On Tuesday I had resigned myself to having no work to do. It was a very blustery day, a mixture of rain, sunshine and high winds and although I would have to go out in it if a job request came through I was happy to be able to stay indoors if one didn’t. However I did have to go into the garden to place the green wheelie bin back where it is usually stored out there for the wind had graciously moved it somewhere else overnight! That was because there was little weight in it to stop it from moving. I should have placed a large stone in front of it to prevent the wind from moving it as I usually do if it is empty. Anyway whilst out in the garden I thought about the odd smell I had encountered inside my van when I used it the day before. I remembered that I have a small gas torch in there which might have been the cause of the smell so I investigated. Sure enough, the gas canister wasn’t tightly secured to the jet assembly but how that had happened is a bit of a mystery as I hadn’t used the torch for quite some time. I locked the van and went back indoors after securing the gas canister. A few minutes later I got a call from a lady living in the next town who seemed very desperate to have an electrical problem fixed. It was still only two in the afternoon and I was available. Essentially she had been fitting a new lamp shade to a ceiling fitting and had ‘blown the fuse’ as she put it. I told her how to rewire the fuse but she said she wasn’t capable to do it. I explained that I would have to charge her my minimum price to call there and fix it for her and that if her fuse had blown there must be a reason for it which would need investigating anyway. I drove there immediately and discovered that she had twisted the lamp holder so much whilst fitting the shade that the wiring inside had shorted the circuit. There were two old iron-clad fuse boxes fitted with re-wirable porcelain fuses and indeed one of those fuses had blown. I rewired it. The light flex would need to be replaced and to do that the ceiling rose (the same as shown above) would have to be opened. Unfortunately it was an old installation and the rose had been painted over so many times it had to be broken to disconnect the flex. That meant a new ceiling rose too. The old vulcanised rubber covered wiring in the ceiling was fortunately in good condition. Rubber insulation has a life expectancy of between 40 and 60 years in domestic situations and this wiring must have been around 60 years old. Rubber either becomes brittle, breaking off easily in the hand or it becomes sticky and elastic, equally as bad. This installation however was surprisingly good. It needed rewiring of course and I told the lady to consider having it done but for the time being the installation seemed safe enough. As usual in these cases where the installation is old the householder isn’t prepared to hear that or is ready to fork out the money to have it done. A new power supply panel is certainly required and would be installed during the rewire. I have to explain and point out any problems I find and then it is up to the householder to act upon them. To reassure the lady that I wasn’t after seeking more work I told her that I no longer carry out that sort of work anyway because of my age. She then asked if I would return on another day to replace a faulty light switch for her and I told her that I could do it whilst I was there and it would save her a lot of money not having to call me out a second time. She agreed and I replaced the switch. She couldn’t thank me enough for the work I had done for she had been without lighting for several days according to what she had told me. Evidently no-one would take on the work for her. Later in the evening she twice called again to thank me telling me that she would recommend me to all her friends. Nice but ……..