Our ancient boiler had been, for several days previous, randomly deciding whether it wanted to provide hot, cold or tepid water. Showers have started to take on dance manoeuvres that even Arlene Phillips would have found hard to criticise. A quick wash in cold water was just about acceptable, but a shave required a trip upstairs with the kettle.
It's the second time in a year or so that it's done this. Out came the gas engineer who confirmed my suspicions - it was time to send it to the great boiler-maker in the sky.
We've bodged it up (it's hot - sometimes - but I keep having to go out to the garage to relight the pilot) till next Wednesday when he can install a nice shiny spanking brand new one. It's times like this that make me realise what comparative luxury we live in. My parents generation still had tin baths in front of the fire, and millions all over the world still travel daily to the well just to have any water at all. Then again, they're used to it and I'm not. My next hot shower could be the longest one ever.