ZELLA COMPTON: I can rebuild the vacuum cleaner, but not the boiler

Zella's boiler is on the blink
Zella's boiler is on the blink
Lesley says you can keep the white stuff, thank you! 
Picture: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire

LESLEY KEATING: It was almost perfect until cable firm scuppered it

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Who can afford to turn their heating on except when it’s glacier-like outside?

If the sun’s shining, it feels frivolous and excessive to have to resort to radiators. Leave them off as long as you can is my policy. And how I’m regretting that right now.

The system has boiled itself to a delirious strop as if to say ‘you can’t come running back to me whenever you feel like it’

I like to wait until November to put the heating on, because it feels like I’m saving money.

But guess what? Yep, that’s right, the system has boiled itself to a delirious strop as if to say ‘you can’t come running back to me whenever you feel like it’. My boiler has got the heating hump.

I love the internet, as it helps me solve so many difficulties in life. Like getting SIM cards into different phones and memory cards into various cameras and telling me what’s wrong with my boiler.

I have diagnosed it with confidence, checking not one but several websites which all tell me pretty much the same thing. I’m going to be cold.

The thing is, I’ve looked at what I need to do and the parts that I need and I’ve retreated at speed.

I happily take apart the vacuum cleaner and rebuild it every three months or so. Actually that’s not true, it’s never happily. It’s always with disgust and repulsion at what I’ll find blocking up some pipe or other.

I think it’s fair to say that this mainly occurs after my son has deep-cleaned his room.

I mean the clean where the vacuum has to deal with the tricky stuff that can’t be kicked into place like string, shoelaces and endless bits of plastic from many things that fall off and turn out to be non-essential. They’re always the perfect size to get sucked in and then act as a plug, collecting hair and dirt and dog detritus around it until I have to get out the screwdrivers.

Anyway, I have much, much less confidence in the boiler for several reasons, the main one being that I am not a certified heating engineer.

And then there’s the fact that gas is involved.

I’ll just have to sit tight, preferably in direct sunlight, rueing the fact that I’ve dallied this long and the engineer now has a very long waiting list.

SPOOF SUCCESS SHOWS THAT AD HAS BECOME TOO FORMULAIC

All hail Nick Jablonka, who’s had the nation watching his spoof John Lewis Christmas ad on YouTube ahead of the official one’s launch date.

As we’re all painfully aware, John Lewis loves to make us cry at Christmas and has a good tug on the heart strings.

But when an A-level media studies student can knock up a credible version within a week or two, it rather suggests that the formula is too, well, formulaic.

John Lewis is definitely going to have to go for the uber big guns this year to overcome being a pastiche of its own pastiche.

But whatever sins it commits, nothing is as bad as using war in Christmas adverts to sell chocolate.

You know exactly who I mean.

IF BREXIT EFFECT SPREADS, IT’LL BE STRAIGHTENING IRONS AT DAWN

In possibly the worst fallout from Brexit so far, the price of hair mousse is rising steadily.

Okay, it’s not the worst, but it’s a blow to my curls.

You see, they hate the winter. And the summer. And autumn and spring too.

It’s a nightmare having curly hair, which is why I depend on a wicked mix of three core ingredients to try to tame the beast into curls rather than an unattractive helmet of frizz.

Mousse is one part of the triangle of success (oil and serum are the other two).

It’s Unilever that’s raising its prices.

I’m okay with a few home brands for now, but come next year what if the Brexit effect spreads and more prices go up?

It’ll be straightening irons at dawn.