You'd think that in the current economic climate finding a heating engineer/plumber to come out and have a look would be a fairly simple thing (the chap who used to service our boiler has retired). This proved to not be the case. Heating Guy One (after I'd chased up the message I'd left him) finally replied saying that he wasn't able to help, but knew someone who could and would ask him to phone. Heating Guy Two never called. I phoned someone else, but, again, no response. I then put a post on Facebook asking for recommendations and was finally able to speak to someone, who came round last Tuesday to have a look.
The upshot is that we're having a new boiler fitted (including new gas pipework from the metre to the boiler - because the existing ones aren't the right diameter), a new water cylinder, new immersion heater, new thermostatic controls on the radiators, a new water pump, plus other bits and pieces such as a new water pump. I know we said we'd rather wait to get a new boiler, but that isn't a viable option given the age of the old boiler. Oh well. It's a good thing I've got a large yarn and fibre stash as we're going to be putting as much money in our savings account as possible for the next x months in order to get other work done around the house.
We've been getting by when it comes to bathing, including sending DD1 off to stay with grandparents for a few nights (and she's going there again from Weds-Fri this week), although the first thing I'm going to do when all the work's finished is have a chin-deep bath!
In the meantime, I've been drinking lots of tea and have been knitting away on the vanilla socks I cast on a couple of weeks ago. The yarn's Regia Kaffe Fassett Design Line and it's not the most excitingly coloured sock yarn I've used. I'm going to give these to my Mum on Mothering Sunday as she hasn't had a new pair of hand-knitted socks for at least two years. As she managed to felt the socks I made her from Natural Dye Studio yarn, I've made an executive decision to only make her socks from now on in machine-washable yarn!
I've also been spinning. I bought 600g of this merino blend from World of Wool. It's various shades of red, ranging from a deep reddish brown/burgundy to a bright pinky-red. So far, I've spun and plied the first bobbin full and have spun another 100g single, which I'll wind into a ball and ply. I'm planning on making this into a Breckon cardigan. I bought the pattern ages ago, but didn't have the right yarn.
In the background of the photo, you might be able to see something cream-coloured in a bag. That's something else fairly mindless that I've been working on and it just needs ends sewing in, a wash and blocking and then I'll show it off.
In recent weeks I've been baking more. I think I've mentioned that following a gluten, dairy, artificial sugar and MSG-free diet helps manage DD2's autism (she's still challenging, but we get fewer emotional outbursts and less head-banging and her speech is improved if her diet is 'clean'). The downside is that store-bought gluten/dairy-free goods are very expensive and they often include 'extra' ingredients (presumably for a longer shelf life) and with DD2, the fewer ingredients, the better. I've just taken this out of the oven:
It's a gluten/dairy-free butterscotch brownie. This one has risen more than the chocolate one I made last week. The mixture was fairly wet and it might have been because I used an egg from one of my diva-hens and they do tend to lay fairly large eggs (around 70g). One the brownie's cooled, I'll cut it into bars, which give a decent size for her to have in her lunch box. See the red silicon loaf tin? I spotted it in Home Bargains last week. £1.99 - a bargain! Although it's silicon, I still line the base with baking parchment/paper as it makes getting the cakes out of the tin a bit easier.
That's all for now. I'm off to drink another cup of tea before DD1 phones to say she needs collecting from the station.