I don’t profess to be perfect in anything I undertake but I make a determined effort in that direction. I take pride in my work and I believe I have every right to do so, the results speak for themselves. Yes I make mistakes and have botched up one or two things in the past but I have never left them that way, I make another attempt until I get it right. I always say if a job is worth doing it is worth doing right first time, it is just as easy to do things correctly as it is to do them incorrectly. The added advantage is not having to return to put things right. I have found lately that not everyone I have employed takes the same pride in their work and I suspect have not been competent in the first place.
A few months ago now I had purchased new curtains (drapes) for a room I was refurbishing and redecorating and waited eagerly for them to be fitted once my work had finished. On the appointed day the fitter arrived and began the work. I felt a little apprehensive as I didn’t think he was that competent. My feelings proved to be right for I had to intervene in what he was doing else end up with a shoddy job. It was all to do with the way the curtain rail was affixed to the wooden window surround. With a little help from myself he got the job done to my satisfaction. I should have arranged to fit them myself on reflection. More recently E’s nephew botched up the job I had employed him to do, raising part of the garage roof. It leaked because he hadn’t done it the way I had asked. I expect a builder to know what he is doing and not have to take instruction from me. I am not a builder. He had to return and do it again. When the fitters came to install the new garage door they went at it like a bull at a gate. I noticed the mistakes they were making along the way. It should have been a case of more haste less speed but it wasn’t. Their workmanship left a lot to be desired I have to say and I cringed at some of the work they had done, not enough screws where there should really have been, cables left dangling, no bushing of holes where cables passed through and so on. They weren’t electricians or engineers and it showed. They drilled access holes in the plastic body of the control unit using a drill bit only suitable for drilling wood! The bit ‘tore’ at the plastic which began to split. I wouldn’t mind but they had the proper drill bits for the job! I did some remedial work once they had departed. They were supposed to return to fit an alarm and to finish filling gaps with silicone but after a couple of weeks we had to get in touch with the company to remind them. The company sent another ‘engineer’ who fitted the alarm and filled in with silicone all where it was necessary. When he left I looked more closely at his work. I wasn’t impressed. I had installed a large wooden board to accommodate the fixing of the control equipment but this guy chose to screw the alarm unit to the brick wall above it without using wall plugs! Furthermore he had wired the unit into the main control panel passing the wires beneath the top cover housing the light. In the process he had severed the wires! I moved the alarm down to the board and fixed it there. I had to effect a repair to the wiring and cut a slot in the light cover so the wire would not be severed again. I have no idea why he had chosen to install the alarm as he did nor why he passed the wire beneath the light cover especially as there was plenty of space on the board and easier access to the wiring terminals from beneath the unit. He spoiled what was otherwise a good installation on his behalf.
I must be a machine. It sure feels like that sometimes but although machines never tire this one does! This machine needs rest and sleep, fuel and lubrication just like the mechanical version for even mechanical versions will break down without proper maintenance. As my readers will already know, I am a workhorse, work interests me and I seem to thrive on it. I have been getting plenty of opportunities to prove that recently as we approach Christmas for I never seem to stop. Again I had a couple of jobs to do on Friday. The first one was to check the work done by a lady who had replaced several of her lighting switches and a few power outlets by herself. She hadn’t the confidence in her work but although what she had done wasn’t at fault in itself she had omitted to fit earthing leads to the metal replacements and one or two of the electrical connections were found to be loose. That in itself might have caused the wiring to burn. For a little bit more than the price I levied for putting things right I could have fitted the replacements myself. I admire women and men for that matter, but especially women who will ‘have a go’ as long as they are confident and have the capability. However it is always prudent to have the work checked by a professional just to be on the safe side. Once I finished the work, which took me to noon, I was to visit another house about two miles away to check a suspected fault with a lighting transformer, a device which reduces the voltage at the light to 12 volts for safety reasons where mains voltages (230 volts) would be a hazard for instance in a bathroom. In fact the light was in a bathroom and I knew that because I had replaced the transformer a few months ago. It appeared that the transformer had been making a buzzing sound. Of course I would have replaced the faulty unit at no charge except for a small fee to cover my expenses but the lady called me to say that the fault no longer existed. I find that hard to believe and think perhaps she had been mistaken. It meant I could return home for a relaxing afternoon as was my intention. I prepared and ate lunch and soon after I received a call from a regular customer asking if I could fit a replacement light unit for her. On previous occasions when asked I had been readily available and that had taken her by surprise as she didn’t expect to have the work done immediately. On this occasion in answer to her request I told her I would be there within the hour and she exclaimed ‘Each time I ask you are ready, willing and available’. Well what can I say? Perhaps she just calls me at the appropriate time. After a little ‘jiggery-pokery’ with the house wiring and indeed the wiring in the light itself, I had it up on the ceiling and working but we then noticed, or rather she did, that the wall switch was making a buzzing sound. I removed the switch and discovered it intermittently broke the supply to the light when moved. I replaced it with a new one. She was happy, I was happy and I returned home, this time for the last time in the day. I hadn’t been home very long when, you guessed it, I got another call. This was from another regular customer who was having problems with a fluorescent light unit in her utility room and with one or two air extract fans but agreed that I should call early in the following week. It is Friday as I write this. I will be there on Monday (today). At this point I am wondering how far into the week I will be called upon to do work. In past years I have worked up to and including Christmas Eve. Once I answered a call on Christmas Day to reinstate power to an electric cooker! Well how else would they have cooked the turkey! I didn’t charge for my visit.
I have been feeling so much better today, Saturday, than I have felt all week. It looks like I’ve shaken off whatever it was that ailed me. Now I usually do not work in my capacity as an electrician over the weekend but it hasn’t stopped people calling me to do jobs for them. One call I got was from a middle-aged man who explained that he couldn’t do work that entailed working with his hands, DIY projects and such things as in his own words he was useless. He asked tentatively if I could fit a wall bracket together with the television on his kitchen wall. A straightforward job that only required a drill and some hand tools and would probably take a half-hour or so. I said I would do it for him as he lives less than two miles away from me and I could be back home within the hour. I was back home an hour and ten minutes later with some extra cash in my purse! I wanted to replace some more pipe lagging at home so after lunch I set about doing that. E had gone out for the afternoon and our youngest son who had come over for the weekend had also gone out. I like it when I am left alone to get on with things because I work faster that way. The pipes I wanted to recover I succeeded in doing but what a mess to clean up afterwards! The old insulation was so fragile it crumbled as soon as it was touched and it got everywhere. Whilst it was on the pipes it wasn’t a problem and it did provide a decent level of insulation but it really did want replacing. There is still much left to do but gradually the pipes are beginning to look much better. I may decide to splash out and redo all the pipes, not because all the insulation needs replacing, though much of it does, but it will be better all round if I do it anyway. Whilst I was in the cellar working I received several requests for my services, some even asking if I could work for them that day. Like I said, I don’t work weekends! I have taken on some of the work for the week ahead. The work is there if I want it. Must be approaching Christmas! I am now finished for this week both working for others or for myself at home. Tomorrow is Sunday and I shall be doing nothing whatsoever unless it can be done sitting down on the settee.
Although I have placed my advert on hold for two weeks I am still receiving requests and I seem to be more busy now in my electrical work than I have been recently. The compliments keep coming too so I must be doing something right. A lady called me on Tuesday and she seemed a little under pressure so much so she had difficulty in expressing her need over the phone. She only wanted a couple of little jobs doing but seemed worried about how to get things back to normal. One of those jobs was to replace a bathroom light. She lived ten minutes away through town traffic, about three miles at most. I told her that I would take her to the retail park and help her select a suitable fitting and ten minutes later I was parked outside her house. We went to purchase the fitting and were soon back at the house. She was more relaxed with me in person and I could tell she had problems at home. Her partner had recently suffered a stroke and from what I could tell was giving her a bit of a hard time. Anyway I had the light up in minutes and set about the other task which I soon had remedied. When I presented her with the bill she was overcome with delight and she felt the need to give me a big hug. She wore a big smile as she went to get some money. She couldn’t thank me enough but I was pleased to be of assistance. I got more pleasure in knowing that my services were appreciated and that I had provided complete satisfaction. I enjoy making people happy and fixing their electrical problems more than the remuneration I receive, I feel good inside. This is why I love my work, it is something I am good at and I get satisfaction in serving others. Added to that, it is different every day. I have done many things in my working life as I mentioned a few posts ago and I enjoy the challenges each new task brings, even in my private projects. I don’t think there is much I haven’t tackled throughout my life but as they say if you don’t try you will never know your limitations. I feel sorry for those who endure their work rather than enjoy it. Nothing is impossible except the impossible!
I’ve watched a few talent shows over the years from Britain’s got talent, The Voice and The X Factor and many others and some of the contestants are really quite good. There are those who are not quite as talented as they think they are and there are many more who really are not talented at all. One thing they all have in common though is the desire to do something in their lives and with their lives. They have ambition. Whether they will achieve what their hearts desire or not is irrelevant, they have made the effort and for many that is often enough but for a few it will be just a stepping stone perhaps to greater things. I think it is important to have ambition no matter how small and to have that attitude of mind that says ‘I am capable of greater things’. We none of us know what capabilities we have until we test ourselves and I am not just talking about singing I am talking about anything we might want to do. It may be starting a business or becoming self-employed rather than working for someone else, it may be starting a completely new career or venture, something often dreamed about but never pursued. Being satisfied with the minimum we are capable of to me means being lazy and not living our lives to the fullest. Many of course will be put off by nerves, the fear of failing but until that first step is made you cannot say that you will fail, in fact the opposite might be true. At the very least you will gain confidence in yourself and may even surprise yourself at what you can achieve if you try. When I started going to church I was very much a spectator during the proceedings. I ventured out into working with children because I had the interest but not the experience. I had the inclination but not the drive. I was surprised in my capability to work with children, something not as easy as you might think but I gave it a go and came out on top! That experience led me to learn playing a guitar, something I’d always wanted to do but never got around to doing. I am no professional and I know I could be much better, it takes time and is probably too late now for me to make giant strides but I improve daily. I should have followed my dreams when younger and who knows? I could have been a world-class player by now! The essence of what I am saying is this, if you have a dream, a desire, an ambition, go for it, be a ‘wannabee’ but don’t just be that, actually do it and surprise yourself, you won’t regret it! Don’t let time slip by and leave things until it is too late or you might grow old regretting not having had a go.