Nice lady

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Fluorescent lamp with slim fluorescent light b...

Fluorescent lamp with slim fluorescent light bulb, F8T5, with body (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I found myself working in a house not three-quarters of a mile from home on Tuesday. I have worked in this house on several occasions in the past so I guess I must have been doing something right. Originally there were two living there but the lady’s husband had sadly died around three years ago. She had told me on my last visit probably a year later but I had forgotten. When I asked where her husband was she reminded me that she had told me then. I felt awful for having forgotten but she had an understanding heart. My work was to check out a faulty fluorescent light fitting with a view to repairing it. However when I saw it I had to tell her that Noah had thrown a similar one away! It looked as if it was one of the first ones ever designed, spare parts would definitely not be available and even if they were their cost would probably be more than a replacement modern fitting. It had been painted over so many times that it was difficult to locate the screws holding on the cover. It was a design whereby the base unit containing the electrical equipment was fixed to the ceiling and the cover was fixed beneath it. Modern units though similar have all the components inside a box structure with a simple lid cover to hide them. I wasn’t about to suggest she replaced the light with a modern version but to purchase an LED version which looks identical. In this type there are no components within the unit, it is an empty shell apart from the connector for the house wiring to connect to. The ‘controls’ are all inside the lamp itself and they weigh so little you wouldn’t know. If the unit fails only the lamp itself needs to be replaced, Much easier and cheaper with the added bonus that running the light will be far cheaper too! I drove off to purchase one and returned thirty minutes later. Only one snag threatened the fitting of the replacement and that was the fact that the house lighting installation had no earthing conductor, which meant it had been wired pre-1966 when the then new regulations insisted there be one. It is old and way overdue for a rewire but that would have been impractical for the lady who was in her mid-seventies and living on a pension. I had to locate a suitable earthing point and fortunately there was a power outlet in the room above where I would have to connect to. This was the only recourse possible and although under normal circumstances it would not be done that way it was the only solution available. When and if the house is rewired it will be done differently of course. For so many years the old fitting was in use without the safety of an earthing conductor therefore whoever had installed it was wrong in doing so. The lady was well pleased with the outcome and was chatty with me throughout my visit talking about my house and gardens. She was a keen gardener and very knowledgeable on the subject. She had to visit a cash-point to pay me so I offered to take her as I needed to verify a new debit card anyway that had just been sent to me and to do that I needed to use it in a machine. I had invited her to come to see my house and gardens if she wasn’t too busy or had other plans but she jumped at the chance. On our arrival at my house she could name all the plants I had put there and how to look after each type. We went indoors and I showed her around part of the house and then we went into the cellars and out into the rear garden. Well she was in her element and took delight in the various plants and layout we have worked so hard to make possible. Again she mentioned how to look after the different plants and I think she was well impressed with our achievements. We returned indoors and out to the van. I drove her homeward but she wanted to stop in the village to do some shopping instead. She went shopping and I returned home. A really nice lady.

Shirley Anne

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