So the background task this week is about heating. On Monday afternoon I spent a happy time on the phone ordering wood (it was at this point that I decided that people were panic buying !) and looking for a heating man to come and look at our system.
We normally try to discourage people from visiting us in winter because the house is cold. It's OK in the evening because we can heat the stove seven times in readiness but you don't want to stay here overnight ! People who have done that generally become very attached to the wood-stove, ask us regularly about our heating system and encourage us to get someone to look at it..
I'd ruled out EDF some time ago. They charge 300euros to talk to you about your heating, which I didn't like too much.
Anyway on Monday I started phoning the heating people near the house. I got everyone's answering machine, and the first person who phoned back was the chap who put our system in! To begin with the house was heated from the workshop next door, and then when the former owner sold the workshop the systems were separated and this electric boiler put in our house. The guy came this morning and talked to me about it and adjusted it - he made it go and then said that he'd call back this afternoon to ensure that it is working.
In the meantime we don't have a programmer or a thermostat - to control the system you have to go in the loft and turn the knob on the boiler. Obviously I think this is a drawback, but he said that a thermostat and programmer can be added at not much cost.
But what you ought to do, he said, is change the boiler for a heat pump. These work like air-con systems, but they heat water to run radiators and heat water tanks. They are 4.5 times more efficient than electric boilers and their purchase is subsidised by the government with interest-free loans to cover the residue.
We'll see. He's going to get back to us about that, as well as the other plumbing issues in the house.