Surprised by me

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It had been a funny week as far as my work was concerned and by Friday morning I was expecting to get another long weekend free to myself but late in the morning I got a phone call. I was about to do something at home then go out for a meal but someone wanted me to do some work for them. The lady who called explained what their problem was and what was needed to rectify it so I decided to go and do it for her and her husband. Evidently they had put the cart before the horse as it were and as many people do without thinking about the consequences. To be fair I lay the blame on the contractor who had done his work without explaining to the couple that in doing his work would create a problem which could be avoided if his work was rescheduled to a later date. What had happened was the couple had a new radiator installed in the small hallway of their little house. It was a modern vertical-type radiator, narrow in width but tall in height, similar to what is installed in bathrooms these days though with vertical ribs. It was similar to the dimensions of the one we installed at home when refurbishing our bathroom (shown on the right). Bathroom 78They had an existing radiator removed so that a new double-glazed front door could be fitted as part of a project to fit double-glazed windows and doors throughout the house. Even though the new radiator was narrower in width it still prevented the new door from opening completely and therefore it needed to be moved a few centimetres away from where it had been fitted. Now this is where I come in. The radiator, once moved, would cover over a light switch and a power outlet. They both required moving. Now why I wasn’t called, or some other electrician called before all the other work was done defies logic. All the other problems with the radiator and door would have been non-existent had the electrical work been attended to first. People just don’t think. The electrical work however wasn’t that simple to carry out. Is it ever? A couple of years ago this couple had a new kitchen installed and the people doing the electrical work had taken the supply for the kitchen ‘ring circuit‘ (power outlets) from the single power unit that needed moving but furthermore hadn’t connected it correctly or safely! They were supposed to be qualified as having passed the minimum standard to do the work by obtaining what is known in this country as a ‘Part P’ certificate. It allows people without a background in electrical work who obtain this certificate to qualify them to work in bathrooms and kitchens. Personally I disagree with the system as do many other electricians who themselves, though already qualified, have had to gain a ‘Part P’ certificate! Anyway the wiring to the power outlet could not be extended to the new position which meant fitting a larger box in the wall and rearranging the connections to make the kitchen part of the ring circuit to which it had been wired incorrectly and then install an extra cable to a new position  to accommodate a twin outlet further from the radiator. A similar arrangement was made for the twin lighting switch higher up the wall. A simple job made more difficult by the incompetency of others! So there now exists two blank plates covering the electrical ‘joints’ at the old positions of the switch and power point. The radiator, when moved, will hide the plates. This work took me almost three hours to complete but during that time I received yet another call from a care worker asking if I would repair a faulty light for an elderly couple living quite a few miles away. It was a simple job and she seemed desperate to have it done. Apparently she couldn’t find an electrician willing to do such a small job. I explained that I couldn’t get there until late in the afternoon but that I would attend to it. It took me longer to drive there than to actually do the job! The elderly couple were indeed elderly, she told me she was 95 years old and her husband must have been about the same age though I wasn’t told. In both cases I was told by the folk I was working for that they didn’t expect such prompt service at such short notice. I surprise myself sometimes.

Shirley Anne

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