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Picture of the Day: Loft Thing - Leamington Spa [2012]

Loft thing, you make my loft sing, you make every thing -  cosy
Loft thing, you make my loft sing, you make every thing - cosy

In 2012 I was living in a flat on the outskirts of lovely Leamington  Spa, a picturesque Georgian town with lots of history and a grid system,  with the then nearly-Mrs-Gnomepants V2.0 . The flat was a post war  construct but had some modern trimmings such as central heating.

The thing with houses and flats is you get used to the sounds they make  the longer you live in them. Sometimes these noises can be unique -  particular to a location, a room or a function. The way a door closes.  The way the water runs through the pipes. The way the floorboard creaks.  How the neighbours sound. Each noise distinctive to the occupant.  Sometimes subtly, other times in-your-face-obvious. The flat in  Leamington Spa was no exception.

A particular sound that could be heard in the Leamington Spa flat was an  almost imperceptable sigh from the attic when the heating switched from  timed hot water only to hotwater and heating. It was like an asthmatic  squirrel living in the attic. I could often hear it and know, safely,  that the heating had come on gone off. Others might not have heard it  though and would often think of my central heating predictions as some  element of my weirdness.

So when the sigh ceased and the radiators started to glow red. I knew  there was something up. Taking to the loft via a rickety ladder I was  able to determine that the mysterious sigh used to come from the motor  in the switch valve which had failed and was forcing the hot water into  the heating system.

As handy as I am, I donned my flat cap, put a rolled up cigarette on my  bottom lip and stood at the bottom of the ladder sighing, tutting and  generally looking quizical. Then, after three mugs of tea (extra  strong), several looks through the Sun newspaper (inside which I had used a biro to draw phalluses and spectacles on people in the photographs, incorrectly completed the crossword and dribbled a bit of Pot Noodle on the racing pages) and an  impromptu 3 hour trip to the corner shop for some vital parts, I nipped  up the ladder and  took this photograph.

I then explained the problem to the Then-soon-to-be-Mrs-Gnomepants v2.0,  pointed out that there was not much call for that kind of thing these  days, sucked air through my teeth and said "It's gonna cost ya". The  photograph was then sent on to a more experienced central heating  engineer/plumber who, having been pleased to see such good investigative  work and standing round, had the failed unit replaced in a fraction of  the time and only one cup of tea.

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