Well, it did involve hunky firemen. Which CAN be a good thing, depending. This time, well, let's just say I was VERY happy to see them. No, the house hasn't burned down (deities, thankyouthankyouthankyou) but the chimney decided to immolate itself.
I do not recommend this as a form of entertainment, however much you like firemen.
Main story is that the chimney above the range caught, and when it started making a roaring noise I thought "Well, this bugger isn't going out of it's own accord. I think I need a professional." So the lovely boys from Ardrossan came out, one climbed up on the roof and poured water very gently down the chimney, another put out the range with my kettle. They then terrified me by saying they needed to make sure the fire hadn't spread into the cavity of the wall (I nearly burst into tears at this point...my STASH ffs!) So they knocked a big hole in the wall. Yeah. The stovepipe disappears into the wall, so to make sure nothing really bad was happening, they chiselled a big chunk out. Which, don't get me wrong, is EXACTLY the right thing to do, but even so it's a bit unnerving watching someone take a chisel to your wall while smoke and steam are pouring out in all directions.
The upshot of all this, apart from me paranoidally (I don't think that's a word) feeling the walls around the chimney to make sure it's properly out, is that they've condemned my range. The chimney is all wrong apparently, which is why it set on fire so readily. So, in the middle of the coldest snap for 30 years, I have no central heating.
Lucky I have lots of woollies, huh?
Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go feel my walls.
UPDATE! The landlord has been very nice, said I'm to keep warm with my electric heaters and he'll sort out recompensing me for the electricity. He will get on the case Monday to get someone to have a look at it and decide what's best to be done, whether to line the chimney and put in a flue and what-have-you, or whether to write the whole lot off as a bad job and put in oil central heating. Which would be great. In the meantime, I'm cuddled up with the spinning wheel in front of the fire (I'm watching that one like a hawk, but as it's a straight-up chimney it should be okay) and making beef stew to keep toasty on the inside.
All good fun, eh?