Taking a shine to me

Come Rain, Come Shine
Come Rain, Come Shine (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In my work I am often met with people who for reasons unknown to me ‘take a shine to me’. I don’t know the origin of that saying, though I have searched on The Internet. ‘Taking a shine’ is another way of saying we like somebody and enjoy their company. It is a little like friendship and in fact is friendship in the basic meaning of the word. There are many reasons why such people would befriend me I suppose but I don’t question their motives, I simply accept it in a complimentary way. Many times in this blog I have mentioned that I enjoy working and meeting people so when I find I have no work I pray that I might get some. I am never let down. On Tuesday morning I was without work and although I had prayed that I might get some it was far from my mind as I sat there reading on my computer. It was nine o’clock and I had been up and about for three hours. The mobile phone rang and the call was from an elderly gentleman who explained that some of the power outlets in his house were not working. He had checked the fuses but could find nothing wrong. His house was less than two miles away and I was there within fifteen minutes. The house was a rented property owned by the local authority and they hold the responsibility for major repairs but minor things are the responsibility of the tenant. In fact the house really needed a complete re-wire as the existing installation dated back some sixty years, was wired in perishable rubber cables and was well out-of-date. I opened the large cast-iron fuse box to find rewireable  porcelain fuse carriers. One of them had blown and that was the reason for the power loss. I rewired the fuse and all power was restored. The old guy, who I learned was 90 years of age but didn’t look it, lived there with his sixty-four year-old son. I didn’t ask about their apparently deceased wives if indeed both had been married. The son had health problems and whilst I was there he spent his time out in the garage which had been turned into a gymnasium of sorts and where he exercised regularly. After the few minutes it took me to restore the supply I was invited to sit down and have a drink of coffee and a chat with the old man. He treated me with great respect in the same way as I suppose he treated every woman in his life. He was naturally intrigued with the fact that I had entered into the electrical business but didn’t question the fact. He had in fact been an engineer in the communications field and was also a veteran Royal Navy ex-serviceman. He told me that he had a limited knowledge of electrical power systems so preferred leaving it to the specialists, naming myself. I felt as if I had known the man for donkey’s years as he made me feel wanted there, even if it was only to work! Perhaps it was my magnetic personality and good looks (ahem!) that he found attractive. Maybe he was simply looking for some female company for there are plenty of male electricians he could have called. Anyway he had taken a shine to me for reasons best known to himself.

Shirley Anne



Just when I was tired

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It was Monday morning and although I didn’t have to rise early nevertheless I did. I woke up not long after five o’clock but didn’t get out of bed until closer to six. I was washed, dressed and fully made-up before six-thirty and had eaten my breakfast by seven. I very seldom just lie in bed once I am awake. I had a job to do but that was scheduled for ten-thirty so I had to think of things to do before then. One thing I needed to do was to replace the television aerial socket which had become faulty and to re-arrange spaghetti junction behind the television, you know, all the tangled cables supplying the gadgetry. I had also to take down the washing I had hung in the cellar the day before. It was thoroughly dry, one of the advantages of having warm cellar rooms, especially one with the boiler in it where we hang the washing when it is too wet outdoors. It has certainly been wet these last few days. A little pottering about on the computer then it was time to drive to the job, not far away, about three miles. I had to fit a ceiling-mounted fan unit and it took me about two hours. Most of that time was spent just constructing the unit! I was paid and then drove homeward but made a detour to the electrical supplier as I wanted to purchase some materials. I decided to eat at home and had just finished eating my lunch when another call came in. I’d had lunch rather late and it was about three o’clock when the call came in. A woman living not far from where I had been working during the morning asked if I could solve a problem she had with her new shower unit which repeatedly tripped the supply when it was switched on. I was feeling a little tired but decided to go to the job anyway after the woman had told me about the problems she’d had with people trying to help but making matters worse. I examined the shower, a new one that had been fitted by a plumber who also fitted a replacement isolating switch as the old one had been faulty. The circuit breaker at the supply was a little small in capacity to carry the current drawn by the new shower so it needed upgrading. Unfortunately I didn’t have one of the correct size in my van stock so had to drive to the supplier to buy one. When I returned about twenty minutes later I replaced the old breaker with the new one. I also removed the isolating switch outside the bathroom that the plumber had fitted and discovered that one of the wires behind it had been connected to the wrong terminal. That was the source of the fault. However, I had to remove the switch entirely in order to fit an extension ring behind it. This increased the space behind the switch making it a little easier to refit. After testing the circuit I was paid and I drove back home a little more tired than before. So once again, someone had called me to do a job after I had returned home from another job in the same area! Why this woman hadn’t called me earlier or better still the night before so that I could arrange my day better defies logic, especially as she’d had the problem with the shower for days!

In my previous post I talked about having a balustrade installed on the patio walls. No, the above picture is not of my home though I would like the idea, it is just to demonstrate what the balustrade would look like. I want my balustrade to be a half-metre in height, not more than a metre as in the picture above. I received a quotation from the first company via an email but the quote seemed too high for me to consider at around £2850 (supply only). I am in the process of obtaining a quote from another company which hopefully will be a tad lower.

Shirley Anne

Rain, what rain?

We have ‘enjoyed’ wonderful wet weather over the last few days and when it wasn’t raining it was windy. That meant that although the sun might have been shining it was uncomfortable to sit outside unless sheltered from the wind. That is a problem we sometimes face at home when out on the patio when it is windy. There are large gaps between our house and the houses of our neighbours but the larger of the two is the one facing our patio. The gap is only a few degrees south of being due west and the prevailing winds are from that direction. The gap is filled at low-level by a garage, this garage.55We are working to solve the problem so that the effect of the wind is lessened. I hasten to say that it isn’t windy every day and neither does the wind always blow through the gap. Often the high wall shown on the right of the picture shields the patio from the wind. I planted some Laurel on the outside of the patio which faces the garage and once it has grown sufficiently high enough it should cut down the effect of the wind dramatically whilst at the same time make the view more pleasing to the eye. Already that Laurel is approaching a half-metre in height above the little wall, though in this picture taken earlier in the season it is slightly shorter in height. 122It all takes time of course. In the meantime I am considering installing a half-metre high glass balustrade on top of the patio walls which will also help in reducing the effect of the wind. We have a window in the wet room which overlooks the vegetable plot, the area between the patio and the garage, part of which is shown in the picture above. To the left of the gooseberry bushes (on the left-hand-side of the picture) there is no cultivation going on except there are persistent weeds which I keep in check and the area has become more of a dumping ground for gardening odds-and-ends, bags of rubble, roots dug out from the mound project (see last year-June/July posts) some of the rocks we dug out too, though most of those which we haven’t used elsewhere are stored behind the other garage as you can see in the next two pictures.

The Mound 001The Mound 002

Anyway I was looking out of the window early on Sunday afternoon at the vegetable plot and patio and I could also see part of my next-door neighbour’s garden over the wall. She has a couple of very large Leylandii trees which are thankfully remote from the boundary wall. She had many large similar trees cut down last year and this year and her gardens look all the better for it but these two trees remain in her rear garden and the ground beneath them is always dry even when it rains heavily. I was watching some blue-tits darting in and around those trees and occasionally perching on a more open-leafed tree nearby taking not the slightest notice of the heavy rainfall. ‘Rain, what rain’? Is what I imagined they would be saying if they could speak. Rain might be a miserable thing for us to bear (though I am not too bothered by it) but for the birds, some birds, it doesn’t seem to be a problem.

Shirley Anne

I love this tune

Singer, instrumentalist, and composer Enya.
Singer, instrumentalist, and composer Enya. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I so much love this tune but each time I hear it I burst into tears. I came to hear it for the first time when my personal life was in turmoil but at that time I had begun to take steps that would change my life forever. I was emotionally torn to pieces, lost love and companionship, new friends that I so dearly wished to be more in my life but weren’t and feelings of rejection and hurt almost overwhelming me. It was a hard time for me and many of those things still haunt me. Nothing much has really changed in a personal way and I feel so unloved much of the time even now. This tune and some others by Enya were played often but they always brought tears to my eyes, this one in particular. I love the music but dislike what it does to me yet I cannot resist playing it. I hate being sad and lonely but those things are very much a part of my life. I try my best to overcome and be happy and for much of the time I am but forgetting the sad parts is impossible. I guess I am a hopeless romantic. I hope you enjoy the music for what it is, lovely.

Shirley Anne

Barking mad

As The Crow Flies (The Advisory Circle album)
As The Crow Flies (The Advisory Circle album) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I had arranged to do a very small job on Friday morning for a man living in an apartment a mere two hundred metres as the crow flies, from my house but slightly further by road. He had called the evening before explaining that he had purchased a replacement fan unit for an electric heater in his lounge and couldn’t fit it himself. I explained that I no longer undertake work of that nature as a rule, though fires are never usually problematical to repair. I agreed to do it for him, it would be easy money without any hassle. I arrived right on time and had the unit replaced in about ten minutes. He told me that the old fan unit made a noise even when it wasn’t switched on, though I couldn’t hear it. He had paid £85 for the replacement which I hasten to say did not make a noise when it was switched off. I had an idea he had imagined the fault. When I had done the job he told me that the lighting wall switches did not switch off the lights he wanted them to. It was a three-gang switch (three switches on the same plate) and the first two switches were the ones he wanted altering. A simple task which involved swapping two wires and I had it done in a minute. On returning home I asked my son, who had stopped overnight and was about to leave, if he could drop me in the Village so I could visit the bank and the chemist shop (drug store). I walked back home. It had been a dry, humid but dull morning and the forecast was for rain in the afternoon so I decided to mow the lawn. It was just about due for another cut and it was just as well that I did it because we had torrential downpours after lunch. I thought that would be the end of my working week but I received a call later in the afternoon from an elderly lady who was trying to explain that she had lost all power to her power outlets. She apologised for her garbled speech explaining that she had a stroke some years ago which had left her that way. ‘No need to apologise’ I said and I drove there immediately. She had two small dogs that barked incessantly whilst I was there and the smaller of them was very aggressive too. It was all she could do to keep them away from me whilst I was trying to figure out the problem with the power. Why oh why don’t people put their animals in isolation in a room that visitors won’t be going in? Instead of doing that she struggled to keep them quiet and out-of-the-way. In situations like this I have to be very diplomatic and patient but it really drives me mad that people don’t think there is a problem. It is difficult enough trying to work without having to contend with the bad behaviour of pets, especially barking dogs. I asked if there were any power outlets outside and was told there was one out there. When I went outside I noticed a cable clipped to the wall at low-level and it appeared damaged at one point. One of the dogs had chewed it. The dog evidently had been protected by the RCD unit on the power distribution board. I saw that the wires were not severed and in fact only the live conductor was showing bare at one small point. The cable had gotten wet in the downpour and had shorted between the live conductor and the bare earth wire. The earthing conductor within a cable is not insulated. I effected a repair and lifted the cable higher up the wall and clipped it, fitting a cover over that part which had to remain at low-level. I was paid a little extra by the lady who was grateful that I had responded so quickly.

Shirley Anne

What reason?

Stand in front of a mirror and then ask yourself these questions….
What is the reason for my existence?
Why have I been born?
What is the purpose of my life?

No doubt there will be many opinions about these questions and of course many differing answers. I suppose stock answers spoken without much thought will concentrate on the practical and not the spiritual.

The reason for my existence…………….’Just to enjoy myself and the life I have’
Why have I been born?………….’Not sure, it’s a by-product of the birth of the universe
The purpose………………’Don’t know that there is one so I just get on with it’.

If I told you that there is a reason for your existence, your birth and the purpose of it all you would most probably not believe me.
It all depends on what you believe regarding creation and a supreme being, about God.
It is difficult to understand something we cannot see or prove to be true and even more difficult to believe but many do.galaxy13
Just how did the Universe come into being? If we look at pictures of deep space we see literally thousands upon thousands of ‘Island universes’, galaxies we call them, and each one of then is filled with millions upon millions of stars like our Sun, much larger and some much smaller. The human brain cannot grasp the size and distances involved in the vastness of space and there is a limit to how far into space we can see. What lies beyond could be replica universes. Scientists are attempting to discover how everything came into existence but they are stumbling over the physics involved and put forth many theories trying to explain it all. The fact according to what The Bible says is that everything we see came into existence, was made from something that wasn’t previously there! In other words God made it all from nothing. He produced everything simply by speaking it into existence. That is a tremendous stumbling block to the unbeliever who continues to struggle with discovering the un-discoverable. Scientists have reached a dead-end and can only speculate.

Why am I here? What is the purpose of my life? I am here because I am God’s creation just like everything else. I have a purpose and that is to worship my Creator. I don’t worship the created thing but the One who made it all for His good purpose. That is the purpose of my life. How do I go about that? By believing in Him and living as best I can to please Him.

Shirley Anne



All the little ones

I was again sitting at home on Thursday morning when I got a call asking for my services. The house was only three and a half miles distant and the job was simple enough to do. A couple had just moved into their house, they were about my age and asked if I could help. They had a courtesy light outside their front door which flashed on and off constantly, even during the daylight hours and they couldn’t get at the lamp inside to remove it. Another problem was their washing machine which seemingly had stuck on a particular setting and was therefore unusable. I drove there and reset the machine within seconds but the outside light would need a replacement. As neither of them had transport I offered to take one of them to the supplier a couple of miles away to buy a new fitting. The lady of the house opted to go with me. We were back at the house thirty minutes later and I got on with installing the new light. I had an extra job to do which was to install a control switch for the new light as the old light fitting didn’t have one! The job took me to lunchtime and I took the opportunity to dine at my local pub again. I returned home around two o’clock and spent the afternoon there. It is these little jobs that keep me going and I prefer doing them than having to spend hours on end doing larger ones. So what was I going to do during the afternoon? E had gone out shopping and I sat out on the patio for a short time before returning indoors to get a tape measure, pencil and paper. A few days ago I made inquiries about glass balustrades for I was thinking of fitting some on top of the patio walls. I sent off a picture of the patio (the only one I have at the moment which shows the whole patio in the same frame. It was taken during the patio’s construction) and some rough dimensions and I received an estimate to supply the equipment to install myself. 44 They would charge £400 to fit it for me but as the girl told me on the phone in reply to my request, it was very simple and easy to do and I could do it myself. Well I know I can. At that time I told her that I would take some time to consider the estimate. They needed a more accurate description of my requirements before they could manufacture and dispatch the goods. I took some measurements and drew a rough sketch before returning indoors to draw a more presentable diagram………Patio SketchWell it is good enough for their requirements. You wouldn’t perhaps think I have good qualifications as a drafts person would you? I have though. Anyway I had previously sent them a picture of the patio so they can match the drawing to it. I am thinking it would have been easier to send someone to measure the site but then of course the price would be higher. For a half-metre high glass balustrade they originally gave me a price of £2400. I am wondering what the revised estimate will be. It is a lot of money to spend on such a thing I know I think it will be worth it, that’s if I decide to go ahead with the plan.

Shirley Anne

An easier time

Shirley Anne 46I returned to the job on Wednesday morning that I had been called to on Tuesday. I had some difficulty in tracing the fault on the lighting circuit and hadn’t enough time to complete it as I had a previous appointment elsewhere during the afternoon. However, I had managed to isolate the location of the fault and had reinstated the rest of the lighting circuit. After arriving on Wednesday I soon had the fault traced to the bathroom wall extract fan and permanently isolated it from the circuit as a temporary measure after consulting with the householder. He decided not to have the fan replaced for the time being but might consider having it done later. That meant all I had to do was to replace a couple of switches and a light that I had taken down the day before in order to modify it. On my previous visits to the house, on Tuesday and at another time a few years ago I hadn’t met the lady of the house for she had been away from home but on Wednesday she was there. She was fascinated about my being an electrician and we chatted awhile over a coffee just before I left. After the previous day’s events at both addresses I was very glad to have a much easier time for a change. I spent the rest of the day relaxing at home but half expecting a request and offer of work. Wednesday is the day of distribution for the newspaper in which I have my advertisement and this Wednesday happened to be the day I would need to pay for the next thirteen weeks of it being published. I telephoned the office to arrange payment which amounted to £484.38. the amount I have to earn each three-month period at the moment before I can be in profit but even then there are other overheads to pay for! Fortunately I don’t have to work myself into the ground to achieve that and can take some well-earned breaks when necessary, as on Wednesday afternoon.

Shirley Anne