So Gently We Go (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
….or as my dad used to say ‘Gently Bently’. Not sure where ‘Bently’ came into it unless he had aspirations of owning the car of the same name. Just a saying I guess. I hadn’t any electrical work for over a week then two jobs came my way on Thursday and Friday. I write this on Thursday morning having returned home after completing the first one. An elderly gentleman of 85 years together with his wife of 82 years had lost power to some of the outlets in the kitchen. Evidently they had employed another electrician whom the gentleman kept referring to as ‘a cowboy’ for he apparently had caused the problem. I wasn’t quite sure the story was true but there was no other explanation. He had been called out to trace the fault but in the process left it in the same condition. I discovered two problems, a disconnected wire in one of the outlets and several loose connections in a box downstairs in the cellar. I corrected the faults and all returned to normal. The work was easy and it had to be as muscles in my legs were still aching. Whilst I was at the house someone called to ask if I could do some installation work. I have recently stopped doing installation work unless it is easy because it can be hard going. In any event I doubt the constant bending down and getting up again would be of much benefit to my legs at the moment. I have decided to take things easy, do far less of the more strenuous work (I have enough of that at home) and when I do work approach it in a ‘Gently Bently’ manner. The work I was to do on Friday morning would be done atop a ladder, exchanging floodlights with new LED ones. I don’t mind working up a ladder as long as it isn’t too high. I find I get nervous now if I climb too high up a ladder. Working on scaffolding isn’t a problem, no matter what the height. As for the garden work I would be forced to leave that alone for the weekend because of the forecast poor weather. At least my muscles would be able to take time out for a while.
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
There are times when you just want to give in and give up and there have been many such times during my life. Sometimes things go very well, even better than expected so when things go wrong it irritates. How we deal with such events is more important. Many would give up at the first hurdle because they haven’t the resilience and will-power to ride the storm as it were. In my occupation as an electrician and for many years as a maintenance engineer it pays to be resilient, it also pays to be inventive and adaptable for sometimes the correct materials are not available to effect a repair or installation. Sometimes it is the equipment itself, poor design is often the case with new equipment and it all makes the execution of the work difficult, in some cases impossible! I went to a house on Tuesday morning to replace four ceiling lights with new ones. In reality there wasn’t anything wrong with the ones already installed though one had the remains of a blown bulb in it. When I arrived I was informed that there were now five to replace accordingly. The new lights were simple enough to install but one of them really tested my patience because it, like all but one of the others, were poorly designed in the part that mattered, the connections to the lamp holder. The terminals had tiny screws to secure the wires and I mean tiny, very tiny, a mere four millimetres in length at most, probably three and that was the thing that spoiled what was otherwise a good lighting unit. The one which gave me the most problems had one of its tiny screws miss-aligned and I had to remove the holder to fix it. The screws required the use of a jeweller’s screwdriver because they were so tiny. These are mains connected fittings so tiny screws were so out-of-place in the design and only served to make connection very difficult. Why oh why design something so difficult to fit when larger screws would have been more appropriate and just as easy to use? This sort of problem should never arise in such a simple thing as a light fitting, it is so unnecessary and ridiculous. Jeweller’s screwdrivers are meant to be used in fine, delicate mechanisms, not electrical light fittings! The fifth unit was of a completely different design and was so easy to install, why? It had been designed properly with large terminals for easy connection of the wiring. That problem with the other lights made the work take much longer than it ought to have done had the design been better.
I had ordered a long LED lighting unit on Friday for a customer in whose house I had been working. My supplier told me it would be delivered to them on Monday morning so I arranged with the customer to install it as soon as it was available. I knew the delivery to the supplier would probably be mid to late morning so in the meantime I continued to work in the ‘Mound’ removing more bluebells. My readers might remember I had done some of the work on Sunday but heavy rain put a stop to it. Monday was a fine and sunny day throughout, ideal for working outside. I had a two-hour slot before I would collect the light unit and install it. Before I could return to the spot where I had left-off digging I saw more bluebells a short distance away which I decided to remove first. Eventually I returned to where I had left-off and removed those I hadn’t been able to on Sunday but in the process I dug out a large amount of stones too, including this slab of natural stone buried deep beneath the surface…
The longest side measures something like half a metre. No doubt there are more like it buried in the Mound. A couple of years ago we removed many large slabs of natural stone, some of which are in the picture above. At that time we dug out enough to make a pathway with stone edging as you can see above (enter ‘Mound’ in the search box to see more pictures). I collected the light unit and went to install it but was asked if I could fit two replacement switches too. Whilst there I received two calls from other customers and did those jobs too. One was for an elderly lady of 97 whose doorbell wasn’t working. She was very sprightly for someone of that age, very independent and insisting she remained living in her own house rather than in a rest home. What a lady! It was three-thirty in the afternoon before I could eat lunch so it was a case of visiting the pub and eating there. I was in no mood for cooking at home. At that hour there were plenty of vacant tables and I was spoilt for choice. I spoke with a couple of guys I know who were standing at the bar before seating myself for lunch, well dinner really as it wasn’t just a snack. I arrived back home around five-thirty satiated but tired…….Tuesday would find me at work again.
I don’t often work on Saturday and even less so on a Sunday and for Sundays only in emergency situations. I mentioned in yesterday’s post that I would be getting the weekend free of work but later in the evening someone called to ask if I would fit a replacement ceiling light. As my van would be in for a service and MOT test on Monday and she wanted the work doing as soon as possible I offered to do it on Saturday morning. It wouldn’t take long for me to do the work and I wouldn’t be doing anything special on Saturday morning anyway. Her house is something like twelve miles away, a nice little journey across country and one that I took slowly as I like to do when I’ve the chance. Sometimes we have to go with the flow so to speak and that is often at a faster pace because of the traffic we have to drive in. There was hardly a soul on the roads in front of me so I could take my time. When the lady had called me it came about in the conversation that I was feeling a little tired after the day’s work digging out bluebells. She asked if she could have some. Well everyone is different so I took a large bag of the said bluebell bulbs with me to give to her. She could have had the lot if she felt so inclined! She told me she wanted to fill the flowerbeds with them and wondered if there would be enough. I had taken a few hundred bulbs to give to her and explained that they would multiply and end up growing everywhere but she wasn’t put off by the fact. It takes all sorts I suppose. Fitting the light was no problem in itself but the house wiring was lacking in length and made connecting difficult. I had to fit a short length of flexible cable to the light before I could install it but that is sometimes the case. It is annoying to me when other electricians leave so little slack in the wiring when they do the installation, a few extra centimetres makes all the difference. I was asked if I could replace a broken wall power outlet up in one of the bedrooms. That was simple enough, a five-minute job which I duly did for her and was soon on my way back home with some extra cash in my purse. Much better than sitting around doing nothing and I get paid too!
Bluebells (Hyacinthoides non-scripta) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
…..almost everything when it comes to digging out bluebells! I had one small job to do on Friday morning in an apartment less than four hundred metres from home. It was a simple job that turned out to be anything but simple in its execution. I had one ceiling light and one wall light to install in a bathroom, a usually straightforward task but it was one of those jobs that seemed to have everything going against me. Now I would normally take less than an hour to do this sort of job but I ended up taking twice that time and it was mostly due to poorly designed units. The lights nevertheless looked nice when lit which according to the customer made it all worthwhile. She didn’t have to install them! Anyway I was back home at eleven o’clock having started the work at nine. Before I had left home to do the job I had seen a few bluebells in the same flowerbed in the front garden which I have worked in quite a few times recently digging out bluebells as they begin to appear. I had enough time to get down to digging out the new arrivals, about fifteen of them in four different places! On my return home I saw one more bluebell but it was in the other flowerbed where I had to remove a Fuchsia a few weeks ago in order to get at the bluebells growing there beneath it. I dug that out with my bare hands then went indoors. Before doing anything else I put on my overalls and boots and went into the rear garden to dig out more bluebells in the flowerbeds again. The other day I had found myself behind the trees and shrubs getting at the many bluebells growing there but I hadn’t completed that work, I returned there to finish it off before finally getting to the ‘Mound’ again to begin, you guessed it, digging out more bluebells. I guess it must have been a little after twelve o’clock when I started on the Mound and it would be four o’clock before I had finished there. The bulbs there were growing profusely despite my having done much filtering there recently. The most annoying things about digging out the bluebells are their numbers and the fact that so many are deep under the surface and often beneath tree roots. I had missed lunch because I was determined to get as many bulbs out of the ground as I could find knowing that it might be many days before I got the opportunity again as rain was forecast. As it turned out I managed to cover the whole Mound before returning indoors. I would get the weekend free from work at least. I would also get Monday free from work too…my van had an appointment at the service station for a service and an MOT test.
Awake is the New Sleep (2005) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
What a crazy day I had on Monday! I went to bed around ten o’clock on Sunday night but didn’t actually begin to sleep until twelve-fifteen. How do I know that? I had made a point of checking the time on my phone, which I use as an alarm too, closed my eyes and didn’t wake up until exactly four hours later. That was it! I couldn’t return to sleep no matter how hard I tried so I gave in and got out of bed. I was sat eating breakfast at five-thirty and fully wide awake. What was I going to do for the next three hours before driving off to my first job of the day? I watched television, went on-line, played guitar (quietly) but was soon bored doing those things. Still, I had to wait, I had no choice. It was eight-twenty as I left the house and I arrived at the job just before nine as arranged. The work involved repairs to a couple of cabinet lights and their wiring. Whoever had installed them had hidden the wiring behind a panel as expected but they had also hidden the transformer and connection box behind the panel too. The problem was that the panel couldn’t be removed without causing a great deal of damage! Crazy or what? I wondered what had been going through the person’s mind when they did the work. Did they think the parts would never go faulty? I ended up rewiring the lights and hiding the wiring in small trunking inside the cabinets that were the bedroom’s built-in furniture. Unfortunately one of the lights needed replacing but none were available close-by. I had to drive back to my own town to fetch one then return and fit it. My coiled-up spring was beginning to unwind and I had another job to do before I could even think about driving homeward. When the work was done it was approaching one-thirty and I was feeling rather hungry having not eaten for eight hours. I drove homeward and paid a visit to my local pub to have a meal there but it was way after two-thirty before it was on the table before me. Nine hours are a long time between meals when one is working. My eyes began to close as I sat at home later writing this. It was only four-thirty in the afternoon and I wondered if I would make it to evening without falling asleep beforehand! As I get older I am finding it difficult to cope with hardly any sleep, not because I need more sleep but because I end up with all those extra hours awake with nothing much to do in them.
Honey (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I had another restless night on Tuesday through to Wednesday broken into three sessions by visits to the little girl’s room as they say. My sleep was very shallow and as is often the case my thoughts were all over the place. I seem to be good at thinking things through when I ought to be sleeping instead. I hastily point out that for the majority of times I do sleep well. I was wondering therefore why it was that I’d had a restless night having worked hard during the day. Very odd but I guess I had more on my mind than I thought I had. There seemed no other reason for my experience. I went to bed in good health but found I had a bit of a sore throat in the morning. Could it be the onset of a cold or even worse, the ‘flu? Having said in a recent post that I generally enjoy good health it proves that these conditions can affect anyone at any time. The sore throat wasn’t severe and didn’t get any worse during the day. In any case I was taking honey to sooth it. I often use honey as a sweetener in coffee which I drink a lot of during the day so I suppose that extra honey helped. My only electrical work for the day was to replace a faulty room thermostat in a house across town so I was back at home around ten o’clock. I wanted to get into the garden though only to dig out the bluebells I had seen the day before, those which had revealed themselves in ground I had already worked weeks before and had obviously missed. There will be more. The morning was fairly damp so I put off doing that until the weather improved as I didn’t wish to aggravate my sore throat or encourage the onset of something worse. I decided to do a little baking so I made a rock cake. I use the singular because I baked the cake in slab form rather than individual cakes. It is an easier method and allows cutting a slice to suit your desire. The rock cake recipe is very similar to that of scones but I think they taste nicer than scones because they are cakes and sweeter. Neither scones nor cakes last long in our household as both E and I love them. She almost never bakes at home these days but she sure eats whatever I bake. Well I was just about to have lunch when I received a call to check a couple of suspected faulty lighting switches in a house two miles away. I put lunch on hold and went to do the work. I was back home a half-hour later. E was eating her lunch and I joined her. As I was parking the van in the garage I noticed there were another two bluebells in one of the front flowerbeds! I had removed quite a number of them only recently. After lunch I put on my gardening clothes and dug them out before returning to the rear garden and digging out more, the ones whose positions I had marked the day before. There were four positions with a number of bluebells in them but the fourth and last position had much more, around thirty of them. How I missed them first time around I cannot say. As I have said, it will be an ongoing task checking for bluebells for yet a while.
I am glad I entered into the electrical trade/business all those years ago. For someone who has an inquisitive mind it is the ideal occupation. People often ask why I took up electrical work and the answer I give is that I wanted to know how things work. It is still the reason even now and it doesn’t stop at electrical things, I am interested in many things and how they work, how they are made and the history behind them too. It is a passion I guess but it helped when I first embarked in my career that I enjoy working with my hands and to be truthful it was essential. There are no such things as poor electricians providing they are prepared to work.
Power to the people!
I am not super rich and never could be unless I had a large business employing many people but that was never an option for me, I simply wasn’t that way inclined. Being self-employed is in itself a driving force though less so for myself these days because I am fortunate to have a two-pension income. My self employment allows me to enjoy that little bit extra without the worry that I would have to struggle on my pensions alone. I could manage on just my pensions and I could even still save something at the end of the month. It isn’t that extra cash that motivates me though, it is the fact that I am still capable of working and I enjoy the work and in meeting people. Of course I no longer work full-time, I have no wish to and probably couldn’t maintain full-time working for very long, even one day doing that is tiring at my age. On Monday morning I changed the bedclothes and washed the soiled sheets in the washing machine before breakfast then an hour later hung them in the boiler room to dry. It is such an advantage having cellars in a house. As I had nothing else planned I was wondering what I could do for the rest of the morning in the garden whilst the weather was dry. I didn’t wish to continue with digging out bluebells in the remaining section of flowerbed that as yet I haven’t touched. I thought there might be one or two popping up in places where I had been clearing them out so I went into the garden to check. I didn’t need to look far and soon found some beginning to show themselves in a couple of places. I spent an hour digging them out before returning indoors. It was now approaching lunchtime so I thought I would prepare a vegetable stew. Using onions, bell peppers, garlic cloves, carrots, sweetcorn, lentils, barley, green beans, pre-cooked diced chicken and seasoning I made enough for three meals.
Washing peppers (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
By now it was 12.15 so I decided to have some for lunch but my phone rang and it was a job offer in the next town. I drove there and did the work which has now led to more work in the weeks ahead. It pays being an electrician if you are prepared to work………
I was determined to get some quality sleep on Friday night so after a day with half-closed eyes or at least feeling that way, I went to bed early and was fast asleep at around nine-thirty. I still woke up a couple of times but my sleep was good and I woke up on Saturday morning very much refreshed. I ate breakfast around nine o’clock and waited until ten before donning my overalls and boots to go into the front garden and get stuck into the bluebell removal in the right-hand flowerbed. When I had redesigned the beds last year I hadn’t been thorough enough in eliminating the bluebells in this particular bed and now I was paying the price. Earlier in January I had actually dug out around a dozen plants but now they were back in number and I had to spend a couple of hours on my knees again digging them out. I guess I removed over a hundred of them. It was whilst I was doing that when my mobile phone rang. Why does it always seem that I get calls when I am doing something in the garden? It was an elderly gentleman asking if I could repair a loose lighting switch. I explained that I was digging out bluebells but that I would call back a little later to arrange to visit him. After another hour I had finished in the garden and gave him a call. I drove to his house which was only a mile and a half away and soon had the switch secured. After receiving payment I drove into and through the town centre and on toward my local pub for a meal. Here is a picture of the side entrance, the one most folk use, taken when they were having some outside work done…Here are the links to view much more about the pub http://fishermens.rest/index.html. and https://www.facebook.com/fishermens.rest/ .The place was full except for a space at the end of the bar, so I sat there. I only wanted a snack, a sandwich so sitting at the bar wasn’t a problem. When the ‘snack’ arrived it came with all the trimmings including chips (French fries) and a salad! I only really wanted a sandwich. Still it was enjoyable. No sooner had I finished eating when tables became vacant as many left the premises. Typical! I was greeted by many folk who hadn’t seen me for quite a while and asking why I hadn’t been to the pub for some time. I didn’t have an excuse except that I hadn’t wished to. I have been correcting that of course having been there several times recently, I shouldn’t neglect going to the only place near to home where I am truly welcomed and missed when not there.
I had a lousy night’s sleep on Thursday to Friday morning, tossing and turning throughout the eight hours I had. I had gone to bed at eight-thirty but didn’t actually nod off until just after nine. I was up and out of bed several times during the night until I decided I’d had enough and rose for the day at five-thirty. I remained in a sleepy state all day long and it was all I could do to stop my eyes closing. I had to go to that job I mentioned in yesterday’s post, no power to the downstairs lighting circuit. It was in the next town over seven miles away and I arrived there before nine o’clock as arranged. It transpired that the problem was a blown fuse and it had supposedly blown because one of the light bulbs on the circuit had blown. The lady’s son had previously rewired the fuse but it blew again. I could not find a fault so had to assume the fuse hadn’t been rewired properly. It can happen that if the fuse wire is too taut or has an indentation or even a loose connection causing an arc that the fuse gives up and blows under any load, especially if a light bulb has short-circuited. I repaired the fuse and all was in order. I was back at home just over an hour later. As the weather forecast was for rain early in the afternoon I decided not to do any work in the garden. I had been thinking of going to the pub for lunch yet again but thought the better of it as there was food in the refrigerator that needed to be used. E would be doing the weekly shopping and restocking the larder so to speak. She had been out all day on Thursday so switched to Friday to do the shopping. She even went out before noon which is a first as she usually goes out after two o’clock, even three o’clock sometimes. I digress. I prepared myself an early lunch because I’d had an early breakfast. When I had eaten I was looking out of the window at the rear garden, just pondering at first but then I went out and trimmed back the dead stalks on some plants so that the already sprouting new foliage could grow. Whilst doing that I noticed three or four bluebell plants growing in the flowerbed that runs in the front of the greenhouses..
…..the one I had worked in late last year where I had fitted the stone edging and repopulated it. I knew there would be some popping up as is the case elsewhere. They were all located in the right-hand half of the bed where there had been a number of bluebells growing before I removed them. Just as I was finishing that small job I was shaken by the sudden loud bang of a large firework being let off followed by three or four more. They were exploding rockets being set off by workmen working at a house two doors away. The new owners have employed builders to renovate the property before they themselves move in, probably in a month or so. The noise was unbearable and I was showered with the debris which floated down over my house and garden and my neighbour’s garden too. I went upstairs and shouted as best as a woman can for them to refrain from setting the fireworks off whilst also telling them that they should be working. The noise abated, they must have heard me. I went to one of the front bedrooms and looked out of the window. I saw a couple of the men chatting and one of them walked past my house on the opposite side of the road towards his vehicle. I drew his attention regarding the fireworks telling him that there are folk in the area who work at night and they would be finding it difficult to sleep because of the noise. At first he tried to deny any knowledge of fireworks. I couldn’t believe his impudence. He apologised after I had told him I would be taking action if their inconsiderate behaviour lasted. It was only a few days ago I had to walk to the house to complain about the very thick smoke from a fire that was affecting several neighbours as well as myself. They had actually poured diesel on the fire to help it burn! Just then my next-door neighbour phoned and was wondering where the noise had been coming from. I went round to see her and explained what I had been obliged to do. She was answering a call from yet another neighbour who wanted to know the source of the noise too. Workmen can be so inconsiderate when there is no-one there supervising operations. Anyway it was around two o’clock and still there was no rain. As I walked up the path alongside this flowerbed I saw something that infuriated me…..
…bluebells! Now this was the second of the two front flowerbeds I had revamped last year and I had thoroughly sifted the soil from one end to the other. I was confident that there wouldn’t be any bluebells left as there are in the other bed where I hadn’t been as fussy. If you magnify the picture you will see a shrub at the far right end of the flowerbed, a Fuchsia which I didn’t disturb when working the bed but did remove some bluebells from beneath it at the time. Now there were bluebells growing deep inside and among the stalks, impossible to remove unless the Fuchsia was taken out too. I was so annoyed but made it my business to remove it there and then. It took some time but eventually I got it out and then it was time to get at those bluebells too. I removed a bucket load of them! I didn’t really wish to lose the Fuchsia but on reflection it is a plant that grows vigorously, producing more and more stalks which get out of hand. For the time being therefore I am going to concentrate on the two front flowerbeds, especially the right-hand one which has many bluebells needing removal…
This is a picture (above) from last year. The rose has since been pruned right down and is going to look far better this year I think. Does it never end?
Three Times (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Although I hadn’t any work scheduled I deliberately arose early on Thursday morning. I’d had a couple of calls on Wednesday neither of which I learned about until late in the day as my phone provider hadn’t forwarded the messages immediately. One of the callers had been a woman I had worked for quite recently but she hadn’t left enough information in the message for me to contact her. I waited in case she might have called the house phone and leave a message there but she didn’t call again until later on Thursday, just after I had finished the first job. The caller at that first location had also called on Wednesday but again didn’t leave enough information and when I called her number on Thursday morning it was constantly engaged. When I did finally get through it was a long time before she answered and I thought she had gone out. She did answer eventually and explained what she wanted. In fact she ended up handing the phone to her husband because she couldn’t explain properly. I had worked at their house some three years ago and must have made a good impression. The work was to replace two flood lights, a three-gang lighting switch (three switches on the same plate) and alter the wiring to enable two lights to operate together. All very simple but it paid well. They want me to return in the near future to do more work. When I had finished it was one-thirty and I had missed lunch. I drove the eight miles back to the second job which was to install an extra power outlet. It didn’t take long but it had added over an hour more without any sustenance. I had to pay a visit to the electrical supplier to replenish stock then on to the filling station for fuel. At last I could eat but it wasn’t going to be at home as it was by then three-thirty, I dined out for the third time in the week at my local pub instead. Then I went home. E had gone out very early at around eight o’clock and didn’t return home until the evening. I was six o’clock and I was just about to enjoy a cup of coffee when someone called the house phone. She lived in the town I had been working in during the morning! Her problem was a faulty downstairs lighting circuit. I would call there on Friday morning to hopefully sort it out. One thing is certain, I will never be short of work if I want it.
Woman wearing silky nylon-stockings (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The job I had ideas of going on to following my work on Thursday I actually did on Friday. I had thought the better of it and decided I didn’t want to work all day as I keep promising myself. As it turned out the work on Friday took longer than I thought it might. It was to install four replacement ceiling fittings and carry out repairs to a wall switch’s fixings. Usually this work I would have completed in say an hour and a half but I was there for twice that time. All four fittings had proved difficult and two of them required alterations before I could install them. Two other things served to prolong the work, one was that the woman in the house wanted to chat too much which proved somewhat of a distraction and she was very meticulous in ensuring that everything and I mean everything had to be covered before I could do anything. I understood why she was being so fussy. She had recently finished decorating the whole house and had new carpets everywhere but not dark-coloured, they were all of a cream colour and would easily stain or show any dirt upon them. When I walked through the front door I immediately removed my shoes even before she spoke. She offered me a pair of slip-on slippers to use but I found them difficult when climbing the step-ladder so I opted to walk about bare-footed except for my nylon stockings. At first I though she was simply protecting her new carpets but it turned out she was protecting everything in the house, the tables and chairs too! I think she was relieved that I was treating her possessions and furnishings with respect as I do in anyone’s house in which I am working. Even so I thought she was being over-protective. When it came to the wall switch I could sense her uneasiness as I began to repair it. The problem was more with the metal box sunk into the plaster and bricks which lacked any fixing screw holes by which the switch is secured. Although the wiring was relatively new (within the last twenty years or so) whoever had done it hadn’t installed a new metal box and the old one dating to around fifty or more years ago could not accommodate a modern switch without a special internal bracket which was missing. Fortunately I could use one of the box’s pre-screwed holes in its base and fix the other side of the switch by drilling the wall alongside the switch box and securing it with a wall plug and screw. The alternative would have been to remove the old box and fit a new one but that would have made a terrible mess of the decorations in the process. Her relieved expression after she had seen my handiwork was priceless. There was not the slightest mess to be seen and her decorations had been left intact. The truth of the matter is she should have had the electrical work done before decorating and laying new carpets. Now she wants me to do other work at a later date. I must be doing something right!
A couple of days ago I went to a house where they had an electrical fault in the main distribution panel and I made a temporary repair allowing a continuity of the supply until the panel could be replaced. Well I went along on Thursday to replace the panel with a metal-clad one incorporating RCD units which the old panel had lacked. The switch-gear, panels and metering where all contained in a neat little cupboard in the hallway and very easy to get into. The replacement panel was slightly wider than the one I was replacing and I thought there may have been a problem installing it. It fitted perfectly in the space as if it had been designed specifically for it. I had to remove the left-hand door before commencing the work but that was simple to do. The most difficult aspect of the job was actually in the removing of the old panel. The new panel took minutes to fit and within an hour or so the whole work was practically finished. The work could not have been easier to do and far easier than I had thought initially. I tend not to take on this sort of work nowadays because they can be fraught with problems, not least of all access. I don’t need the hassle. I have enjoyed my life working as an electrician. I am not sure just how many replacement panels I have installed during my working life but they are many. It makes such a pleasant change to have one so easy to fit. I returned home three hours after leaving it and had the rest of the day to myself though I could have arranged to do another job a mere half-mile from the first. That work I scheduled for Friday morning instead. I am determined to spread out my workload as I had promised myself last year but occasionally failed to do so on occasion. I used to wonder what it would be like to reach this stage in life whereby I can take things easy, now I know.
Sue waiting (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
No work scheduled for Monday morning so I hadn’t set my alarm, instead someone phoned me at 8.30 asking if I could do a job. I guess I wasn’t that far off waking up naturally and perhaps I should have been out of bed by then anyway. As it turned out the caller lived too far away and out of my capture area though the work itself would have been acceptable. I rose from my bed and got dressed. I ate a small breakfast and went into the rear garden to pick up some broken-off twigs and small branches that often fall from the huge lime tree in a neighbour’s garden. It was cold and foggy that early in the day but it soon cleared away. I decided to remain indoors and relax though I could have done more in digging out of bluebells. However what remains of them won’t take long to remove I suppose but I wanted a rest from it. I prepared a light lunch later but just as I was about to eat the first mouthful my mobile phone rang. It was a call from a male customer for whom I had worked a few times in the past though the last time was something like four years ago. His problem was a loss of electricity to most of the house circuits, lighting, power outlets and shower. A few power outlets were not affected as I discovered later when I called there. I finished or rather started to eat my lunch and drove to his house as soon as I had finished eating. The reason some of the outlets were unaffected was due to the fact that they were supplied from another distribution panel. The fault lay in the main panel and specifically inside the main switch. The neutral part of the switch had burned-out inside the switch but the live part was in order. It meant that although all the house circuits that were affected had a live supply to them nothing could work without having a neutral connected too. As an interim measure I had to by-pass the neutral side of the switch. The board was an old one, at least thirty years old, so obtaining a new main switch would prove difficult, if indeed it was possible. I advised the installation of a new board. Having a new board would bring the system up-to-date as well as making it compliant with current fire regulations as the housing would be of metal. The old board had a plastic housing. Of course it would be more expensive to replace the board. I told him there was no need to hurry getting the replacement as my temporary repair would last until he had the funds to hand. As it turned out he asked if I could do the work as soon as possible. That would be on Thursday the same week. I don’t need to wait long before someone calls for my help.
Waiting for the Electrician or Someone Like Him (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Life at work is beginning to return to normal now for me and the work is starting to stream in. I am settling in to the new year after too much rest from the electrical side of my activity. I have been working though…..digging out unwanted plants!’ So far this year I haven’t turned down many requests though there have been a few. They are all small jobs of course , the sort many electrician’s do not take on board unless they happen to be available at the time. Most folk don’t want to wait too long for their work to be carried out and as many electricians are occupied in larger contracts I get to benefit from that. One other thing, or maybe two are that I am a woman and I also have many years experience in my work. I say these things because people who employ me tell me they employ me for those very reasons. Many older women also feel safer having a woman doing the work so I benefit in that way too. There is only one other female electrician as far as I know who operates in the same area and she is often out-of-town on large contracts. I know of only one other female electrician working in the general area but based in another town though I have not met her in person. So work has picked up. I write this on Friday afternoon whilst at the same time watching the inauguration of President Trump, a man I had doubts about when I first knew of his intentions after becoming president. Now I am not so sure about my first feelings. In any event we must allow the man to prove himself. After the ceremony and pomp he will be settling into his new role in the running of the affairs of the United States. I hope he will prove worthy of that role. We will have to wait and see.