Old Bessie isn't well.
Various grim-faced Men in Overalls (some with Canvas Tool Bags) have visited her down in the basement of Throwback Towers, scratched their heads and gone away again. Bessie is very old, you see, forty years old, in fact and for a boiler, that's pretty ancient.
The Scotsman, who is the caretaker and living embodiment of Throwback Towers (having himself been installed when the building was first put up, and who will, I think, simply fade away into thin air when TT is torn down to make way for yet more 'vibrant' Cafes, Shops and Bars - a baffling obsession of our City Planners) tells us sadly that she's never given a minute's trouble in all that time. The thing is, though, forty-year-old parts are not easy to come by.
So, it's extra layers of fleeces, jackets, hats and gloves up on the seventh, oh and, endless cups of really hot tea – not to drink, mind you, just to hold .
From our window, nothing is visible again today because of the fog. We could be in a kind of chilly limbo. Perhaps this is some kind of afterlife. We often joke that we must have all been killed in a plane crash or some such and have each somehow ended up here, doomed to tend Klueless, its servers and databases, for all eternity. On a day like today, when there is nothing but a blank whiteness outside the windows, you could almost believe it.
A Business analyst comes wandering in, complaining that her computer cannot seem to connect to the corporate network for some reason. She's not technical (they seldom are, bless!), so one of our number trots over to see if he can help.
A while later, he returns with a cat-that-has-not-only-got-the-cream-but-has-just-acquired-a-controlling-interest-in-Associated-Dairies look on his face.
"Fixed it!" he announces, smugly.
"Oh, yes?" we cry, "What was was it then? IP Address conflict, proxy settings not set properly?" Techies ALWAYS want to know how stuff got fixed.
"Well," he says, absently breaking the ice on his tea with a spoon, "When I unplugged the network cable, you'll never guess what I found."
"What did you find?" we chorus, playing the part alloted to us in this little drama, and expecting some blether about broken connectors, loose wires and so on.
"There was a dead ladybird wedged into the network port."
"A dead - ?"
" - Ladybird. Yes, an actual dead ladybird."
He looks at us expectantly.
And there it is. It's hanging in the air like a cloud of Sarin gas, but nobody wants to go there. Nobody wants to, but somebody is going to have to Do The Decent Thing. Sooner or later, somebody is going to have to say....
"So, you're saying there was a bug in the network?" says the Boss.
We breathe a sigh of relief, glad to get that out of the way.
You really couldn't make this stuff up, and I promise I didn't (although I may have exaggerated about the cold - a bit).