On Wednesday morning I had some small electrical jobs to do in a house in another town nearby. Originally pencilled-in for Friday the job was brought forward because the customer couldn’t get time off from his workplace. He called me on Tuesday evening to ask if I could do the work the next day. Fortunately I had nothing scheduled for Wednesday so I was able to accommodate. I wanted to get the work done as early as possible so arranged to be there around 8.30. The first problem had been attempting to reverse onto his driveway as the house stands right on a busy road junction and directly alongside a mini-roundabout. Opposite is a school for infants and juniors and of course at that time the traffic is very busy. He did warn me that getting on and off his drive was often met with irate drivers with the attitude that anyone doing so shouldn’t be doing so. I despair at the attitude of some people. Anyway I approached the small roundabout and stopped the following traffic and waited for a gap in the traffic approaching from my left. The junction is in the form of the letter ‘Y’ so stopping as I did stopped traffic from two directions. I waited for only a few seconds but I suppose that would seem like an age to some people and was then able to drive across the roundabout onto the extra-wide pavement opposite where I then reversed onto the driveway. Traffic still had to wait whilst I reversed. On the way over to the town I drive across country and take my time. Several vehicles overtook me even though I was driving at 40-45 mph. I thought to myself, ‘Just what is the hurry? Why don’t drivers simple start their journey 5 or 10 minutes earlier?’ In the event I caught up with all of them a mile further down the road when they were stopped at a busy junction. I smiled to myself. So now I was safe on the driveway and soon inside the house.
The work was very simple, change four recessed lights in the ceiling, change the lights beneath the kitchen units and change another ceiling light in the porch but first we had to buy the units having decided on what was needed. I asked the guy to accompany me to the supplier so that he could choose the lights and pay for them. Normally I would buy them and use them at a marked-up price but I thought it wise this time not to. We purchased what we needed and then drove off, though that wasn’t straightforward as some of the lights we required were out of stock and we had to select a different type, a good reason for the guy to be with me. About a half-mile down the road we realised we had forgotten one item so we returned to collect it. I began with the recessed ceiling lights but found the original holes were too small to accommodate the new fittings though they were supposed to be identical in size. No problem for a pad saw. I removed the first light from its sealed box and discovered it was not only a different colour to that we had asked for but it was broken too as if it had been opened before. The guy returned to the supplier whilst I got on with the work. The original four lights had been fed through two transformers and one of those transformers turned out to be part faulty, that is one of the two outputs was faulty which meant it could only supply one light. That meant lifting a floorboard in the room above to gain access to it and install a new transformer to accommodate the fourth light. Fortunately I have spare transformers in my van stock so I fitted one of those. It didn’t work! It was a new transformer in a sealed box and it was faulty! I replaced it and this time the light worked. By this time the guy had returned with a replacement light and I fitted it before installing the new under-unit lights. That part of the work was straightforward though a little awkward. The last part of the job was to replace an old ceiling light with a basic light unit. After sorting out the numerous wires behind the old light I fitted the new unit and found the cover wouldn’t screw on. The real problem was the ceiling itself, it had been coated with rough cast ‘Artex’, an uneven surface. After a few frustrating minutes I finally got it fitted. It was now 12.30. I had been there for four hours when really the work should have only taken perhaps two. One thing that is needed to be an electrician is patience as it can be frustrating work sometimes, I take it all in my stride though.