It was only once we moved to Bosnia did I realise how spoilt we had been with our combi boiler in the UK. Hot water, straight away, for as long as we needed it. A long hot shower where I could just stand either belting out the hits or resting my head on the wall depending on my state of mind and, crucially, where I could avoid all small children, husbands, dogs wanting walks and generally regroup my thoughts.
Here, the hot water comes from tanks on the wall above the bath. To make sure that there is hot water the boilers must be switched on a good hour before the hot water is required which requires forethought, planning and organisation from me, generally sadly lacking. The number of times bathtime appears without any hot water is annoyingly high. Furthermore, the size of the tanks means that there is only a limited amount of hot water. If I am quick I can get some shampoo and conditioner through my hair but it means moving faster than Isiah Bolt runs the 100m. A long soak is a possibility, but only when supplemented with pots of boiling water from the stove. And don't get me started on the microscopically small tank of water which supplies the sink where we do all the washing-up (and with no dishwasher, trust me, it is ALL the washing-up, and usually in freezing cold water too).
Anyway, as mentioned before I got sidetracked in a rant about lack of hot water, the tanks are all attached to the walls above the bath. At least they were. The other night, at 3.30am, one of our tanks came off the wall. It made the most almighty crashing noise. Dave and I shot out of bed, and into panic. We couldn't find where to turn the water off. We couldn't find the right fuse to stop the flow of electricity into the tank. We were half awake and in our night-time attire. We ran around in disarray looking for anything that might help, the dog joining in the fun. There may have been some shouting (particularly when we couldn't get the right fuse). Eventually, using chairs, brooms and a mop, we managed to concoct some form of prop to keep the boiler up.
The boys, who usually awake at the sound of a feather floating down outside their window, snored throughout. They couldn't believe the trail of destruction that greeted them when they got up in the morning and were thrilled at the drama of it all. The arrival of Crampy the plumber (an extremely round man) was additional fodder for their excitement. They watched, wide eyed and enthralled as he put the tank back onto the wall. I'm still eyeing it warily and dreaming of a combi boiler. The things you miss when you are abroad!