Earlier on I met my new upstairs neighbours for the first time. This happened in the traditional fashion of the warmer months, with us both happening to be out in our gardens at the same time -- I have a sunken courtyard in the basement, they have the main garden above, so my garden is basically "inside" theirs, albeit surrounded by railings and about 12 feet lower down.
They seemed like nice people. As did the man they had with them, an emergency gas man, replete with detector wand and cheery disposition. He was explaining to them how they get a lot of calls from tenants new to properties, who haven't quite got used to the occasional smell of unburned gas that often accompanies a nearby boiler flue -- in this case, like my flue, which vents at roughly their ground level into their back garden. (This isn't a problem, generally; most of my boiler use is in the winter, of course, when the neighbours aren't likely to be in the garden.)
So, with a few reassurances and a "better safe than sorry", he departed our gardens. I heard him detecting around the front of the house a few minutes later, with machines that were 1950s sci-fi sound effects gold, all a-beeping-and-a-whooping. And then he disappeared.
And that was the last I thought of him.
Until about ten to eight this evening, when I popped a DVD in the player, relaxed on the sofa, and the pneumatic drill started up outside.
Yup. Just wandered up to have a look, and there are three big white GAS EMERGENCY vans parked in our street, at that rakish angle specifically reserved for People In Quite A Hurry, and three men worriedly peering into a deepening hole, about ten feet up the hill from my front door.
This could be the beginning of a long night. Let's just hope it's not made more memorable by the idiot on the first floor who prefers chucking his fag ends out of the window to using an ashtray...