So there we were - in the flat, getting ready to go out to our friends' house for dinner on Sunday. Dressed, booted and suited - and I noticed a smell of gas in the kitchen.
Hmmmm, I thinks. Says to Jim - can you smell gas? Of course, silly question, he can't smell a slippery dog turd at 10cms. So me and my sense of smell goes investigating. Nothing on at the cooker - no smell from the meter.... Hmmmm. Central Heating boiler fine (and I don't mean Flaggy ). What could it be? So I instigated gas smell alert level 2 status and started opening cupboards etc. And there it was in the washing machine/utility cupboard - a strong whiff of gas. Funnily though - no pipes in there whatsoever except for water. So we discussed it and we remembered that that particular cupboard backs onto the block of flats' ventilation shaft that vents into everyone's bathrooms. So it must be coming from a neighbour's flat. Waited 20 mins - opened door again, and yes... pong city.
So I dialled Gas Emergency. The lady was very nice. Talked through the situation and she patiently waited for me to turn our gas off at the meter - even though we both knew by now it wasn't our supply that was a problem. 'Will be there within an hour. Don't light matches, open all windows, do not turn lights on or off' blah blah blah.
After about 20 mins (by which time we should have been on a bus to our pals' for steak pie and roast tatties) - we went downstairs and out of the front door for a smoke. On the way we knocked on neighbours' doors on our side of the building - but no-one home in all five.
Stood outside in the pouring rain for ten minutes - and who should turn up, but our next door neighbour. Now, the flat next to ours is used by the council as a temporary housing solution for emergencies and no-one ever stays for more than six months. Currently the occupier is a 18 yr old lad, who is living in his first house. Entretaining is a good way of putting the goings on. Anyway, he rides up on his 'Monkey Bike' (one of those miniature hair-dryers that make lots of noise and are illegal to ride almost everywhere) - straight up the street in the dark. 'What's going on here lads' he asks. So we explain and he turns all sheepish... He led us into his flat - and there in his bath are lots of tools and open containers containing petrol for the Monkey Bike. Stank to high heaven - and as that backs onto our bathroom and washing machine cupboard; it didn't take an Inspector Clueso moment to fathom out what the smell was.
Ten minutes later - he's carrying the bike back out 'Taking it round to a mate's garage' and the gas boy turns up. Quite cute too in his riggers and luminous jacket. We explained the situation and he did his checks and agreed it wasn't gas we could smell but petrol. He chapped the door next-door (who was out taking his bike round to his mate's) and stuck his probe throught the letterbox - and was a bit concerend about the methane readings, but agreed not to batter it down whilst the boy was out as it was most probably the petrol.
Mystery solved. The smell had gone by next morning and the boy next door's learnt his lesson. But we were two hours late for dinner and ended up paying £7 in a taxi to get round to my pals' house...
Oh the joys of living on an Edinburgh Scheme!