Women Employed (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
……early to rise, makes a man (or woman) healthy, wealthy and wise. Do you remember this snippet of wisdom taught to you when you were young? I used to think it applied to others and not myself but then I got wise. Staying up till the late hours and then sleeping in the following day has never been a way of life for me ever since I began my working life. Of course there were days when I did stay up late and did sleep in the following morning but they have been few. Being as I am self-employed and that since 1997, the saying has more of a meaning than it once did. When working for someone else or an organisation the tendency is often to do only that asked of you and no more. That principle doesn’t apply to everyone for there are those who give their all irrespective of whether they are self-employed or not and that is a good thing, Speaking as a Christian it is right and proper to put 100% effort and interest in your work, especially if it is for and on behalf of your employer. Now if that employer happens to be yourself you can see the reason for this approach for if you are lazy you will be the one to suffer. Even before I became a Christian I applied this principle to my approach to work. I took pride in my work and was rewarded for it by way of promotion and better prospects. Since becoming self-employed, which incidentally was only eight years after I became a Christian, it was natural for me to continue to give my all. It is a biblical teaching too. So from the first tentative days of being self-employed to the present day I can say that I have become (more) healthy, wealthy and certainly more wise! I have been telling everyone that I am now working part-time, have become semi-retired but in reality I am finding my income remains almost as it was a few years ago and I am better off than ever. I try not to work too hard but occasionally I find myself putting in more hours than I had intended though nothing like I used to, after all I am approaching seventy years of age! I meet other people of a similar age and find that those who seem to be more agile and hard-working into their old age fare much better than those who don’t. They too retire early and rise early ready to catch the proverbial worm. Laziness is the seed which produces poverty and poor health.
Zombie (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I must point out that I don’t believe in zombies in the literal sense but sometimes I feel how a fictional being like a zombie might feel and that is usually when I have had little sleep. Such was the case on Sunday night. I must have arisen five times during the night and although it wasn’t specifically to visit the bathroom I did so anyway. I just couldn’t get more than an hour’s sleep before waking up and from what I remember I tossed and turned countless times. Now some might suggest that either I wasn’t tired, which wasn’t the case, or that I had things on my mind, which was probably the case. I was tired, very tired but it made no difference. I was caught up in my thoughts, events in my life, my home life, my job, my family, you name it and I was thinking about it. The more I tried the more I failed until finally at around 5.15 I made the move to get up. I had to be up and out quite early for the first and only job for the day. I was to arrive before 8 o’clock and fortunately I didn’t have to leave the house until five minutes before as the apartment I was to work in was only a mile away in the town centre. The job itself was straightforward though a little awkward in part but by the time I arrived I was feeling so tired I thought I’d never get it done. Once I started however my tiredness left me. One good thing about it though was that the lady insisted on paying me far more than I had asked. I was back home before 10 o’clock and sorting out some problems with my computer yet again! That now has been sorted, at least for the time being and everything seems to be working fine. Before I went to work I got out the hose in the rear garden and watered the plants as the forecast was dry and sunny weather ahead. Even though I had watered them the night before I felt it necessary to keep them well watered by doing it again. A day or two earlier I noticed some of the plants had begun to wilt due to the heat and a lack of water. During the warmer and dry days I tend to water the garden frequently, unfortunately it waters the weeds too! I need not have bothered watering them this time for whilst I was out at work it rained heavily for a short time. No matter, at least I knew the ground would stay moist longer. The afternoon was wall-to-wall sunshine and I was able to relax on the patio watching the weeds growing! The cuttings I took from a shrub a couple of days ago have met with partial success in that two of the three cuttings don’t appear to be showing any signs of dying off but the third one might not be as fortunate. It may be that they will all take or all die. I will just have to wait and see, that is if I can stay awake!
Tuesday was set to be an easy day as I was to simply install a couple of new lighting fittings. That however couldn’t be done until two o’clock in the afternoon as the caller would be at work until then. I got up early to shower, dress and have breakfast all before eight o’clock after which I spent a little time in the garden before returning indoors to enjoy a cup of coffee. I had just sat down with the coffee when the house phone rang. It was a call from a customer I had worked for some years ago who asked if I was still working. Half of the lights in his house were not working and in fact kept tripping out the supply if they were switched on. I explained that I was still working but that I had a job to go to at two o’clock. It would allow me to spend some time trying to sort out his problem beforehand. I took a sip of my coffee, disposed of the rest then drove to his house a few miles away. The first thing I had to do once there was to refit a light that had come away from the ceiling and which had some of the wiring loose or disconnected. It was one of those little jobs that should have taken only a few minutes but in fact took me about half an hour due to the problems associated with it.
The fault still remained so now it was a case of a process of elimination by gradually working through the wiring system until the location of the fault could be found. That took me about three hours for part of the circuitry had been unconventionally installed but finally I found the fault location to be somewhere in the bathroom wiring, the last section of the lighting circuit! I left that part of the circuit disconnected from the previous light fitting as I didn’t have enough time to proceed any further. I only had enough time to replace the several switches which had to be removed whilst checking for the fault. By now it was well after one o’clock and my next appointment was at two. I couldn’t have gone any further with the bathroom fault anyway because I needed the loft area above the bathroom clearing of all the items stored up there and that would take some time. The guy told me he would clear it all away and then I could return the following morning to hopefully locate and repair the fault. On arrival at the second job I again expected it to be simple and straightforward. Now why would I think that? Everything was against me and every minor hitch became a problem, for instance short wires, poor fixings in the ceiling, new light fittings which needed adjustments and shortening of flexes and chains. To make matters worse there were three lights to fit and not two and immovable beds in the way! I plodded on and got everything done but by now it was after three-thirty and I was hungry, breakfast had been seven and a half hours ago. I drove to my local pub and had lunch there but didn’t get it until well after four o’clock. Whilst I waited I chatted with some friends I hadn’t seen for ages and they along with other family members were slowly getting inebriated whilst celebrating their daughter’s twenty-sixth birthday. After a while they left in a cab to go into the town to continue with their ‘celebrations’ and then my lunch was served. Lunch tastes so much nicer when waiting so long to be able to eat it!
Claw hammer (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Just as I thought the day was going to be boring with nothing for me to do it all changed with a phone call. I had been up and about for almost four hours on Monday morning and it was still only nine o’clock. I have gotten into the habit of retiring early and getting up early too but I am not sure how long that will last. Anyway I had eaten breakfast by a quarter to six and had spent some time reading The Bible. I decided to re-read the whole Bible again from beginning to end earlier in the year and have now reached the last few books and am in the book of Hebrews. This I think is the 34th or 35th reading and I never tire of it, in fact I learn something new each time I read it! That’s one in the eye for those who love to dispute Scripture most of whom maybe have read it once or not all of it. It takes years to fully understand the whole of Scripture but I make no boasts regarding my knowledge of it. Even after so many readings there are still questions. I digress. As a matter of fact I was out on the patio and had just closed my Bible after having read quite a lot and was just admiring some of the flowers close-up when my phone rang. It was a call from a local man for whom I had done some work previously and he was asking me if I could check out a faulty power outlet that supplied his washing machine. I was there fifteen minutes later sorting out the problem. In fact the outlet was indeed faulty and the neutral half of the supply was disconnected because of a burned terminal I learned after I had removed it. It was one of those jobs seemingly set up originally to be awkward to work on. I am right-handed (though I can work with either hand) and the outlet was hard against the left-hand side of the space where it was located. It was also positioned behind where the machine sat. The outlets fixing screws were seized and could not be unscrewed because the steel box sunk into the concrete rendered wall, yes concrete, had severely rusted up. Some time ago there had been a water leak and the wall had gotten wet. Now you would think the power outlet would have been checked at the time but alas it seems not. I had to use a claw hammer in order to remove the outlet so that I could disconnect the wiring and reposition a new outlet this time inside the adjacent kitchen unit to the machine. Working in confined spaces is an art only perfected by years of struggling in similar situations and I have had plenty of those. Experience only counts when considering how best to approach a problem and it helps more than a little in its execution! The problems are still the same no matter how experienced we are. Knowing Percival Veerance and Patience Strong helps a lot! It took me a little less than an hour and a half and I was finished. I actually like these little jobs for they pay very well and can be quite challenging. Recently I have been taking stock and remembering all the different things I have been involved with in my life’s work. Much of my working life has involved maintenance in one form or another and that means plenty of experience in fault-finding and finding solutions to problems. So I take pride in the knowledge that I can provide solutions for the problems people ask me to resolve for them, even those such as the one I had on Monday morning.
This image was selected as a picture of the week on the Malay Wikipedia for the 51st week, 2010. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
On Wednesday evening I was in bed around ten-thirty and although my eyes were closed I could see the bright flash of lightning illuminating the room. I got out of bed and opened the window so that I could watch Nature‘s wonderful display and I wasn’t disappointed. Sheet lightning lit up the clouds from the inside every few seconds then streaks flashed from one end of the sky to the other almost in slow-motion as I gazed at the wonderful display. Occasionally I would see streaks between the sky and the ground. Slowly the storm moved northward but just as I thought it was all over another small storm blew over the house. Eventually all was calm but it was now raining and I was glad about that. I love thunderstorms and could watch them for hours. I had watered the gardens earlier in the evening and it didn’t seem enough, especially for the lawn, for it had been quite a hot and humid day. It wasn’t as hot as the weather girl had claimed for we had been told that Wednesday had been the hottest day of the current heat wave and certainly of the year but in fact Tuesday had been warmer and very humid too. Now the gardens would be fully watered and I wouldn’t need to do it in the morning as I had been doing lately. I woke up on Thursday morning to bright sunshine but it was cloudy too and noticeably cooler I discovered later. I had no work scheduled and was expecting or hoping for some to turn up but no-one called until later. The first call was from the couple I in whose house I had worked in on Tuesday telling me that they had lost all their electrical power so I talked them through some checks they could do themselves to see if they could reset the supply. However from what they told me the fault lay outside their home so I asked them to check with their neighbours to see if their supplies were okay. It seems they too were having problems. It turned out that the electrical storm of the previous evening had outed a high-voltage piece of equipment in a local sub-station. I could not help them. The second caller was asking me to do work I am no longer involved in doing so I declined her invitation. The rest of the day was spent at home doing very little and as the day progressed it became wetter outside so I couldn’t even sit out on the patio. As it was Thursday E spent most of the afternoon out shopping for food. Friday was promised to be a better day as far as the weather was concerned but as for work, well as I write this on Thursday evening I have none, however that might change. I had been tempted to dine-out yet again on the day but I resisted and cooked at home. I can always dine out tomorrow, that is if I am not working!
Unsettled (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Yesterday I wrote about things grinding to a halt or at least slowing right down but today was another day. It is Thursday afternoon as I write this and the sun is shining once again. If you remember it had been rather a dull day yesterday. The month of June should be more settled than it has become for we are not promised wall-to-wall sunshine in the next few days and it has been that way for much of the months so far. It was however quite warm and sunny last week. No point in complaining about something over which we have no control now is there? My work pattern is pretty much the same, unsettled. On Sunday E told me about the trouble she was having in opening and closing the roller door on the garage she uses. I managed to get it working again but I needed more information regarding the control circuit if I was to make an adjustment myself. I decided to call the guy who installed the door and who carries out repairs but he wasn’t available on Sunday. I didn’t expect him to be but I just wanted to leave him a message, which I did do. Unfortunately he hadn’t responded by Thursday (today as I write) morning so I called him again. He apologised for forgetting about the message I’d left and we made arrangements for him to call sometime in the afternoon. It meant I would have to remain at home during the afternoon, something I wanted to do anyway so that I could receive instructions on which adjustments I needed to do if the problem arose again. E would be out shopping with her mom in the afternoon. I decided to take the small step-ladder from my van parked in the other garage and place it in the garage ready for use later but just as I was about to do that I received a call from someone asking me to do a small job for them. I agreed to go as I wouldn’t be away from home more than an hour and I would be back at noon. The lady wanted a light replacing and when I arrived she looked surprised as I was dressed in some nice and bright summer clothes. She asked how long I had been an electrician and when I told her she couldn’t believe it. As I mentioned I had been in the business for 53 years to the month it followed that I must be around 70 years old. Now she really was amazed for I do not look as old as my years. I told her I was 69 and that ‘my secret’ is that I plug myself into the mains every night to recharge my batteries! She couldn’t stop laughing. She left me to finish the job as she was about to go to work but her teenaged son was at home. Five minutes later I was leaving the house myself. So everything changes and now I am waiting for the next request and at this very moment the guy to attend on the garage door.
It Ain’t My Fault (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Looks like my weekends now run from Sunday to Monday with extra days free thereafter because my weekly work schedule is beginning to morph into a set late routine, no work at the beginning of the week then everyone wants my services from Thursday onwards! If I knew it would stay that way I could arrange to do other things on my ‘days off’ but it doesn’t work that way does it? Often I will get calls from people who know they want some electrical work doing but end up sitting on it then calling me late in the day or the week, and expect me to be available immediately. That happened on Thursday evening when I received an unexpected call from a regular customer who told me that one of his household circuits had been tripping out for days. Why didn’t he call me earlier when I had no work? As it happened I was returning to a house I’d been working in last week by arrangement the following morning and I was unable to accommodate him immediately. I found that I could have gone to his job in the afternoon on Friday as I had finished what I had to do at the first job but as things turned out I am glad I didn’t. The morning’s work had left me a little tired and when I got home for a late lunch something had arrived through the post which needed immediate attention so I had to go out again. By the time I finally got home it was getting late in the afternoon and I needed something to eat. As for the guy with the faulty circuit I had explained over the phone what steps he should take to try to reinstate the circuit and then call me again if the fault hadn’t been located. I suspected it might simply have been a faulty appliance and not the circuit itself. I told him that if the fault remained then I might be able to get there later the next day but as I have just explained, that wasn’t possible. He did leave a message on my house phone explaining that he had done what I had suggested but the fault remained. I called him to make arrangements to go there the following morning, Saturday. Up and until Thursday afternoon I had no electrical work scheduled though I had plenty of requests. Unfortunately those jobs were far too big for me to take on. The job I did late on Thursday afternoon involved locating a fault in someone’s garage circuit, which turned out to be a partially bare live conductor touching an earthed box. A simple repair solved that problem but I did find that the whole set-up needed bringing up to date with a new supply cable and control board. The present layout is far from being satisfactory and no protection is provided against possible electrocution. One really dangerous discovery was the ‘male’ half of a power point, that is the half fitted with protruding pins, had been connected to the electrical supply and the pins were exposed to the touch. It is the ‘female’ half of the assembly, the part with concealed receptacles, which should have been connected to the supply. I pointed this out to the guy, who by the way had installed it himself, that he should not leave it in such a dangerous state. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing indeed and I often see the results of those doing it themselves who by doing so place themselves in great danger of electrocution. In this case I have a feeling that I will be offered the job of updating the installation some time in the future.
Isn’t Life Terrible? (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
It all started on Saturday, though that day presented us with bright sunshine all day long. However it was also very windy as was the following day, which was also wet at times. They told us the temperature was about average for the time of year but because of the wind it felt quite cold. I stayed indoors over the weekend. The whole of this week promised to be little different, not a bit like Spring at all. As I write this on Sunday evening I have no electrical work scheduled but if my readers will remember my saying that is often the case at the beginning of the week. Pottering about in the garden or going for walks is less attractive a pastime when it is wet, windy and cool so if the lack of work continues away from home I shall be very bored indeed! Because of my unfortunate circumstances at home I have reluctantly ceased continuing with my domestic projects. I feel I am just being taken for granted so the work has stopped for the present at least. I don’t wish to be housebound though despite the bad weather so I will have to venture out sometimes won’t I? I make it sound like being in a prison and in fact it sometimes feels that way. Perhaps I need an interest outside of my home but I’m not sure what that could be. The problem is that I am still available for electrical work so I have to be free to do it. I have either to retire completely and be available to do something else if that is what I desire but I cannot see the point in that idea. So I bide my time and simply wait to see what develops and hope the weather gets better in the meantime!
Strawberry ice cream in a cone. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
As I sat out on the patio after lunch on Wednesday I was beginning to think my working week would be a complete non entity. I was enjoying an ice cream cone when my phone rang. It was a woman for whom I had worked about eight years ago who had at that time cut out my advertisement in case she needed my services again. Why she had done that I am not sure for I usually hand out a business card anyway. I had installed a replacement shower unit for her at that time which evidently was still in working order but this time she simply wanted a light replacing with a more modern one. I have a minimum charge I levy which covers my travelling time, fuel and actually doing the work but even then some people think it is too much, They want it doing for next to nothing, like the guy who called me on Monday wanting me to work late in the day and on a weekend too for it was inconvenient to have me to do the work during the normal working week and who also moaned about the price! I refused the work. So off I went to replace the light for this lady who lives twelve miles distant from my house. As the job was extremely easy I charged her £5 less than I would normally have done. I was happy, she was happy. As I write this on Wednesday evening I am not sure if I will get any more work for the remainder of the week but at least that one job has covered the cost of my weekly advertisement. (By the way I did get more work before the end of the week). I was going to go to the pub again for my lunch but decided against the idea and rustled up a meal at home. In any case I like cooking so it isn’t an inconvenience for me except if I have been working hard, then I sometimes don’t wish to start cooking and I eat out instead. Had I done that on Wednesday I might have missed the call, especially if I had been inside the pub where the phone signal is so weak due to the roof being totally covered in lead! Connecting to the Internet whilst in the pub isn’t a problem for as with most places these days they have a router installed. It is just the phone signal which is impeded though not all system providers are affected. I just happen to be using one that is!
Weather with You (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
We waited patiently for the onset of Spring and it looked at last as if the days could only get warmer but this is the UK and our weather patterns are never always reliable. On Wednesday at least the country was more or less split in half regarding the weather. Those in the south were enjoying temperatures and sunshine more typical for the month of June or even July whereas those up north had to put up with cloudy skies and low temperatures and even rain in some places too. Temperatures in the south were in the low twenties and even as high as twenty-five degrees Celsius in places but in the north it was more like eleven degrees with a slight wind. As far as conditions are concerned the weather in the north was more typical for the season whereas in the south conditions were more unseasonal. The day was a one-off though for the main problem was the passing of a cold front making its way slowly southward. For such a small country there can be quite a difference in weather patterns between the most northerly point to the most southerly at almost any time of the year. On a more personal note, the weather was just fine for me. I was half expecting to get more job requests for the day but had just the one and that one a very small one indeed, to connect a cooker to its isolating switch. I was happy about that for it meant I would have most of the day to myself but I couldn’t do it until the cooker had been delivered at eleven o’clock. It was almost lunch time as I drove home but I decided to go for another pub/restaurant meal beforehand as I had only fruit for my breakfast some hours earlier. Just as I had put the van in the garage, for I had no intentions of taking anymore work for the day, my phone rang, but it wasn’t a job request this time. I advertise in a local free newspaper, one of two operating in the area. The call was from the other newspaper group trying to secure my business! They had been trawling their competitor’s newspaper looking for more business. I wondered if the group I advertise with do the same. I explained that as I only work part-time (more or less) and as I am also 69 years of age to boot, I didn’t want the volume of work and was quite happy with my current newspaper running my advert. I locked the garage and went indoors.
Beads From a Petal (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
…and on to Wednesday, a much warmer and sunny day. Although it had been sunny on Tuesday it had remained on the cool side but not Wednesday, Wednesday was much warmer. I had but the one job to do in another town and I arrived there, as I usually do, right on time. Replacing two ceiling light fittings and repositioning a power outlet all got done within two hours even though there was much chatting and drinking coffee in the meantime. It turned out that the couple, an elderly retired plumber aged 84 and his wife who never revealed her age but must have been in her mid-seventies, were both born in Liverpool and had lived there for some years. We chatted about living in Liverpool and I was asked many things regarding where I had lived there. I have come across and worked for quite a number of ex-pat. Liverpudlians during my travels. They are a very sociable and welcoming people. I say that because they are and I am one of them! Anyway the work was completed quickly and they were well pleased with what I had done. I noticed that beads of perspiration were forming on my forehead as I worked on replacing the lights, not because the work was hard, it wasn’t but it was quite warm up at ceiling level. It can only get warmer as the months go by. I found myself driving back to my home town at 11 o’clock. I wanted to dine out again but it was too early for lunch. However, the traffic was a little heavier than I had anticipated and as I approached the outskirts of town I found I was in diverted traffic from one of the main roads in the area that was undergoing some major works. Coupled with that on the main route I was on there had been temporary traffic controls put into place because of road works there too and those things slowed the traffic to a crawl. By the time I got into town it was nearly 12 o’clock so I diverted toward the pub arriving there five minutes before opening time. I was in no hurry of course but there were already people sitting on the benches outside waiting to get inside. I sat in my van and watched their antics which I found rather amusing. Most all of them were elderly folk which have become the mainstay of the business since its last reformation a couple of years ago when it was basically a pub that served food. Now it is more a restaurant that has a bar! It has become more popular as a result. I sat and watched one very elderly couple approach the side door, the one most people use as it leads out to the outdoor seating area and the car park. They each in turn tried the handle on the door but it was obviously closed and would remain so until the staff opened it from the inside. I watched as they tried again and again to open the door whilst others simply sat there and waited patiently. I was surprised at the couple’s impatience thinking to myself that they should know better at their age. They were acting like two senile delinquents. Finally the door was opened a couple of minutes after noon and a great cheer resounded from the small group that had gathered. I followed them inside after a minute or so and was served immediately, that is my order was taken as soon as I entered. The elderly folk were still sorting out where to sit! I had to laugh.
Gardener Gardening (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
It was about 4 o’clock in the afternoon before I was able to eat anything substantial. I had eaten a half of a small melon for breakfast knowing that I intended to eat out later. Usually I would have eaten porridge with fruit and a fruit drink but sometimes porridge weighs heavily in my tummy and causes reflux whenever I am doing anything strenuous or working hard afterwards. If I miss eating porridge in the morning I might have some later in the day if I’ve a mind to do so. My first job of the day was to install a waterproof power outlet outdoors at an address quite close to home. The lady of the house, a widow, got on very well with me and during my work she was talking about her garden and asking me about mine. I am not a gardener but I do like to take an interest in plants. I asked the lady if she would like to see my garden as my house was not much more than a half-mile away. She liked the idea so when I had finished the job I drove her there and back home later. I had an hour to spare before I could go to my next job for the day anyway. I gave her a mini-tour of the gardens and lower floors of the house so that she could see the things we had been talking about earlier. She knew much about the plants we have as gardening is somewhat of a hobby of hers. I also showed her our wet room and main bathroom as I had told her that we had built the wet room entirely by ourselves and had done most of the work in the bathroom ourselves too. She didn’t want to leave the bathroom, saying it was such a lovely room. I took her back home after a half-hour and then drove back home for a short while before going to my next job. Our eldest son had called to the house with someone from the church and they were offloading two pews for storage in our cellar. He told me he wanted them for future use when he buys a house. I can’t imagine why but hadn’t the time to ask. I left them to it. When I returned home late in the afternoon I had to move them for he had stored them in such a way that they were obstructing access to our electrical and gas supplies and preventing use of the workbench we have down there. Though they were very heavy I managed to move them to one side and out-of-the-way. I don’t think they had thought about access problems when they dumped them there. I was already tired after my day at work. My second job involved repairs to bathroom lights and a switch replacement but I could only assess the work when I first went there. I needed to purchase a switch to match the faulty one but had to go to my third job beforehand. That job was some miles out-of-town and involved installing wiring to an extract wall fan. I returned to the second job to complete the work there. Now it was 3.40 in the afternoon and I was hungry and a little tired. I drove to my local pub and had a meal there but it didn’t arrive at my table until 4.20. I didn’t linger there once I had eaten but drove home for a well-earned rest, after I had moved the pews of course! My next job would take me to another town the following day. Tuesday started cool and very misty but late in the morning the sun broke out and it remained warm and sunny all day long. We are promised the same for a few more days before it gets wetter and cooler once more. I love England!
I have always had a steady flow of work since becoming self-employed back in September 1997. Prior to that time I worked for others and in my last job doing that the workload had become minimal and the routine checks I had to make on equipment became tedious and boring. My colleague and I were well on top of things and little needed to be done to maintain things. I left that employment at just the right time it seems. What actually happened was my employer was streamlining the industry (asset stripping) and encouraging those who were of suitable age and thereby could retire voluntarily to do so. I was of suitable age and because the terms were so favourable I chose to take early voluntary retirement on a full pension with the added bonus of a ‘golden handshake‘, a tidy lump sum. That lump sum and the fact that I was ensured a monthly income from my pension with immediate effect meant that I could continue working as a self-employed person. I have never looked back since that day and in fact my fortunes took a turn for the better. Over the years since then my workload has been steady and often too much at times for me to handle. Gradually I have wound things down and no longer take on projects I consider too much for me to do at my age.
The strange thing is there still is plenty of work I am able to do, small jobs that no-one else seems to be able to fit into their schedule or perhaps are not interested in doing. I did one such job on Thursday morning. I had to disconnect and remove a hard-wired bell circuit and replace it with a wireless type. Next, I had to replace a light unit on an outside wall and finally replace the base box (called a pattress) beneath a power outlet in the garage as it had been broken. Simple little jobs yes but nevertheless financially rewarding. I also discovered that a plug-in type of RCD unit they had been using whenever they used their electric lawnmower was faulty. They told me that they had used it for years and I asked if they ever tested it before use. It appears they hadn’t even though printed on the unit are instructions to do so. The test simply involves pushing the device’s test button! I thought to myself why have a safety device and never test it to see if it is working? As for the work I do, the way I look at it is this, if I am continuing to work I might as well get paid for it! Whilst at the house I received phone calls asking for my services. So despite there being no work on some days there is enough to keep me going, to tide me over as it were.
Loft (2005 film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
This past week has been very similar to the week before in that the work I have done has been concentrated at the latter end of the week leaving me nothing to do for the first few days. It isn’t often you will see me crawling about in someone’s loft but on Wednesday I did exactly that. Naturally I put on a pair of overalls (coveralls) before doing so in order to keep my clothes clean and to protect them from damage. Some lofts are surprisingly reasonably clean but whilst that is so most are not. Most loft areas now are fitted with layers of insulation material which hides the timber construct of the ceilings below and so there is always the danger of accidentally stepping on the fragile ceiling and putting a foot through it. In all my years as an electrician I have never had that misfortune. Other hazards in loft spaces include the roof beams and rafters and the many cardboard boxes or other stored items people have put up there. Having peeled back the insulation I was able to gain access to the lighting cables on this occasion for my task was to reposition and at the same time replace a ceiling light and remove another together with the pull-cord switch controlling it. Having done what was necessary in the loft I was soon able to close the hatch and continue the work in the bedroom below. Another problem I was faced with was the huge bed beneath where the new light (a chandelier) would be fitted and which couldn’t be moved. Have you ever tried balancing on a wobbly bed whilst trying to fit a heavy light above it? With a little help from the lady of the house who supported the light whilst I connected and fitted it I soon had it done. Of course the bed had been covered with a sheet to collect any dust and always there is! The lady asked me all sorts of questions regarding why I decided to become an electrician and how long I have been working as such. She was very much impressed when I gave her a brief description of the things I have done over the (almost) 53 years I have been in the business. She then asked if I enjoyed my work! I could only reply with a ‘yes’ for how could anyone stick at a job so long and not enjoy it unless they were completely bonkers? Maybe I am a little bonkers but I do enjoy my work.
Finally! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Things have been sluggish for me lately but I think I am beginning to see light at the end of the tunnel. Exactly one week after my last electrical job I received a request to do a small job on Thursday in another town twelve miles away. Having quoted my minimum price, which was accepted, I went along to do the job the following day as asked. That one job is just enough to pay the cost of my advertisement for the one week. At least I am not running at a loss! In reality my previous weeks of profitable gain would in any case allow me to take a few weeks off before I would start to make a loss. It meant though that I had a week free to myself. I am happy to see that work is once again beginning to trickle in if only to relieve the boredom. There is work to do in and around the house but at this moment in time I am reluctant to do anything at home until E changes her attitude. It has been difficult to take an interest in anything at home lately so I have been getting away from the house more and more. I have spent therefore more time dining out and going for walks or shopping but what I really want to do is what I enjoy the most and that is my work at home or in my electrical job. The weather hasn’t been too good for getting out and about but it is finally but slowly improving. My bank accounts are healthy once more, not that they were anything otherwise but it has at last been possible to save more now my main annual expenditure has ceased and with the prospect of more electrical work that should continue to improve. Hopefully with the coming of Spring there will be improvements all round on the home front. If nothing else the sunshine will produce a sense of well-being! I am looking forward to it. I know in that in the coming weeks I will be dusting off the lawnmower for use again and soon after then maybe I can begin to wear lighter clothing again just like the girl in the picture!
Update: that single job changed into three at different locations! You wait ages for a bus to come along then three arrive all at once!