Thursday, March 31, 2011

Waiting For The Gas Man

"Welcome! bright stranger of the sky,
That after many a lingering year,
Again appeared to mortal eye,
As though in thy sublime career,
Swifter than flashing thought can trace,
Roll'st on through endless fields of space.

Since last thou didst thy visit pay,
How chequered has been hist'ry's page!
Millions have hailed the light of day -
Fretted their hour on life's dull stage -
Then, like the storm-drops on the wave,
Have fallen into traceless grave."

Fear not you poets of Blogland, this is not a new star that has risen in the firmament. Fear not lovers of fine literature, this is not me embarking on the life of a jobbing poet. The author of these fine words that can be found in the Preston Chronicle and Lancashire Advertiser of the 17th October 1835 is a certain James Scott Walker who is either long since dead or perhaps living as a semi-recluse in London ever since the Walker Brothers split up. The reason that these wondrous verses are being reprinted here for the first time in 176 years is that I am waiting for the gas man to come and repair my central heating boiler.

Now regular readers of News From Nowhere will know that I have spent a large amount of my adult life waiting for the gas man to come and repair my central heating boiler (he has already been 4 times this year and came at least 12 times last year) and therefore the lines will be delivered, when I greet him at the door, with a liberal splash of irony. As his last visit was only yesterday, even in these days of galloping population growth, it is unlikely that "millions have hailed the light of day" since his last visit.

I didn't go out of my way to find Walkers' remarkably unapposite words, I found them whilst searching for some historic ammunition. I wanted to be able to convey to the gas engineer in question that, given the amount of time gas heating has been around, expecting my boiler to function for more than a week without the aid of spare parts was not unreasonable. And a search through the on-line Newspaper Archives in the British Library collection came up with the following brief paragraph in the Preston Chronicle of 1835

HEATING BY GAS : The novel application of heating by the flame of burning gas is coming very extensively into use. The plan has recently been introduced at Islington Church and St. Michaels Church, Strand, the vestry room at St Sepulchre's, his Majesty's Mint, Westminster Hospital, and several banking houses and other public buildings.
So has the British Gas engineer been popping into the Royal Mint on a weekly basis since 1835, or Islington Church. Or is it just my boiler that seems to be fated.? It was after reading the above paragraph that I noticed the poem which had been conveniently printed on the same page. But excuse me now, I need to go and practice my lines in anticipation of the gas mans' arrival.


  1. Oh, come on, Alan. Give those folks a break. It hasn't even been 200 years yet. They're still new at this!

  2. hahaha that Fox is being quite the funny guy
    But the gas man needs to be poked in the eye
    Or kicked in the butt
    As he's in some sort of rut
    For if they can't fix it by now
    As I can ask is how
    For that just makes them seem dumb
    You'd have better luck with a street corner bum
    Or it could just be greed
    Which is always leaving you in need

  3. I think every service person should be met with a poem. Maybe the gas man needs that poem today more than anything and you're going to provide it.

    All Hail the Great Gas Man and all people who service.

    Perhaps I'm stretching the point...

  4. We have had the worst luck with the boiler at Willow Manor this winter. The man came out and supposedly fixed it, but it seems to be working at half pace, and only when it feels like it. Pesky boiler.

  5. Now how does it go?

    Twas on the Monday morning the gas-man came to call
    The gas tap wouldn't turn
    I wasn't getting gas at all
    He tore out all the skirting boards to try and find the main
    And I had to call a carpenter to put them back again
    Oh it all makes work for the working man to do.


  6. Oh Alan! Tell Me About It! I Hope Yer Man Has Come By Now.

  7. From my perspective, you're exceedingly humorous, Alan, but I suspect the Gas Man will think you're just another GOM (translation...Grumpy Old Man)

    Chairman Bill's witty rhyme seems to sum things up pretty well. Thank goodness I don't have to call in a Gas Man. Sorry, I should rather have said something a little more appropriate, to demonstrate commiseration, instead of gleefully thanking my lucky stars!

    I do hope the man sorted out the problem, once and for all!

  8. I feel a little Flanders and Swann coming on!

  9. Good to see you employing yourself educationally whilst waiting for the Gas Man. Thankfully, no need for boilers down under so I haven't had the pleasure. Then if he was a good sort . . .no nevermind.

  10. I hate waiting in for workmen to come. I had a new fire fitted recently and seemed to spend half of my life waiting for someone or other to come and work in my house!

  11. Tell that silly repairman that all of blogland will converge upon him if he doesn't fix your boiler correctly! ha. Or maybe Brian and I can just come repo his car. lol...

  12. How like a comet is the gasman--except that the typical comet, tho regular, is infrequent!


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