I pull the cancer card, as I get home from hospital to find out that Graham the plumber (who has just lost our very lucrative business, not that he cares, why should he, there's always plenty of plumbing emergencies) who has just made his third visit this week has once again left without fixing our heating. "You need the manufacturers, love, sorry," are the plumber's words. Wow, I think, that's the first time I've ever heard the word "sorry" from a plumber. The manufacturers of the boiler, a company called Glowworm, say they can't send anybody until next Thursday. "Please," I say, and I can hear my voice shaking, "I have cancer, and I have small children in the house, please can we not just get this fixed for the weekend."
The woman taking the call does sound genuinely sympathetic, and calls back within half an hour. "I've had a word with the supervisor," Helen tells me (cancer puts you on first name terms with everyone). "We can get someone out to you on Tuesday, instead of Thursday."
Ah, the all-powerful cancer card. Wish I had a genuinely influential illness.