Tag Archives: Electrical work

Montbretia at thirty paces

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Another warm and humid day on Thursday yet I had determined to arise early and do some more work in the garden before it got too warm and sticky. Alas it didn’t work out that way as by the time I had finished breakfast it was already uncomfortable to work in. The repairs to the brickwork I had done on the raised bed the day before was now solid. The job I had in mind this time was to mix some, well quite a bit, of concrete made with granite dust (granno). I wanted to place it along the joints between the paving slabs and the border stones I had placed around the Mound and the west wall flowerbed. When I did the stone border along the long flowerbed a couple of months ago I formed a substantial joint along the whole length in order to prevent gaps appearing either caused by the weather or more likely the activity of ants! Ants have been very active lately along the west wall flowerbed border and also along the front edge of the Mound where they face the lawn and a couple of gaps have appeared along with the tell-tale sign of excavated soil. I’ll say one thing for ants, they certainly work hard. However I had to shelve the idea of doing the work until it gets a little cooler. I was sitting at the computer late morning when I received a call for my services. Someone not far away wanted me to replace a ceiling light. I was happy to do it and off I went. I was back home twenty-five minutes later. I waited a short time before having lunch after which I sat out on the patio for a while. I noticed the ‘bib tap’ (faucet similar to that shown in picture)  was leaking water from the handle yet it was valved-shut.

English: Metal engraved tap (valve) in Fužine ...

Metal engraved tap (valve) in Fužine castles yard, Ljubljana, Slovenia. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The garden hose is usually kept connected to this tap in the rear garden whereas we keep the hose for use in the front garden in one of the garages and connect it to the tap there when we want to use it. The packing seal, usually called the stuffing box, was worn so I used some PTFE (polytetrafluoroethylene) tape to wrap around the stem which effectively cured the leak. Now I was keen to do something else but there was little else to do so I sat it out again on the patio before watering the garden plants. I thought I would sit a while longer outside to relax and enjoy the view but I spotted a montbretia sticking out of the soil on the far side of the garden, about thirty metres away! When you have been digging out montbretia and bluebells for weeks on end (see earlier posts) you get to spot them as soon as they appear. Actually I don’t know how five minutes earlier I hadn’t seen it when watering the plants.

Shirley Anne

It wasn’t enough

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A couple of days ago I unscrewed the top hinge on the lounge door in order to set it back in the door frame. This was because the door was too low at the leading edge and was brushing the carpet as the door was opened or closed. Setting the top hinge back even a tiny amount was enough to raise the door but unfortunately the door still brushed over the carpet. The hinge couldn’t be set back any further however so on Wednesday morning I decided the door had to be removed so that I could plane off some of the wood on the bottom. It took me less than twenty minutes and the door was back on its hinges and no longer brushing the carpet. The old carpet didn’t have the same depth of pile that the new one has so the door wasn’t a problem. Anyway that was the first job for the day. Mid-morning I took a trip to the electrical supply store to purchase a new in-line switch and some flexible lighting cable with which to lengthen the cable supplied with one of the new table lamps I had purchased. The cable supplied on the lamp wasn’t long enough to allow the lamp to sit on the new pillar stand.I had made. Unfortunately the switch that came with the lamp couldn’t be removed except by cutting it free which was why a new switch was required, one that clamped together with screws.

The power outlet is behind the television just over a metre away from the stand. The stand is just that, simply a stand with no access to the inside. It could equally have a vase full of flowers sitting on it instead. By now it was approaching lunchtime and I decided to eat at the pub rather than at home. I had hardly left the house at all over the previous couple of weeks being as I was busy working there. I had walked to the pub and on my return I met my next-door neighbour who was about to keep an appointment with her doctor. She tells me often that she is fed-up with her situation in that she has to go everywhere with an oxygen bottle because of her condition. She has emphysema. I always try to cheer her up and I get her to laugh but I can see she knows her situation is not going to improve. The rest of my day was spent at home and out on the patio. We have been enjoying a lot of wall-to-wall sunshine this past month and it is good to be out in it.

Shirley Anne

Another Monday morning

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It would be another Monday morning spent at home. No electrical work for quite some time now and I am beginning to think that maybe it is time to quit. Actually I hadn’t published my advert for this week so that might explain things though I have turned down quite a number of offers these past few weeks. I am not desperate for the money the work brings me, I can manage without it. So what was I to do for the day? Well during the replacement of the faulty radiator in the small lounge a few days earlier I had to drain down the whole system and as is usual in doing that air gets trapped in the radiators and pipes. I had vented off all the trapped air in the radiators but found the towel rail in the bathroom still problematical. The picture below was taken a couple of years ago soon before the bathroom project would be finished. It shows only the lower section of the tall radiator.

It turned out that I hadn’t vented the radiator completely so that was one of the first jobs for the day. While I was in the bathroom I took the opportunity to clean out the dead flies and moths that had found their way inside the ceiling lights. Before I had made a start on venting out the air in the radiator I gave the base I had made for the stool in the small lounge to stand on another coat of paint. I placed it on top of the boiler in the cellar to dry more quickly, actually anywhere in the boiler room is warm enough as we often hang our washing in there for it to dry.

Next job was to refit the two wall lights in the small lounge after I had cleaned them up. I decided after all not to replace them with new fittings as they match with the ceiling light.

And here are the switches which control the ceiling light, the wall lights and the free-standing lights I might plug into the dedicated outlets, one of which is the new floor standing light.

The switch plate is difficult to see because it blends in with the new decor but if you click on the picture it will be easier to see. Click on all the images to magnify them.

All that and a few other things not listed before lunch at one o’clock. Now what was I to do in the afternoon?

Shirley Anne

 

Just couldn’t resist

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I often talk about putting off doing jobs or part of them until later or the next day. Throughout the time I have been refurbishing and redecorating the small lounge I have relented on my decisions to put things off until later and have done them sooner than I said I would. I simply cannot stand around knowing something needs doing and not doing something about it. As I write this on Thursday evening the small lounge lies empty and ready for the carpet to be laid on Friday morning. All the work that needed to be done to reach this point has been done, even the connection of the new radiator.

In yesterday’s post I said I would leave off connecting the radiator on its right-hand side as that would have meant draining down the system but this morning I just got on with it and drained the system. First of all I removed the radiator from the wall and painted the supporting wood work I had fitted the previous day. While the paint was drying (about a half-hour) I began tidying up the room and then drained the pipes. This radiator is connected at the bottom on both sides and the right side needed cutting back with a small length of pipe added to reach the radiator as the radiator is slightly smaller than the one I removed. When I finally attempted to refill the system nothing happened. The storage water tank at the top of the house had a blockage in the pipe. You have to remember the house is four stories high if you include the cellar so constantly having to climb the stairs is really tiring. Anyway the system filled and it was time to bleed out any air from all the radiators. I have no doubt I will have to pay special attention to the bathroom towel rail which always gives me problems after a drain-down. That will have to wait. So the room is empty as I write….

I managed to assemble the new floor standing lamp and replace the fitted 13 amp plug with a 5 amp plug as the lamp will be plugged into one of the several 5 amp sockets in the room. They are all switched from one of the three switches by the door. This means any lamps plugged into the 5 amp sockets can be switched on entry to the room. The added advantage of this system is the sockets are on a separate circuit breaker from the ceiling and wall-mounted lights. Incidentally at this point in time I haven’t replaced the two wall lights as I am thinking of purchasing new ones to match the floor lamp and maybe a couple of table lamps too. We’ll see.

I drove off to the retail store to purchase three LED bulbs for the floor lamp and a couple of door knobs to fit to the cabinet. Driving back I was praying and thanking God for supplying me in my need, I am always thanking and praising God by the way, and I was thinking out loud that I could do with some electrical work to help fund my projects. Thirty seconds later my phone rang and it was someone asking for my services! I thanked God and drove to the house. Following that small job I went to the pub for lunch. It was three o’clock and I hadn’t eaten since seven. I didn’t want to stand cooking, I’d had enough for one day though I did fit the two door knobs when I returned home later.

Shirley Anne

It started well

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Man putting caulk on baseboard

Man putting caulk on baseboard (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Like most days Tuesday started well enough but the plans I had didn’t fully materialise as I thought they might. The plan was to fill in the gaps in the wood work using the caulk I had bought on Monday. I had been using decorators caulk to fill-in where necessary but I didn’t have enough. So after breakfast I made a start doing that and in fact had it all done in thirty minutes. At this point I was about to begin applying the second coat of gloss paint first of all to the door and door frame and then following on with the window frames, If I had enough time I would paint the picture rail too but I didn’t plan working in the afternoon so the rail might not get done. I made myself a coffee before beginning the painting but I felt a little queasy and sat down for a few minutes.with the coffee. I had a restless night and had found it difficult to get to sleep. It would be around two o’clock before I finally closed my eyes and went to sleep. Too much going on in my mind had made me restless. Though I did sleep it was for only three and a half hours so I suppose I was just too tired. Anyway things improved as I began painting the door frame. After doing the door and door frame  I moved on to the window and managed to get the top section completed before I had a visit from my eldest son, his wife and his daughter who had come to sort out some of their stored items. I made the effort and finished off the top section of the frames but decided to leave the bottom section until Wednesday morning. Just then I received a call from a couple I had worked for quite recently who were having difficulty in replacing two fluorescent light tubes in their under-unit kitchen lighting system. I talked them through the process but they found it impossible to do and asked if I would call there. Their home is eight miles from mine. I agreed to go and when I inspected the fittings they were indeed awkward and stiff making the lamp replacement difficult so it wasn’t a wasted journey. Whilst there I was asked to replace their central heating/hot water control unit and to check out a lighting switch. I removed the old control unit and the guy took it with him and went to purchase an identical replacement while I got on with the other tasks. He wasn’t gone long as they live quite near a supplier and I fitted the new unit he had purchased. By now it was after three o’clock and I had missed lunch so when I drove back to my own town I decided again to eat at the pub. No more work that day and my main hope was for a good night’s sleep so that I could perhaps finish the painting the next day.

Shirley Anne

All at once

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YOU ARE ONE OF 50,000,000 AMERICANS WHO MUST F...

YOU ARE ONE OF 50,000,000 AMERICANS WHO MUST FILL OUT AN INCOME TAX RETURN BY MARCH 15. FILE YOURS EARLY. – NARA – 516201 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There’s an old saying about waiting for a bus, you wait for ages without one arriving then three come all at once! It was like that for me on Thursday, no electrical offers of work then I get three in a row. All very nice of course but I often wonder why it happens. At one address they had been without a bathroom light for four weeks yet they called me in the middle of the day expecting me to drop by then. I did call but it was after I had completed the first job. I asked them why they had waited for so long before calling someone out to fix it. Their answer? They were not that bothered! The problem I had with the work was its timing and consequently I missed having lunch. Even when I had returned home late in the afternoon someone called for my services but that work I scheduled for the following morning. I was looking forward to a relaxing weekend as the weather forecast was for a warm and sunny couple of days. Whether I could put up with doing little was doubtful but I wanted at least to get the opportunity. If I was to do any work it would only be something at home. Thursday marked the beginning of a new financial year in the UK for me and for everyone else as far as the Inland Revenue Service are concerned. It was April 6 the tradition start of the financial year. This means in the weeks ahead I will have to prepare my accounts ready for submitting my tax return form later. Most years I would have already done much of that work by now but this year I have been too busy either doing electrical work, such as I have received, and working in the garden and have been too tired to even think about my tax return. It actually doesn’t take me long these days because my turnover is quite low, well come on I am 71 years old! It is something I seldom look forward to, a reluctant exercise but it is one that unfortunately must be done. Most of the work is in simply collating the information, adding up profits and expenses before filling in the form. Anyway it is the price we pay for being self-employed. Each year I think it will be the last tax return I submit but up till now nothing has changed. Maybe next year? In the meantime I carry on while I still have the inclination.

Shirley Anne

Spreading it about

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With an empty day ahead on Wednesday I decided to get into the garden again and do some work there. It was a dull and breezy morning and wasn’t that warm either but I guess it is still only early Spring. That didn’t matter for I would soon warm up doing the work. My first task was to rake off some of the soil from the ‘corner plot‘, filter it out and take it over to the patio in order to top-up the soil levels in the raised flowerbeds there. This is a picture of the corner plot taken from inside the large greenhouse after it had been raked. The strange clumps beneath the tree on the right are ferns beginning to open up. I love ferns and wished they were evergreen but sadly they are not.

Here is an old picture of the patio showing the three flowerbeds on it taken last year when the artificial turf was being laid upon it and before the Plot at bottom left had been redesigned.

Not only did I rake off the soil for that job but I also spread soil from the corner plot along the length of the long flowerbed to which it is connected……

…….and dug out a few bluebells along the way! One day perhaps there will be no more bluebells. I live in hope. After giving the greenhouse a sweep and putting everything away it was approaching lunchtime. I had thought about dining out again so I changed my clothes with that in mind but first I had to drive to the electrical store to order in another ‘part night’ photo cell. It wasn’t my usual electrical supplier but another who had supplied me with the same item last year when I was installing a lamp-post in the rear garden. We have an identical photo cell controller which switches on the internal porch light at the front of the house. That had become faulty a day or two earlier. When it becomes available I will be informed. I propose to remove the existing unit and wire its replacement to a position at the rear of the house rather than where it is at the front. It should really have been placed there originally as the rear wall faces approximately north. Anyway that job will be done sometime in the days ahead. Having placed the order I drove to my local pub but the parking lot was so full I decided to go somewhere else instead. The place I visited was a couple of miles away and was almost empty. E and I have been there a few times in the past and the food is always excellent. I was able to relax there for an hour or so before driving back to town, stopping off at a fuel station on the way back home. The sun had begun to shine and I made myself a coffee and sat on the patio for a time but it went dull again so I returned indoors. Whilst spreading out the soil along the flowerbed I had dug out a couple of bluebells as I said………but I had missed one! It was to have a seventeen-hour reprieve…………then I would return with fork in hand to remove it.

Shirley Anne

 

Less and less

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This view from the Symbolic Mountain in the ga...

This view from the Symbolic Mountain in the gardens in Cowra, Australia shows many of the typical elements of a Japanese garden. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have reached that stage in life where I am getting less and less bothered if I get electrical work or not. Whilst the work is still available I am now tending to take it but only if I feel like doing so. I have of course to earn enough to cover my expenses if I am to continue. So I have to reach a minimum amount on average each week before I can begin to earn a profit. It is a fine balance because I only take on board the smaller jobs which obviously pay less. Having said that it only takes one job to cover my expenses, anything else is profit. So if I get two jobs I am earning enough to make it worthwhile but usually I do more than two or three jobs each week on average.

Revenues and expenses

Revenues and expenses (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have to say, at this point in time anyway, that I cannot see when it will be that I retire from my electrical work completely, all I do know is that I am taking on board less and less as time goes by. So what does a person do when all interest is lost? If I retired right now I would only have to find another interest to keep me occupied. However, that interest would have to be something which kept me physically active and not just keep me sitting at a desk, at a computer for instance. I have never liked the idea of not being physically active in my working life or even in my home life. I have to be active because that’s who I am. Less and less for me in one respect means more and more in another. I am fortunate in that we have gardens at home as there is always work to be done in them. Over the last couple of years I have been more involved working in the gardens than ever before. Because I am doing less electrical work as time passes by this allows me more time to work in the gardens if I wish. Soon though all work in the gardens will be solely maintenance work as the main construction projects have all been completed. Maintenance is something I am very used to and the work is guaranteed never to end!

Shirley Anne

Stopped again

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Stopped from gardening that is. I had a couple of electrical jobs to do on Tuesday morning (21st) though the first one turned out to be only an advisory visit for which I levied no charge. The work to correct the customer’s problems would be too much for me to do. I have worked for the customer before but only to do small jobs, basically what I advertise I do. As the house wasn’t far away and as I was there only a few minutes I didn’t ask for payment, though it was offered. I drove on to the second job which turned out to be more awkward in its execution than I had expected but it paid well. The house was occupied by an elderly couple and the man, who was 86 years old, was bed-ridden due to a physical deterioration but who was also suffering with dementia. He just lay there in the rear room watching television whilst his wife, a few years younger, did all the running around. She was however in good health which was just as well. My work involved replacing lighting fittings and to check out a loose wall power outlet (as shown above).  The lighting part of the work was the troublesome bit, wall-mounted units, but as usual I managed. The power outlet was supplying the power to the television and to the bed on which the man lay. It powered the vibrating mattress on which he lay. It vibrated to relieve  the pain in his inactive muscles. When I see things like this I am not upset but a little saddened. I realise however that it could happen to any of us. I get annoyed when I see people moaning and groaning about their problems when there are others who are unable to do anything about theirs. I think people who think everything should go their way all of the time are missing the point, at least they are in a position to do something about it if it means so much to them. There are always going to be people worse off than ourselves and we should be grateful for what we have got, especially good health. It was around noon when I drove back home in the glorious sunshine. The day was also very windy however with rain by late afternoon to follow and much the same had been forecast for Wednesday. It would be Friday and Saturday before I could consider working in the garden as those days promised to be dry and sunny. I would be dining out on Thursday with E  together with my youngest brother and his wife. Thursday would be a less favourable day for working in the garden anyway.

Shirley Anne

Gently does it

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So Gently We Go

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.

Shirley Anne

Sometimes

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English: Hurdle Suomi: Estejuoksija ja este

(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.

Shirley Anne

Too busy?

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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.

Shirley Anne

Different

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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.chandelier-201918__340 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. twin-socketThat 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!

Shirley Anne

The annoying thing is……

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Bluebells (Hyacinthoides non-scripta)

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.

Shirley Anne

Coiled spring

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Awake is the New Sleep (2005)

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.

Shirley Anne