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And the second load of gas men have just arrived.
Just after I posted (and after Ina had exited with LDD on his morning walk), I was told to evacuate the house, because the level of gas seeping into the utility room was too high.

We have eight (indoor) cats. After a few minutes of total panic I started ferrying cats to the run in the garden where, incidentally, they are still yelling. Into that went Flash, Zara, Kurt and, with some reluctance, Casino, because that would probably be slightly less stressful for him than being confined all day in a box. Four cats went into boxes - Ross, Py, Xolo and Quillan. Of course, these are the most difficult to catch, and had to be hauled out from under Ina's bed. Picking up my handbag and Ina's I hauled the lot into the car and parked it in the street away from the house.

I was assured it was unlikely the house would blow up, but that the gas as at too high a level for them to allow me to stay in it. I waited for Ina. Meanwhile, next door's gas meter had been removed, and a large hole dug in their drive. After that, an even larger hole had to be dug in the pavement.

Meanwhile, Ina turned up. We went to pick up some petrol, then into Barkingside because 1) I had two cheques to deposit and 2) I needed to transfer money to the joint account because the car is paid off this month which means a larger than usual amount of money going out.

Back home. No, we couldn't go in. So off to the Brewers, where we sat outside with the dog and a couple of bowls of excellent tomato and lentil soup (and, in my case, a half of Old Rosie.)

When we got back again, the gas men had found the leak, and that the mains pipe had split right at the edge of our property and next door's, and they were confused by the fact that the opposite side of the road had new plastic mains and ours were old cast iron ones. We referred back to the time we were told our gas mains were going to be renewed, but nothing happened. Much muttering about contractors and how they were going to hear about this.

The leak was repaired a couple of hours ago but, unfortunately, while the gas levels have dropped low enough to allow us back in the house, it appears that there is another leak in front of our drive. A second shift has arrived, and they are digging up our front drive. Electricity has been restored, but the gas won't be for some time. Whether or not our boiler will light at all is a moot point as it is on its last legs and we are having the formal replacement quote on Thursday morning!

It's definitely the Chinese take-away tonight!
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Good grief, what a performance!

Reminds me of when I lived in Birmingham and we realised there was a gas leak in the early hours of the morning. British Gas turned up, rigged up arc lights that would have lit up Wembley, and then dug up the road with pneumatic drills at about 3am!

It has to be done. Our main problem when they evacuated us was trying to work out if/when we should ring the cattery and ask for emergency accommodation, not to mention the local hotels. We're back inside for now, at any rate.

Phew! You definitely wouldn't have wanted to be rushing around trying to arrange emergency quarters for pets and humans!

Quite a pain! My little power failure this morning doesn't compare with that adventure (in the Bilbo Baggins sense of the word).

Sorry to hear about the power failure, though. Hope nothing was damaged.

Thank goodness there was time to collect all the cats and get them to safe places.

Well, how safe really depended on which cats could be trusted to occupy a run together.

Bloody hell (as Ron would say in the films).

I haven't anything more sensible to say except that I'm glad the soup was good. Sounds like you earned it.

It was, indeed, excellent soup, and Old Rosie is excellent draft cider.

And of course, these things always happen when the weather is chilly, and you want a fire on!

They're putting in new gas pipes in one of the main roads in town. The job is expected to last five weeks, and when my brother came yesterday he had to phone me to find out where the diversion went, because I'd entirely forgotten to mention it it to him!

Hopefully yours will be fixed in a more timely manner :-)

We have no heat and no hot water... on the other hand, we've half expected the boiler to give out for six months now.


That's about as wordy as I can get after that.

Having had quick and awful flashes of something truly horrific that happened here locally in Southern California when natural gas went awry, I'm very pleased to read everything wrapped up semi-smoothly. I hope y'all have electric, wood or other heating if there's a very fast cold snap.

Gas always needs to be treated with respect, though leaks from old street mains are not the same as a transport main blowing up...

Or, for that matter, a gas holder, something that happened when I was working for a gas company in Sheffield back in 1973. It was empty and being converted to store methane, but there was residual gas, and an acetylene torch set it off. Luckily, only a small number of people were killed, being those working on the holder at the time.

Astonishingly, nothing else went up, though the two other giant gas holders on site were full, and there were a dozen small (i.e. about 20 feet high) liquid gas holders at its foot. Luck was also on our side in that a couple of hours earlier there had been about two hundred people on site, as it was being used as a service pick up point, but by the time it went they were all about their business, though those with vans had to be discouraged from going back to check on the cars they had left in the car park.

I remember the bang, and how we all thought someone had dropped something very heavy on the floor above where we worked, about two miles away from the explosion site. Less than half a minute later, a foreman rang in. He had been driving towards the site, come over the top of the hill, and seen it blow. He was desperately shaken because the only reason he wasn't at the site itself was that his car had been reluctant to start.

Good grief! Sounds like quite an adventure. Glad to hear things are back to relative normal now.

Well, we now have two holes in the drive, the foreman was in and out of our utility room until 1:00 am, and it is nearly eleven and no sign of a team arriving to give us back our gas.

It must have been truly awful, rounding up eight cats (all of them feeling disobliging, I'm sure) on your own, with evacuation orders hurrying you on.

I'm glad you all got through it okay.

It was okay getting the cats into the run. All of them are quite obliging and actually came out to see what was going on. Getting the others into boxes was no fun at all. They know exactly where to hide (usually under Ina's bed) to be practically unreachable by a single person. I am afraid they got scragged and hauled.

I am thankful that British gas companies are less negligent than American ones. What a production! But at least it should solve any future problems for some time.

I used to work for a gas company, back before they were privatised in the 1970s. Gas leaks were Priority One, work, which meant there had to be a fitter there within the hour, if not sooner, whether the leak was domestic or outside. Supply from source to house is now the responsibility of the National Grid Co, and I have to say I was impressed, though it's ten thirty and they haven't arrived, so I suspect getting gas back into my house and next door's is not an immediate priority.

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