In Shropshire, there’s long been stories told, whilst huddled in front of log-burning stoves on cold winter nights, of a man, an elusive spectre, who haunts the land, spotted more rarely than the Stretton black panther or the Carding Mill Yeti, but some claim to have seen him, and he has magic hands and incantations and much juju, and they know him as The Boiler Whisperer.
And a few weeks ago, after nine years of tracking and patience and persistence and petting, we lured him into our house. Shyly, he sidled in and studied our dying patient. ‘Ah yes,’ he said, ‘the Wooster Torque Nimrod 2000. I actually worked there for a week when they were making these. Old Bert designed them. Good they are, in essence, but Bert left before they were fully tested and they’ve never cured the design flaws. The expansion vessel isn’t big enough for this house, the burner nozzle should be 0.85, not 0.75 and the thermo-nuclear warhead should have a safety-catch. Basically, you’ve been living with a bomb for 9 years.’ Then, he whistled and I swear the boiler sighed with hope.
I left him to it. From the front room, I could hear him, murmuring, advancing and retreating, laying his soft hands on the flanks of our old girl. Whispering…curing…healing...
Job done, he cleared up, smiled and presented me with a reasonable bill. ‘Should last you for another ten years, no problem,’ he said. A profusion of thanks did not suffice. Shaking his hand was not enough. Instead, I bowed down before the God of Boilers. And was a little bit in love.