The good news is, your heating will be fine, but that other thing you want me to check…

It was just a routine radiator bleed. Nothing too complex. Luigi had already endured a tough morning, servicing a 1970s’ combi boiler, so we thought it was only fair he attends something a little less taxing. We happily allocated him the job, and he set off, hopeful that his day was about to getbetter.

The customer, Mr Penn, is a charming individual with a passion for good food and fine wine.

With great warmth, he greeted Luigi, offered him a cup of Yorkshire tea, and proceeded to show him the radiator that required bleeding.

We all know that life rarely pans out the way we hope. And it looked as if this occasion was likely to be no exception. He discovered that the valve was completely rusted and needed replacing, so it wasn’t a simple rad bleed after all. He didn’t want to disappoint Mr Penn by adding unexpected costs, and he could see that it was going to be a messy job, but it had to be fixed.

Luigi began to replace the valve (we always keep spares with us), and was suddenly struck by a bolt of heart-warming nostalgia. A magical aroma was taking him back to his childhood in Sicily and making his mouth water.

As his senses awoke, Luigi realised that it was the memory of one of his favourite dishes. The smell was exactly the same as that of the arancini his grandmother used to make. Many a summer holiday was spent enjoying such delights. Oh, happy days.

As Luigi continued fixing the problem, he couldn’t help hoping that Mr Penn would offer him a small portion. After all, it was nearly lunchtime. And it was obvious that Mr Penn was cooking that particular dish.

“Luigi, would you like to try some of my arancini? I need an honest opinion from a native Italian.”, Mr Penn politely shouted. “There is a god” Luigi thought, whilst hastily making his way to the kitchen.

After washing his hands and thanking his host for the offer, he promptly took a seat.

“Here’s a little one to start with,” Mr Penn announced, as he gently lay a perfectly sculpted rice ball on Luigi’s plate.

Luigi cut it into two pieces and excitedly took his first bite. It was utterly delightful; just like Nonna’s. It was as if he’d been transported back to the old country itself – that’s what he told us.

Mr Penn didn’t need to ask what Luigi thought. It was obvious. Instead, he continued to serve him with a few more arancini.

Upon finishing, Luigi declared the dish to be the ‘almost-best’ he’d ever eaten.

Well, out of respect for his Nonna, he couldn’t say it was ‘the’ best.

With both parties satisfied with the outcome of the taste test, and the radiator fully serviced and ready to roll, it was time to say grazie, mille and ciao.

And the moral of this story? If you ever need to hire an Italian plumber, don’t feel obliged to make arancini, but don’t let it stop you either! You might just end up making something truly amazing.

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