First the good news - the plumber arrived, on time. I even offered him a cup of tea or coffee as I've learned from my Watching the English book by Kate Fox. He was very pleased and said, "as a matter of fact I just had a cup of coffee." So I've now succeeded in English banter.
British Gas of course didn't show. I called and they said that my appointment had been booked and cancelled. Is there someone out there cancelling my appointments? I told them that I had to take yet another day off from work (6) and that this has been going on for a year. The woman went into standard customer-service-speak and said, "I said someone will call you to reschedule I can't tell you when." And then... "Is there anything else I can help you with today?" That must have been her attempt at a joke.