Quite often I get calls from people with electrical problems but sometimes I resist going to see what the problem is. Instead I will offer advise or talk them through their situation in order for them to resolve it themselves. Naturally these particular jobs do not really warrant a visit especially if they are far from home. I have to charge for my time and in some cases I deem it unfair to charge my minimum fee for something that can easily be resolved by the caller. In any case many would simply refuse to pay me what I would have to charge. Much of the time the faults are loss of power because the circuit breaker has tripped or a faulty appliance has caused the RCD (safety trip switch) to trip thereby removing power to other circuits. If the caller follows my instructions and successfully reinstates the power I have saved them the cost of calling me out and they are usually most grateful. It sometimes pays to offer help in this way for it could lead to work at a later date. People remember good deeds. On Friday I received a call for assistance from an elderly couple living about three miles or so away. They wanted to know if I could call in order to trace the source of an unusual sound which they thought might be the result of an electrical fault. The gentleman even held the telephone toward the sound so that I could hear it. It sounded much like a child’s toy but obviously couldn’t be that. I asked about their smoke alarms which according to them were working as they should. Their burglar alarm had been disconnected so it couldn’t be that. I asked if they had a carbon monoxide detector as the sound could be an indication that the battery required changing. At that point the gentleman said that in fact they did have such an alarm unit but it wasn’t in use, it was stored in a box in the room from where the sound was emanating. He told me he would call back once he had recovered the alarm. A couple of minutes later he called back to tell me that in fact it was the carbon monoxide alarm unit. It had been stored away without removing the battery beforehand. The battery was almost drained which set off a warning signal. I wondered why the alarm wasn’t in use but perhaps their home was all-electric and the alarm wasn’t necessary. They thanked me for being so helpful and honest with them especially as I could have charged them had I gone there. The gentleman asked if he could pay me something but of course I refused payment. Evidently his wife was insistent that I should accept a little something and asked for my address. I gave in and thought no more about it. The following day, Saturday, just after lunch the doorbell rang and I answered the door. It was a delivery of a large cardboard box addressed to me. However I didn’t open it for I thought that it was intended for E who receives parcels almost every day! She had told me a day or so earlier that my name had been entered in one of her competitions in order to give her more chances of winning. Any ‘winnings’ would naturally be addressed to me. She had been out during the afternoon for her monthly meeting with her group and didn’t arrive back home until after five o’clock. She asked why I hadn’t opened the box and I told her. She hadn’t been expecting a parcel so in fact it was for me after all. I opened it to find a large bouquet of flowers in a special container and a note inside thanking me for the help I’d offered. It was from the elderly couple. Wasn’t that a nice gesture?