So, we arrived back in England on 03 January 2016 with stair climber safety located in the boot (because I was a little feverish and not feeling too good) to a freezing cold house – we subsequently found out that our boiler had packed up and there had been no heating on. No wonder the cat was meowing pitifully and loudly! I was feeling awful, but at least we had made it home and now I just had to negotiate the stairs safely and crawl into bed. Believe me this was no mean feat even with the stair climber, which I had previously refused to use on our stairs at home.

Let me explain: we live in a Victorian house with a very steep staircase having particularly shallow steps i.e. whereas in France said stair climber works wonderfully because it lifts you up to each step and then you are able to pull the device to the back of the step adjacent to the next step up. Sounds easy doesn’t it! However in our house, said stair climber lifts you up on to the next step moves barely a couple of centimetres before hitting the back of the next step and then you have to lift almost immediately again. This makes it extremely arduous for the operator (Kevin) and is terrifying for the person strapped into the seat (i.e. me!) However, when needs must it is a tiny bit safer than me being manhandled and encouraged to walk up the stairs. Anyway we made it and Kevin and I immediately flopped into bed, if only to warm up under the duvet. What was that I said about it “couldn’t get any worse than end 2015”?

Now I’d started taking antibiotics (that we happened to have with us) just before we left France and so I was hoping that after a few days I would be beginning to feel a little more human. That was before we discovered that there was no heating – not good when you’re trying to overcome a fever! Luckily, our usual boiler repair man was able to come out immediately-ish (i.e. the morning of Tuesday, 05 January 2016). He spent a good long time checking the electrics, vacuuming out the filters etc. before giving an effective whack in the appropriate place with a spanner. Hey presto – it worked, and even better Kevin had made a mental note of the precise location where a sharp whack could force the boiler into action.

To finish off, just a few jobs and fun things that we also managed to do towards the end of January: to end on a fun and more positive note.

  1. We went to see the new ‘Star Wars’ film at the cinema – not particularly mentally challenging, but quite good entertainment any way.
  2. A few more medical appointments for me (eyes and foot) and for Kevin (dentist).
  3. We went over to Wantage to visit my old secretary and her friend for cups of tea/coffee and exchange of presents.
  4. Kevin’s parents came over to visit us and we exchanged Christmas presents/had nice meal.
  5. The car got its annual service and MOT.

Oh yes, and somewhere in the middle of all this, I extended the patent applications and filed an equivalent UK design application for a previous client.

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