They're soldiering bravely on, according to reports, with portable fan heaters and hot water bottles strapped in strategic places about their persons, but as things-to-happen-a-week-before-Christmas go, it's a fairly bleak one. "You might want to bring your slanket home with you," my Mother has advised, prompting mental images of us all shuffling softly round the house in our fleecy shrouds, like the multicoloured ghosts of Christmas past.
Having existed in a state of almost permanent shiver myself since mid-October (how long does it take to shake off the student notion that warmth is a luxury we can't afford, while organic goat's cheese is a basic right?), I should have been upset by the news. And I was, a bit. Nobody likes to think of their nearest and dearest awaking each morning nervous to see if their drippy nose has grown stalactites during the night. I don't want them having to fill baths with a kettle then all get in together to save water. Because, well, that would be weird.
Everybody loves a Christmas disaster, don't they? One of those moderately vexing but not life-altering incidents that gives everyone a chance to pull together, battle through, keep calm, carry on etc, and forever after remember it as being at least 40 per cent more humorous than it actually was. You'll look back in decades to come through sherry-tinted specs, and say, "Remember that Christmas the dog ate the trifle and sicked up over Aunt Maud's holiday slides? And Uncle Terry threatened to sue? REMEMBER? Those were the days."
So far as a family, we've not had our fair dosage of potentially hilarious festive catastrophes. I mean, the hamster died on Christmas Eve one year, and Brother #2 went into hospital with pneumonia on Boxing Day another, but neither of those incidents were exactly high on LOLs. A broken boiler, however, has the makings of a proper 'remember the time?' story, so I'm determined to stay chipper.
We will all wear five jumpers like a family of festive Michelin men, and play highly energetic charades to keep our pulse rate up. We can take it in turns to put our underwear in the microwave for toasty-bottomed comfort. When frost forms on the insides of the windows, we'll write our names in it. Such larks! Indeed, if I arrive home tomorrow night to discover that they've fixed the ruddy boiler, I think I'll be faintly disappointed.