Did you get some nice presents this year?
We're a bit odd in our family, in that we never ask for, or receive, anything of substantial monetary value. Even our kids have never wanted anything particularly large, though I'm sure we would have bought it for them if they had. Instead, we go in for lots of small and "moderately priced" items! It's a lot more fun, though it does make wrapping a bit of a chore.
My favourites this year were these:
The knife is a paring knife from Swiss kitchenware designers Kuhn Rikon -- a lovely thing, razor sharp with a non-stick coated blade and a plastic sheath, costing all of £4.50. I have no idea who designed the Amazing Flygun, but can't wait to try it out. I had a lot of fun last summer taking out flies with one of those wooden repeating rubber band guns -- amazingly accurate and effective over anything up to ten feet. I hate flies. Hunting them down one by one is far more satisfying -- and somehow more honourable -- than using flypapers and sprays.
Talking of design, if anyone knows the address of the person who designed condensation boilers with external condensate pipes (or of the person who made their use compulsory in Britain) do let me know, as I'd like to pop round and have a word...
Our condensate pipe froze yesterday, causing the boiler to refuse to work. I discover this is the commonest cause of boiler "breakdowns" in Britain. I spent a morning up a ladder applying a hot-water bottle to the pipe, to no effect. I gave in, and summoned a British Gas engineer. We spent the rest of the day without central heating or running hot water.
Inevitably, when the engineer turned up this morning, the pipe had thawed overnight and the boiler came on without a problem. Don't you hate it when that happens? Never mind, I expect he's been happily earning Bank Holiday overtime all day, tutting over condensate pipes that were definitely frozen yesterday. You'd think, wouldn't you, if they were going to make it compulsory to use these boilers, they'd also make it compulsory to insulate the external pipe... Call me a malcontent, but a heating system that is inclined to halt in cold weather seems somehow flawed to me.
Today, incidentally, is not Boxing Day. That was yesterday.