I have to say no sometimes

English: Set of blinds in an abandoned house o...
Set of blinds in an abandoned house on Wapping Ln, Derry, Northern Ireland. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My plans for Thursday went a little askew. I had every intention of getting on with some work at home and indeed was continuing with the work around the base of the shower when the house phone rang. I was in the process of fixing the second of the two sections of plastic skirting having fixed the other the day before. I ignored the phone and E remarked that my mobile phone might ring a few seconds later, which it did. The lady on the other end wanted to know if I could replace her old oven for her. That meant pulling the old oven out, disconnecting it and connecting the new one. As that sort of job is very easy to do I offered to do it for her within the hour which would allow me to finish what I was doing. She agreed after I had informed her of the cost. Before I left the house some thirty minutes later she called again and asked if I could check ‘some lights’. When I got to the house I was confronted with an untidy mess of a garden and a rather unappealing presentation of a house with the window blinds closed even though it was late morning. I knew immediately that the interior would be unkempt and dirty as I heard the sound of dogs barking inside. The lady opened the door and welcomed me in and took me through the lounge into the kitchen after she had put two of the dogs outside in the rear garden. Those two dogs were Romanian wolf hounds according to what she told me and would be best left outside until I had finished the job. The other two dogs were much smaller and of a different breed but I am not sure which breed. They were better behaved shall we say and were no problem at all. The house, or rather the whole ground floor was given over to the dogs and there were large cages in the lounge to accommodate them. The lounge itself was very untidy and someone had been doing some decorating but hadn’t made a good job of it and indeed it looked as if they had given up doing it years before! Then I walked into the kitchen and thought to myself how could anyone live like this. The room was thick with grease. There were holes in the walls where electrical boxes had been removed but had not been plastered over, in fact there wasn’t any wall coverings at all in many places, no tiles as you might expect there to be. Again it looked as if someone had started to refurbish the room but had abandoned the idea years ago and left it in that state. Since then it has gotten worse. I fitted the replacement oven within a few minutes then investigated the lighting faults. According to the lady all the lights had been working until recently but some of them had ceased to work since. The first light only required new lamps. The second light had no power supply at the switch and after investigating further there was no supply to some of the other switches yet there was no fault at the distribution board, no fuses blown, no circuit breakers tripped. When I checked upstairs only part of the lighting circuit was working but I saw that she’d had extensive building work done up there as I saw newly plastered walls and ceilings which had been left undecorated. I also discovered poor wiring connections behind the switches and light fittings and earth wires missing too. A bad case of DIY gone wrong and it would take quite some time to put right. I got the feeling that the house had been left in this state for quite some time. I had to decline the invitation to put things right because I do not have the time nor the energy to start moving furniture and lifting floorboards all over the place to essentially rewire the lighting circuits. The lady asked me how much I thought it would cost to put things right. Having told her it could be quite a few hundred pounds I think she realised that it wasn’t a simple task she’d asked of me. I spent an hour checking the lighting for her to see if I could trace the fault until I realised it couldn’t be done so easily. I didn’t charge her for my time spent on the lighting as I knew she could ill-afford it. I returned home and found I was unable to continue in the bathroom as E had painted the woodwork in several places. I would have to wait until the next day to continue.

Shirley Anne

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