Tag Archives: Work

No wind today

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St George's Cross - the flag of England.

St George’s Cross – the flag of England. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Funny how things go sometimes. I was talking about flying the flag or rather not flying the flag a few days ago because of the very high winds we had been experiencing. I had to lower the flag and remove it for a few days until the wind subsided. The recommended upper speed limit of the wind when flying the flag is 35 mph and it has been far windier than that lately. A couple of days ago I resumed flying the flag, well the one we have that isn’t damaged for we had to take down the Union flag because it was showing signs of wear. It had been of lesser quality than we had expected and not as good as the other flag which is the cross of St George but not like the one shown in this picture! Anyway to cut a long story short I decided to purchase a new and better quality Union flag which should have arrived by the time this is posted. It cost a little under £65 inclusive of tax and postage. Having decided to fly the flag again the weather has now turned quite mild with little wind, just typical. Not only has there been little in the way of wind there has been no snow either. Some parts of the country have been less fortunate though to see the smiles upon the children’s faces they are happy about it. I don’t like snow or wind myself. I’ve not been too busy lately and I am in grave danger of getting used to that. I hope my electrical work picks up a bit as I am not receiving many requests just at the moment. Nature of the beast, sometimes I am swamped with work and at other times barely get any. It’s a bit like the wind, it comes and it goes and at the moment neither is in abundance.

Shirley Anne

Since writing yesterday’s post

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Disposable Income (album)

Disposable Income (album) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It was a few days ago I wrote yesterday’s post and the work has been coming in little by little since then. The weather has been all over the place this week and it has been difficult to get a day where all is settled, in fact we’ve not been that lucky. I tell myself it can only improve as the weeks pass. E and I haven’t been dining out lately, not because we don’t wish to but at this moment in time I am trying not to spend my disposable income. I am trying to save it instead as there are one or two domestic maintenance jobs to be paid for. Of course when I retire our dining out escapades will be paid for out of my pensions but whilst I am working I prefer to use the income from my jobs. We don’t much do the dining out thing over the Christmas and New Year period anyway so we’ve not really missed it. Last week I had four electrical jobs whilst so far this week (Tuesday) I have had three. At least my overheads are covered with a little over. E went out with her mum on Tuesday afternoon whilst I was out working and she didn’t come home until well after six o’clock. I was preparing an evening meal when she came into the kitchen to tell me that she had dined out with her mum! Evidently her mum had treated her whilst they were out shopping but E didn’t let me know. I’d have thought she could have at least phoned me. It meant I had to dine alone and put the left-overs in the fridge. What can I say? She did tell me that the automated lighting circuit in the garage she uses had failed to operate properly. I wired the existing fluorescent light to switch on if the garage door was open and if it was dark outside. This means the light would only come on automatically if those two conditions were met. It also means I have another small electrical job to sort out! I used to dread coming home after work sometimes. E would tell me that there was something I needed to look at, which usually meant something had either stopped working or had broken in some way. Nowadays I half-expect her to say something! Half the time I find problems myself too.

Shirley Anne

Taking stock

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English: Stock Taking... Stock taking a close ...

Stock Taking… Stock taking a close look. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Having passed my sixty-ninth birthday almost two months ago I have been thinking a lot about my work, how much of it I want and for how much longer. I have spent almost fifty-three years in the electrical business in one form or another and I suppose I have worked in most areas of the profession. There is very little anyone can tell me about my work now that I’ve a lifetime’s experience. However I have been taking stock of my situation lately insofar as I don’t wish to be swamped with work but only wish to spend a few hours each week doing it. It is a fine balance at the moment for on the one hand it is costing me to advertise and yet if I don’t advertise the work will drop off almost completely. I need to work a minimum amount of hours just to pay for the advertisement and the other overheads associated with a business of this type. At the moment my workload is very low and actually insufficient to maintain my business if it were to last. If it doesn’t pick up I shall most certainly go into retirement but I don’t see that happening, the workload picking up I mean. Of course I am not getting any younger and will want to retire eventually I suppose. It may happen sooner than I think, who knows? I was discussing these things with E a while ago for at that time I told her that I was as bored as hell with nothing to do. I wasn’t referring to my electrical work though for at the time I didn’t have any, I was referring to a lack of opportunity to work in the garden doing those things I knew wanted doing. It was all down to the weather being so appalling but we sis speak about what I might find to do if I were to retire from my electrical work. The thing is I do get bored very easily if I have nothing to do whereas many others might find that doing nothing is fine. Some may find travelling is what they want to do or indulging in the high life or a hobby of some kind. I am less inclined to do those things too often if at all. I prefer to be working at something so I am hoping my work picks up before I am incapable of doing it!

Shirley Anne

Crazy

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People Are Crazy

People Are Crazy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Since Christmas Day I have received a couple of offers for work both of which I turned down. Despite my advertisement not being published until January 7 and having last been published a week before Christmas I still get the calls. The latest request was indeed quite a simple one and tempting as it was in my own town. A fluorescent light fitting was overheating and indeed had failed. I explained to the gentleman calling that I wasn’t available for work until the second week in January for I was determined to take at least the two-week break I had promised myself. I worked very hard during the weeks preceding Christmas accommodating almost everyone who had a request. Now all I wanted to do was rest from that work. Yes I could take on the work but why should I? I am not a machine. What I think is happening here is people have found my advertisement in an older publication and have made note of the details without checking to see if my advertisement is currently being published. Common sense would indicate that if I am not advertising for work I am not available for one reason or another. One of my recent calls was from a previous customer who perhaps thought I would waive my intentions to stay rested for a while and go and do their job. I appreciate their calls and to have chosen me to do the work but I have to draw the line and turn work down else burn myself out. A girl can only do so much, especially if she is my age! I do propose to be working a little in the next week or so but only at home. I am afraid everyone else will have to wait.

Shirley Anne

I’ve got the bug now

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Pruned bushes 2No, not coming down with something. That’s probably not possible just now as I have been pretty much isolated from my fellow human beings lately. No, I’ve got the work bug. After spending a little time out in the garden on Christmas Day (well I had to do something!) I am now itching to do some more if only to remove the boredom and of course to get some exercise. I am glad I moved the gooseberry plants. Their roots were beginning to spread after the couple of years they have been there but even so I had to cut some of them back before I could get them out of the ground. I simply replanted them a short distance away and now they will be far easier to maintain and to gather the fruit. It will be a couple on months yet before they will spring back into life. You can see the cut-down gooseberry shrubs beneath the laurels which have been moved along the same line but close to the (now removed) small slabs on the left in the picture. The laurel shrubs will now have no nearby competition to stem their growth, not that they were being held back. They have grown quite a few centimetres since they were planted early in the year. Hopefully in the next few months we shall see them beginning to have the effect for which they were planted, to provide a colourful wind-break whilst enhancing the view from the patio. If the weather holds fine I hope to finish laying and positioning the few remaining stones around and near the ‘mound’ (see summer posts). It will be a couple of weeks before I am available for electrical work so I need to make the most of the free time I have now. There is work to be done inside the house too but I fancy I shall be leaving that to one side for a while as much of it requires funding. I will however do as much as I can and am able to do without spending out on the major things which can wait.

Shirley Anne

Saturday the 20th

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By doing a couple of extra hours work on Thursday I was able to have Friday all to myself for there was no more work scheduled for the week. I needed the day to rest and took it.

On Saturday morning I arose with nothing at all in mind to do but soon after breakfast I got a call from an elderly man living some twelve miles away who asked if I could do a small job for him. It turns out that he was a retired electrician. He was now 85 years old and was forbidden by his family to climb ladders at his age. He was somewhat confused about the fault he’d asked me to fix. A chandelier ‘blew up’ he said when he switched it on but that he was able to reset the circuit breaker. He told me all the other lights remained working when the circuit breaker had tripped but in fact when I checked it out that wasn’t the case. The circuit breaker controlled all of the lights on that floor. What had happened in fact was the neutral wire up at the ceiling had blown itself clear of the connector and had therefore simply prevented the light from working. I suspect it hadn’t been secured properly when the light was installed. I reconnected it but discovered the dimmer switch controlling the light was also faulty so I replaced it with an ordinary switch as I don’t usually carry dimmer switches in my van stock. He had asked me to fit an ordinary switch anyway. He was grateful that I had arrived so promptly and he paid me something extra for my services. As I was driving back towards home I received another call from a guy asking if I could check out his cooker circuit. He lives fairly close to my house so it wasn’t even out-of-the-way for me to call. The problem was the wall switch which had become faulty. I didn’t have a new replacement switch of the same type he had fitted but I did have a second-hand switch of the same type which I carried in case of an emergency. By now it was too late to visit the supplier and it would be Monday before I could buy a new switch so I told him that I could fit the one I had and that he wouldn’t be charged for the switch but just for my visit. I explained that the switch was all right but simply needed a bit of a clean and that he should have no problems with it. A new switch could easily be fitted later if required. He seemed happy with that and I was paid for my time. So much for a rest from work! I am not expecting any more work before Christmas Day as I write this on Saturday afternoon but I know I shouldn’t speak too soon.

Shirley Anne

Too much

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Nine Days to Christmas

Nine Days to Christmas (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There comes a time when it all becomes too much. I work best under a bit of pressure and find I get more done too. On the approach to Christmas I expect and get a lot of work. It seems everyone wants electrical work done in the few weeks preceding the holiday. These past two or three weeks have been an exceptionally busy time for me but it is the same every year. It’s not as if the type of work I am doing has to be done right now, most of the work could be done at other times in the year. I sometimes get the feeling that people just want to spend more at Christmas. The season itself it seems is a time for redecoration of lounges, new light fittings, perhaps an extra power point to accommodate some new piece of electrical apparatus and even a power source outside for a lit-up Christmas tree. Unusually this year no-one has asked for an outside power point. Most of the work I have been doing lately is to do with lighting, changing them or wiring for new ones but I have done many other things too. Whilst the work is good to receive it can be overwhelming at times and I have to reject offers else burn myself out. I will try to accommodate where I am able but I cannot do everything for everyone. One lady asked me the other day to disconnect a cooker and remove a ceiling light both of which were to be taken to her new address a couple of days later. She told me that no-one seemed to want the work and she was desperate to get it done as soon as it was possible. I accordingly offered to squeeze her job into my schedule and she was relieved that at last she had found someone to do it for her. A couple of days later she left a message on the house phone saying, ‘It’s Mrs…from  such and such a place….I don’t need you to come, someone else has offered to do the job as a favour (not getting paid)’ and put the phone down. It didn’t matter to me that I’d lost the work for in the next couple of minutes I received more requests but what annoyed me more was that she had practically pleaded with me to find the time to do her job and I accommodated her. Now she didn’t even thank me or apologise that she had cancelled at the last-minute. It really is too much. Earlier in the morning whilst driving to a job a man called me asking if I could help with a problem, a loss of power to some circuits but at that time there was no way I could do anything for him as my appointments prevented me. Normally in the past I would have tried to do something about it but these days more often I have to draw the line and refuse. I am not a machine, I need time out.

Shirley Anne

By the time it’s Christmas

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English: Main distribution board in old apartm...

Main distribution board in old apartment building, build in 1949. Lot of metal conductive parts are not insulated, so it is danger to work there without rubber (dielectric) gloves. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

My week started much as it had last week, with plenty of work to do. I had one job scheduled for Monday morning and it did last the whole morning too, well from ten ’til one! I was replacing a power distribution board in someone’s house though actually all the work was carried out in their garage where the old board was situated. I suppose I could have done nothing else for the rest of the week after that one job. I was paid well enough to have done so, however I did have more work scheduled for later in the week. I received a call soon after I’d finished the job to do another! The second job was small and was in an apartment block a mile and a half from home. I had it done within an hour. I was still back home by three o’clock. Whilst sorting out my paperwork I checked the house phone for messages and found one asking me to do a small job when I could find the time. Had the person called me on my mobile phone I could have done the work that afternoon but by now it was three-thirty so I arranged to do it on Tuesday morning. I had no plans to work on Tuesday but I had planned to do other things in the morning meaning I would have to go out anyway. I could do both and still have plenty of time to dine out with E, which is exactly what I did. My next job on Wednesday was to take me quite a few hours, maybe four or six, though it would be in a nice warm apartment. The phones never stop ringing at this time of year and by the time it is Christmas I will be ready for a well-earned break. To that end I called the advertising department of the newspaper which runs my advertisement to tell them not to publish on 24th and the 31st. That will give me two weeks free from work………maybe……..knowing me I will probably respond to any requests I might get or find something to do at home and there’s certainly plenty of that to be had.

 

Shirley Anne

 

In one hand and out the other

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Today, Thursday, I went to a house in another town nearby to sort out a problem they had with half the lights not working. The problem I felt lay in the rear of one of the kitchen fittings from where I thought the supply to the upstairs lights which were not working, was taken. I was right and soon traced the fault and had it repaired in minutes. I was back on my way home but called into a filling station for diesel. My tank was down to about one-third full and I usually don’t let it drop below that. If you let the fuel drop too far there is the risk of sucking any debris that might be in the bottom of the tank into the engine, in a diesel, the injection nozzles and in some cars the carburettor. The worse case scenario for a diesel would be allowing the pipes to run dry and then having to prime the whole circuit. Anyway I pulled into the filling station and spent most of the cash I had just earned. To save the mathematicians from trying to work out the spend, it was £44. I had been paid £50.

All it meant was that I didn’t have to take the cash from my current account at the bank. Despite the knowledge that I had earned the money it felt as though I had been out for an hour for £6. I am old enough to remember being paid that amount for a week’s work! How times have changed. I like to have the cash in my hand but know that is impractical, at least for large amounts. Having cash to hand is beneficial in an emergency so I try to keep a couple of hundred pounds all of the time in my purse or somewhere I can get at it easily. Over the months this year I have been spending rather a lot of my home projects and it wasn’t worth putting any cash I’d earned  in the bank knowing that I would need it to buy materials. Usually though my cash flow is literal, in one hand and out of the other. Steadily as time goes by I am spending less on the house and more on me!

Shirley Anne

I tried to get home

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Find Your Own Way Home

Find Your Own Way Home (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

On Sunday afternoon I was asked if I could visit a house where I had worked in back in March. I first went there to install two new light fittings and that led to more work a few days later when I returned to install a new electrical distribution board with circuit breakers and RCD (trip switch) protection to replace the old fuseboard. I was told by the client that they had lost part of their power supply but that all the circuit breakers and the RCD unit were still switched on. I called there fifteen minutes later and I found a disconnected wire behind one of the power sockets. Now that would have been the end of the matter but whilst testing I discovered that the RCD test button wasn’t working which meant the RCD might not trip the power in the event of a leakage current. That leakage current might be someone being electrocuted! It had to be replaced and on Monday morning I purchased a new one and went to the house to fit it. I was paid for the two visits and then I returned home but before I could remove my coat and have a little time for myself I received a call from another client I had worked for earlier in the year who wanted to know if I could fit three time switches to control the three towel radiators which were in her bathrooms, yes, she had three of those too! I went along to her house to see what was required and then I drove to the local supplier to purchase what was necessary but I took her along with me so she could get some cash from an ATM. The job itself was electrically simple but the first switch was located inside a fitted wardrobe which had obviously been put there long after the switch had. It took me easily two hours to do that one time switch. The second was a little easier taking only forty minutes and the third was easier still, taking a mere twenty-five minutes. During my stay there my phone rang several times with people looking for my services. It even rang whilst we were driving to the supplier. Good thing I have a hands-free system in the van. It is nice to feel wanted but by the time I’d finished that job I was getting tired of it. I left there at three o’clock but had to call to another house on the way home. A fluorescent light fitting not working. I had to wait a half-hour for someone to turn up. I had it fixed in ten minutes and at last could go home. I was feeling somewhat hungry as I had missed lunch again! I don’t mind missing lunch whilst I am working. E had things to show me when I got home. Recently she won a Blu-Ray player/recorder which she is giving to our eldest son to go with the 40″ television she won and gave to him some months ago. However that wasn’t the main thing she wanted me to see. She had just won an iRobot vacuum cleaner (supposedly worth £350 – £450) that can be left to its own devices to clean the floor. It travels about the room avoiding obstacles and steps and when it is finished it returns to its docking station wherever that may be placed. A little like me returning home from work!

 

Shirley Anne

 

Scream and scream again

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Distillery District, Toronto

Distillery District, Toronto (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What a day! On Thursday morning directly after breakfast I went down into the cellar to see what extra materials I would need in order to continue with constructing the steps in the boiler room. E had just returned upstairs to have a shower and wash her hair. She generally has breakfast before getting dressed. I on the other hand am washed and dressed before breakfast. I went into the garage and unloaded a few items from my van so that I could buy some sand and granite chippings and have it placed in the van rather than have it delivered. It was such a small quantity it wasn’t worth having it delivered, besides which they would charge me £10 for doing so and I wouldn’t get it delivered until the following day. Unless I am buying large quantities I tend to fetch it myself. Anyway I got the two bags of sand and the one bag of what I thought was chippings out of the van and onto the garage floor. The bag I thought was chippings was in fact grit and the bag had partially opened because the guys had thrown the bags into the van whilst I was at the counter paying for it. I had deliberately left a clear space for the bags to lie flat but they threw them over an extension lead drum and cable I had stored in there instead. I immediately returned to the builders yard with the grit and complained to the guy at the desk who apologised on behalf of  the other two guys and replaced the grit with a bag of chippings laying it flat in the space I had made. Finally I was back home for the second time and made myself ready to do some work. E was still in the bathroom and didn’t appear until much later. I was a little annoyed with her for not even asking if I wanted any help with the work. She can only do a limited amount but even that much is of great benefit and assistance to me. She usually does help whenever she can. It meant I had to do everything, get the mixer out and position it on its stand, empty out the wheelbarrow so I could pour the mixed screed into it and thereafter shovel it into a bucket to carry it into the cellar. Of course I had to move the bags of materials outside and shovel the necessary amounts into the mixer and mix them, adding water until it was ready for use. That was the easy part, I had to tip it onto the step I was constructing and level it all out. I had to fill the mixer twice and then had to shovel it all into a bucket several times to relay it indoors to the job. Whilst I was levelling the mix to form the final screed coat of the new step I had to ensure the mixer was filled with water and left rotating, the wheelbarrow was filled with water and any cement covered tools were left in water until I could clean them all. E would normally have done the cleaning using the hose pipe and attended on the minor things that needed to be done allowing myself to concentrate on actually doing the job. Afterwards of course I had to return everything back into storage and whist doing so received an invitation to do an electrical job. I made arrangements to do it the following day. It had been a warm and humid day and I was feeling it whilst working. The job was indoors in the boiler room so it was warm in there and I was wearing overalls too! I had to wash my feet before I could return into the house via the front door as I couldn’t return via the cellar. Before I left the boiler room and after everything had been cleared away I filled in the new step by the outside door in the room with some hard-core material ready for it to be concreted over as with the step I had just completed across the room. I will probably do that on Saturday and at the same time remove the temporary support from around the new step. After a late lunch E went out to do the shopping with her mum and I wrestled with my computer. I have been experiencing a problem with the Firefox browser during the last twenty-four hours in that it keeps stopping whenever I am on this site (Minkyweasel) but is ok otherwise. I have had to resort to using Chrome to write this in the meantime. Maybe it is an issue with WordPress. Whilst writing I got a call from an old lady living some miles away who wanted her kitchen fluorescent lights replacing but insisted on telling me the whole story about her escapades in trying to get replacement tubes which didn’t fit and about her local stockist and what they had told her. She didn’t stop there either and she began nattering on about things totally unrelated to her electrical problems. I could not get a word in edgewise for she just wouldn’t stop talking. I asked a few simply questions to ascertain what I would need if I went there to do the job and it took me about ten minutes to get a reply. I was glad I wasn’t paying for the call. Eventually she decided she would call me next week as it was her birthday and she didn’t know what her daughter had planned for her. What that had to do with the job I have no idea. I don’t expect she will ring again, especially after I had told her how much it would cost. I think she thinks we are still living in the 1960’s. About ten minutes later someone asked if I could wire his three-phase walk-in fridge for him. I straight away asked him if it was a commercial premises and knowing he would say yes he duly said so. I told him that I only take on small domestic jobs these days. My advertisement reads, DOMESTIC  ELECTRICAL SERVICES, small job specialist! Are they blind? A few years ago I would have taken on the work but no more, I am after all working part-time and I am semi-retired. In any case I do not have the necessary equipment I might need for such work as it may involve installing steel conduits and fittings. I have never owned such things even though I have worked in industrial situations many time in the past. I worked for companies who supplied the tools so didn’t need to have my own. Had I been free-lance from the beginning it would have been a different story, I would have had to purchase these things. Almost immediately after that call someone else called asking if I would wire his new boiler. It wasn’t however a simply case of connecting it to the mains but he wanted me to wire and connect pumps, zone valves, thermostats and controllers too. No thank you. Too involved, too time consuming and all for little remuneration. I can pick and choose so I do. The previous evening a lady called me to ask if I would work at the weekend for her and when she told me she worked full-time all week I replied, ‘So do I, that’s why I don’t work the weekends’. Aside from the fact she lived way outside my catchment area, I could tell by the Liverpool telephone number, I think she had a cheek asking. Why couldn’t she take time off to have work done?  The phone continued to ring all Thursday afternoon. Some of them were ‘cold’ calls and I was getting a little annoyed with being pestered by the telephone all the time. I just wanted to escape, I’d had enough for one day!

Shirley Anne

End of a very busy working week

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Now Get Busy

Now Get Busy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I had three jobs to do on Friday in two separate houses. One was reasonably close to home whilst the other was around ten miles away. The easier single job was the furthest from home. I have to say that by the time I returned home at 1 o’clock I was completely whacked! All I wanted to do was sit down and have lunch but soon afterward I was rearing to go again! I decided to empty some hard-core material into the brick surrounded ‘well’ I had constructed in the cellar the day before. I wrote about this yesterday. We need an extra step into (or out of, of course) the boiler room as the existing step is too high. The bricks had set hard  in place overnight (see picture posted yesterday) for as they are in the boiler room the conditions there are nice and dry. We have plenty of hard-core material in plastic bags which we had dug out of the ‘mound’ during the summer along with all those bricks and natural stone slabs. Nothing gets wasted around here! Soon I had the ‘well’ filled and ready for the concrete ‘topping’ I planned to lay on Saturday. Once that is done and set I will be able to apply a final screed to complete the step. Again no doubt that will have been done by the time you read this. I have been kept busy all week with electrical work and whilst at home I wasted no time and got on with work there too. Before I went along to my first job I had to call in to my electrical supplier to purchase some materials and when I arrived the place was full of people doing the same and I knew most of them. Many asked me how I was doing and if all was well with me. That was nice. They’re all good lads. One guy in particular was actually my apprentice for a while in our younger days working for the electrical supply company. I am about four years his senior so at the time I had been qualified four years when he came on the scene. We got along fine but he did have his moments as they say. He was quite a cheeky young rascal at first but steadily grew out of that. On seeing me in the store, he often sees me there, he remarked, ‘Bet you didn’t think all those years ago that we’d still be doing this work at our present age’. I had to agree with him but when we are younger we seldom give these things a thought do we? He has aged a lot since those days too and looks far older than his years. I suppose he’s had a hard life. We talked about other guys we had known from those times and wondered if they were still around too. It must be a sign of age when we reminisce like this!

This is what I have observed to be good: that it is appropriate for a person to eat, to drink and to find satisfaction in their toilsome labour under the sun during the few days of life God has given them – for this is their lot. (Ecclesiastes 5:18)

And I do!

Shirley Anne

Do it for nothing

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Lost Weekend (EP)

Lost Weekend (EP) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As an electrician I get many calls from people who want me to do a small job for them. Now I generally charge a minimum amount for any work that I do partly to pay for my time and running costs and partly to dissuade people from asking me to change a plug or some other very small thing that they could probably do themselves, especially if they live some distance from me. Oh yes, I get calls to do such things from people who live fifteen miles away or further yet they expect me to charge very little for the privilege. I have basic costs I have to cover and part of those is my time travelling to and from places. I warn people that I operate a minimum charge so they know beforehand and are not taken by surprise. I try to be fair though and if I can will always err on the lowest price I can do any work depending on the person’s situation, age and ability to pay. Some people are taken aback when I quote my charges thinking that they wouldn’t be paying so much. They seem to think I can do the work for next to nothing. I don’t know what is going on in their minds and how they assume anyone can earn a living by under-charging just to suit their needs. Often, after I tell them over the phone what they will be paying and no more for if I give them a price I stick to it, they say something along the lines of ‘I’ll speak with my husband’ or ‘I’ll see when I can get time off work for you to come’ but they never call back. They want the job doing for nothing! Speaking about getting time off, many will ask if I would do their job at the weekend. This is because they are unprepared to take time out from their own work. That to me is very cheeky for if they aren’t prepared to make a sacrifice why should I sacrifice my weekend off to accommodate them? One such woman asked that of me recently and I politely asked her if she would work a weekend after working all week. She said no. Enough said. She then asked if I worked evenings! I sometimes think I am supposed to accommodate any request in order to make it easier for them. I take exception to such attitudes but I will and sometimes do make exceptions in some circumstances. For instance if the customer is working a shift pattern such as they do if they are nurses or if they are teachers who simply cannot take time off during term times. There are other incidences whereby I will make exceptions to for instance in emergency situations but other than these I am afraid I am not available in my own spare time. Occasionally I get calls from people who, when I answer the call, start talking about their problems and how soon I can get there? I had such a call a couple of weeks ago whilst travelling into Liverpool on the train! I even get the same calls whilst dining out. Obviously I will take down the details but I am not about to drop everything in order to fit the work into someone else’s inflexible schedule. Am I supposed to be available at everyone’s beck and call? I think not and I am certainly not available to those not prepared to pay for my services.

Shirley Anne

Things are picking up again

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Workload

Workload (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My workload took a bit of a dive at the beginning of the month though I did get requests for my services. However many of the requests turned out to be too great for me to take on-board. I limit my workload these days and my advertisement indicates that I take on small jobs but it seems some people take no notice and offer me large contracts! Nice to be wanted for sure but come on I am fast approaching 69 years of age and although I could take on the work it would probably take too much of a toll on my well-being! Besides that the job would probably take me too long anyway, I cannot work as fast as I once could. I am not that slow though as many folk have told me recently. It is all relative though isn’t it? Anyhow work is now coming in bit by bit and at a pace which suits me fine. Not having much to do at home with my latest project of converting a room in the cellar into a toilet because I am waiting upon the services of a builder I am more available for any electrical jobs that might come my way. It is just as well in any case as I need to rebuild my bank account savings! I am seriously thinking of refurbishing one of the four bedrooms located on the first floor which will cost around £2000 and am eager to do that but again I am biding my time for the moment. The house has seven bedrooms, the other three are located on the second floor but only one of them looks anything like a bedroom at the moment as one of the other two is filled with my eldest son’s furniture and the third is full of cardboard boxes with things in them mainly belonging to E. Even the one that is usable as a bedroom has many other things stored in there too. At the moment I have other things on my mind so it may be a while before I get to grips with it all. In the meantime I am content to simply plod on with my electrical work, as long as it keeps coming in!

Shirley Anne

Retire? Mwah retire?

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Contactor

Contactor (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I keep getting asked if and when I plan to retire by those employing me once they discover my age (39 of course…..LOL) but I answer with this, ‘I’ll probably die on the job!’ My intentions of late are to just keep plodding along, continuing to work as long as I am able but only on a part-time basis, that is a couple of hours a day presuming the work is coming in. I had a job to do on Monday morning which entailed removing four power outlets in a bedroom and making good the circuit. I was to install a new outlet in the same room on another wall. That was part one of the task. The second part was to install three new outlets in another room and to replace an existing one in the same room. The job took almost four hours after which I was asked to ‘look at another small problem’. A contactor ( a four-pole automatic switch for those who are not electricians or engineers) controlling the supply to a large water heating system had burned out and required replacing. I carried out a temporary repair to allow the continued use and supply of hot water as I knew the replacement would probably need ordering. Later, when I was finally able to get to the supplier, I found that it would indeed be a week or so before the part could be collected. It didn’t matter and I will return to the house once it arrives. In the meantime I had a call to go to the next town to fit a couple of wall (mounted) lights. By now it was well after one o’clock and as I was doing that job another call came in from someone in yet another town asking if I could sort out a problem the person had found himself presented with after attempting to replace a ceiling light himself. I wish people who don’t know anything about electrical circuitry would leave it to the professionals. Anyway I drove across and sorted out the problem. By now it was around three-thirty and I had yet to visit the supplier to order the new contactor and purchase some materials for my van stock. It took me twenty minutes to get back to my own town and twenty minutes to drive down one of the small streets in town which is only 150 metres in length! The traffic was heavy, probably because it was such a sunny day and being summer the town was packed with people. It didn’t help being behind some dilatory drivers who failed to get across the junction before the lights turned against them. The lights changed several times on my approach to the junction but finally I got through and soon arrived at the suppliers. By the time I had left there it was way past four o’clock. One more thing to do was to bank the cheque for £30 I had received from the National Grid. It was recompense for being without a gas supply longer than twenty-four hours whilst they were replacing the gas mains in the street and houses. I arrived home about four forty-five and I had still not eaten since breakfast at seven. I could have postponed the two extra jobs but as I was far from home it was better to do them the same day. Sometimes it is best to just go with the flow. Retire? I wouldn’t have as much fun! LOL.

Shirley Anne