to just get over and figure out what I was doing wrong.

I turned off the music.

Mammy was over after seven minutes; it’s usually at least a 15 minute drive from hers to mine so I’m assuming she was galvanised into immediate action after imbibing my squealing over the Moonlight Sonatas.  The screaming re-started, it was now mother and daughter out-high pitching each other.  I asked Mammy what I should do, I heard ‘iiiieeeeeeee’ back.  At this stage, my back had cut out, after being bent over the radiator for the previous half an hour.  Three of my fingers had gone numb from trying to hold the water back, and my actual hand was practically gnawed off after trying to force the twirly knob thing back into its rightful hole and having it pop out of my hands on several occasions, after cutting me each and every time whilst doing so.

Mammy then disappeared, screaming about getting help.  I had no idea what she meant so I kept my finger in the hole and attempted to stand up.  At this stage, I had begun some obnoxious swearing aimed at the back of the radiator, as begging clearly wasn’t working.  No response, except for what seemed like more water.

Then I heard my name called, and a man’s name, this being my neighbour announcing himself from the front door.

‘How are you?’ he asked.

‘Not great,’ I replied.

‘The bolt from the radiator hole has come out,’ he replied and placed a sandwich on the windowsill.

Allegedly he had been eating this when Mammy tried to burst through his front door whilst shouting help my daughter!  He was unperturbed by this display enough to continue chewing as he leapt over our adjoining garden wall.

Mammy began screeching again: ‘That’s what I’ve been trying to tell her!!!’ to which I replied ‘I can only understand you when you talk in English Mammy.  When you burst my ear drums I cannot decipher a word you say.’  Then we started screaming at each other again and my neighbour calmly said ‘Let’s look for the bolt.’

Within seconds, the bolt had been found, inserted in the hole, the water had stopped and my neighbour took his sandwich away with him.  I mopped up the floors with my clean towels and Mammy blow-dried the walls.

Then she said she had to leave as her face hurt from laughing so much.


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