There’s an unwritten rule with all things technological that if you threaten them with replacement they will, usually, spring back to life.

I first learned of this technique when I was a kid and my Spectrum +2 was failing to work properly. I threatened it with replacement – something outside of my power at the time – and managed to get it to work. Well, work as long as there was a penknife jammed in to one of the air vents which lifted a component inside which made it work. Ah science.

I tried that technique – the threats, rather than the stabbing – with the boiler yesterday. It had no effect. But, last night, it got quite cold. So I punched the boiler.

And, obviously, I fixed it.

And then the British Gas guy came this morning, and I had to say that I had managed to get it working but for how long was anyone’s guess. And when he asked me how I got it to light I said that I’d just turned the reset switch. I didn’t dare mention that I had punched the living crap out of it. I did say, because guilt was eating away at me, that I must have just gently persuaded it to light, and the engineer nodded sagely and said, “It’s just sheer luck…” and I thought, “hmmm, and frustrated pummeling.”

And then we stood about for the better part of an hour while we waited for one of the engineer’s colleagues to turn up with a replacement part. I don’t know if you’ve been in the house with a British Gas engineer doing nothing for an hour. I have. I did not enjoy it in the slightest. We ran out of things to talk about after I said I didn’t like boxing. And, to put that into some kind of perspective, that was quite early on in the proceedings.

But still, the boiler’s fixed.

And I know more about boxing than I ever wanted to.