Too excitable

Many folk who call upon my services often do so at very awkward times, especially when I am actually out working. They know they want the work doing and most of the time they have been thinking about whether to get the work done or not. That being the case there is no reason to call me during working hours for surely they will know that they are interrupting my work. In fact that is what happens most of the time, I am busy doing something when they call. After struggling with a problem a few days ago I had finally reached the point where I was about to fit something that had been awkward and difficult. My phone rang. I should perhaps ignore the phone but I would lose more work that way. I had to stop what I was doing whilst I answered the call. Why did they not call out of working hours? I am a ‘sole trader‘, not an organisation which has office staff to take my calls and people know this from my advertisement so they should also know I am out at work when they call. Now then, in an emergency situation I can understand people calling me during the day and often I have been able to accommodate them so I don’t mind the calls in those cases. People just do not think. I had a call from a woman one afternoon and she was asking if I could do some work for her. She had moved into a house recently and wanted all kinds of work done, however she was so excitable she spent too long describing her move, the reasons for it and anything else she could think of rather than explaining in simple terms what she wanted me to do. I had to intervene and was then able to make sense of her request. One of the things she wanted doing was to replace a few ceiling lighting fittings but she hadn’t purchased them. I suggested she purchased them first and then call me to fit them so that whilst I was there I could assess the remainder of the work she wanted doing, re-fixing switches, fitting an air extract fan in her bathroom and a couple of other things. She had been trying to tell me all the details over the phone which was totally unnecessary. Once the arrangement was made for me to call later she then told me that her ex-husband was an electrician! She explained that she never had to query anything electrical in the past but was now thinking perhaps she should have.

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More women should take up the sciences and work in the electrical industry I feel. Most women are like her, they don’t want to know until the time comes when they need to. Other women I have met are only too keen to get involved with what I am doing. I could write a book about the people I meet in my working day.

Shirley Anne


Changing it all again

English: Ludlow School. Secondary Modern up to...
English: Ludlow School. Secondary Modern up to 1972, now merged with the Grammar School as the town’s comprehensive. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When I went to school they had a system whereby at aged 11 we could sit what was called an 11+(plus) examination which if you were successful in passing gave you passage to move to a ‘grammar’ school. Grammar schools, which still exist, were considered to be better as they catered for the more bright children in the community and the level of education was supposedly of a higher standard. Should you fail at the 11+ exam another opportunity to move up a level was given in the 13+ exam. This was the exam I passed having failed the earlier one and it allowed me to attend a ‘Technical High’ school where I could take GCE (General Certificate of Education) examinations at the ordinary level, hence they were called GCE ‘O’ levels. If enough ‘O’ levels were obtained then GCE ‘A’ levels could be sat. With enough ‘A’ level achievements one could then go on to have a university education. The whole system was a little cumbersome but the idea was to provide a staged system whereby any student could progress as far as they were capable but still gain a quality education even if they didn’t go the whole way. Unfortunately the system was also considered class distinctive, that is it leaned toward catering for the more elite or capable of society. The government in office in later years introduced a new system called the ‘Comprehensive System‘ which aimed for all children to have an equal opportunity to excel at school and possibly to gain a university education if they so wished where it was less likely before. That I think was a step in the right direction for many bright schoolchildren beforehand were being held back if they could not pass either the 11 or the 13+ examinations. Now they could all have the opportunity for a better education. Of course the education itself had to be raised to a higher level too in order to achieve that. So over the years they experimented with different forms and methods, even changing examinations giving them new names and values. Now there were no GCE’s but GCSE’s and other qualifications. Throughout the last 30 to 40 years the school education system has changed a few times and the examination certificates along with them. They say the certificates achieved are of a higher standard each time they make a change but I rather doubt that.

Currently there are discussions to make further changes to the education system and I wonder just how many changes there will be before they finally get it right.

Shirley Anne


Mr Winkler was a man
Who tinkered often with his van,
Each day he thought of something new
That he could mend or fix or do.
And then one day he went too far
He tinkered with his brand new car,
A loose connection he had caused
Which left some petrol on the floor,
A sudden spark, a mighty roar,
Now Mr Winkler is no more.

Copyright Shirley Anne 12 March 03

English: Homebase DIY store, Tunbridge Wells
English: Homebase DIY store, Tunbridge Wells (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I don’t know about you but I have many times been involved with DIY (Do it yourself) and I am sure there are many like me in the world. As a person familiar with using my hands at work, out of necessity for the job but also out of a satisfaction that the completed work was down to my capabilities. Of course there is another reason for becoming a DIY fanatic  and that is the financial savings to be made in doing things yourself. We all think we can do jobs around the house and indeed we are often capable of many things if we put our minds to it. Some tasks are easy to do for those who make the effort and with a little knowledge much more can be achieved. There are areas that the layperson should steer clear of though, specialist works such as electrical installations, plumbing and gas fitting for instance. These areas of expertise are controlled by regulations and safe working practices and should only be attempted if one understands the requirements, for their own safety and the safety of those who will use the equipment. I have been to many establishments where work has been undertaken by unqualified people, usually the home owner! A little knowledge is a dangerous thing and even if a person knows something of the theory they often fall short on the practical application. Most people know how to ‘change a plug’ but how many know the correct way to do even that mall task? Changing switches is one thing but anything further than that needs a proper understanding and capability to do the work. That’s not to say that everyone is incapable if they’ve not had the formal education and the experience but nevertheless extreme caution should be taken by the unqualified if such work is carried out. Inspections by qualified persons along the way and at each stage will ensure a quality job well done. Don’t be a ‘Mr Winkler’ who tinkered with something he shouldn’t have without the proper knowledge.

Shirley Anne

Misunderstanding ‘saints’

The funeral cortege of Edward the Confessor, f...
The funeral cortege of Edward the Confessor, from the Bayeux Tapestry (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was watching a ‘Time Team‘ special program about Westminster Abbey in London, the seat of English royalty and national power. In the program, dedicated to the history of the Abbey and to its recent refurbishment, they spoke about the king who for many years was considered the patron saint of England until George became so. His name was Edward. For more about Edward the Confessor see here . Edward had supposedly lead an upright and godly life and according to some historians was instrumental in the healing of certain people with ailments during his lifetime. He was subsequently ‘canonised’ by one of the early Popes which elevated him to the status of a ‘Saint’. You might say that he was a ‘celebrity’ of his day but one that could perform miracles or rather, miracles were performed through him. The thing is this, no man can be made a ‘Saint’ by another man, even if that man is the Pope. In fact there is no such thing as a ‘Saint’ (with a capital S). ‘Sainthood’, as a special honour or privilege is a man-made idea for in God‘s eyes we are all equal, there is no hierarchy. Those who venerate and bow to these so-called ‘Saints’ are in grave danger of idolatry for they are/were only human beings. Yes, they were used by God but have/had no special recognition other than their obedience to Him. When we read Scripture we see Paul using the term ‘saint’ (with a lower-case ‘s’) when he addresses the early Christian believers or converts in the various places around the eastern Mediterranean such as Rome, Corinth, Ephesus, Colossae , Philippi and other places. He calls them ‘saints’ because that is the term used for Christian believers. In other words if one is a Christian one is automatically a ‘saint’. When Jesus walked this Earth he performed many miracles and these are recorded in other places outside of Scripture too. Jesus told his followers that they too could and would perform miraculous things when he had departed but he wasn’t just referring to the followers of the day but to all who follow him even now. Any Christian is capable of performing miracles, that is allowing God to perform miracles through them. It takes a lot of faith and trust in God for that to happen and also a calling to do so. I as a Christian could be used in this way IF God wants to use me for that purpose. Not every Christian is used in this way but all have ‘gifts’ from God, the gift of healing is just one of those gifts. The point I am making is that there are no special saints at all for all those who believe in God and are followers of Christ are saints! The Catholic Church is probably responsible for the popularity of ‘Sainthood’ as being something special above other believers when in fact that is not true. God does not have Saints but only saints. Generations of traditionalism have drawn people away from the truth of Scripture and even a proper belief in God. Because we are told things it doesn’t mean they are always true. Read The Bible and see what is the truth and what is not. You won’t see any reference to ‘Saints’ in there but only saints. As saints though we should aspire to greater things in God’s service.

Shirley Anne

There’s a lot of it about!

Previous logo of BBC Radio 4 until 2007
Image via Wikipedia

When I am out in my little van driving off to the great beyond doing my electrical thing I have the radio switched on. Nothing new in that is there? I generally go through phases when it comes down to which station I tune into, it switches from Classic FM to Jazz FM, from Radio 1 or 2 to Radio 4 but whichever station I select it remains that one for a long time. Presently it is Radio 4 which for those who don’t know is a magazine style station. That means it has music and news, interviews and plays, a mixture and variety of things which I like. Driving to work on Tuesday I switched on to a program that had already started, an interview and I got that interested in it I pulled over before reaching my goal and listened to it until it finished about twenty minutes later. It didn’t interfere with my appointment as it finished just before I was scheduled to be there. The interviewer was talking to a woman. At first I couldn’t make out what the interview was about but it soon dawned on me that the woman was a transgendered person and was talking about her journey and how it affected those around her, not least of all her wife, children and family. Throughout the interview she was treated with the greatest respect and the whole interview was positive and encouraging for those, who like her, were going through the same trials and of course the public in general. She talked about her early years and the fact that she knew something was wrong with her assigned gender. She talked about her youth and how she didn’t fit in with her peers, how she met her wife and came out to her before they got married. Her wife was totally accepting. From what I heard I couldn’t make out if she was transvestite or non-op transgendered, not that makes any difference but I was curious. She seemed to indicate that having the operation was an option she was considering but I wasn’t certain about that. In any event the program ended so I will never know. The point I am making is not really about the details of the program but the fact that the subject was being discussed at all. With Cannel 4’s latest program ‘My Transsexual Summer’ and now this one on Radio 4, which admittedly was not a series, there seems to be an increased interest in transgender issues. Hopefully this will lead to a better understanding for those who know little about the subject and as long as the programs are conducted in a civilised, informative way without any hint of derision it should prove beneficial for all who have gender issues .

Notice the similarity in the colours of the old (2007) Radio 4 logo above and the one for the Transgender Portal below…….

A portal icon for Portal:Transgender, based on...
Image via Wikipedia

Shirley Anne