Tag Archives: Electrical work

Back to it for a time

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Having recently purchased an Elliptical Cross Trainer there was a need to install a power outlet close to where I intended to locate it, (read yesterdays post). It was Monday morning and I had spent some time on the treadmill before eating breakfast during which time I planned how I was going to install the outlet. After returning upstairs to dress for the day my fist task was to check the cellar’s socket outlet circuit and decide where to break into it. There are regulations to observe of course so simply taking a supply from the nearest outlet is not always possible. There exists an outlet close-by but on the other side of the wall to the where the proposed new one was to be fitted. However because of the regulations I had to take the supply from elsewhere. The next-nearest place was another outlet four metres away. I took a supply from that one. The work itself took a mere forty minutes but I was down in the cellar for three hours! It was all about access and the removal of items no longer wanted causing the work to take so long. While I was carrying out the work I received a call from an old customer asking if I could repair her faulty lights but I had to tell her that I am now retired from my electrical work.  Not however at home! A few days ago  I talked about accumulated waste materials, items of furniture and other paraphernalia stored in the cellar rooms and no longer needed. The two rooms in which I was carrying out the work had plenty of such items. So the work was two-fold, carry out the new installation and remove and tidy up the areas. While I was downstairs I made use of the washing machine too for there were clothes needing to be washed. It is amazing how sidetracked one can be when carrying out a task. I expected that of course, especially working in the cellar. Slowly but surely waste was removed and gardening items like plant pots and other things taken to the greenhouses where they should have been in the first place. Our eldest son used to do a spot of DJ work and was also involved with the church’s audio and sound systems. Consequently he accumulated large speakers, lighting equipment, amplifiers and mixing desks with enough cabling to surround a village! All of this equipment is stored in the cellar and some of it in the boiler room where we now have the gym equipment. That had to be moved too. This is why I spent three hours down there. Finally I got the power outlet installed and ready for use just before lunch. Electrical work it seems is still part of my life for a while.

Shirley Anne

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Coincidence

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Dishwasher, open and loaded with dishes

Dishwasher, open and loaded with dishes (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A week or so ago I went next door to disconnect a dishwasher for my neighbour who was having a new one delivered and didn’t want to pay for the disconnection of the old one. I obliged and did the job for her though she employed someone else to install the new one at my request. I could foresee likely problems because of the layout of her services and advised the services of her plumber. All went well apparently and her new dishwasher is working fine. On Monday last week E informed me that she was having problems with our dishwasher. First of all it went into an alarm status which according to E was soon dealt with by switching the machine off and then starting it again. It evidently hadn’t worked and we were at a loss as to what the fault might be. Basically it wasn’t filling with water and E asked if I could check it out. Although I have never serviced or repaired dishwashers I was prepared to check the basics. As with most modern equipment they are not readily serviceable unless by a service engineer who is familiar with the operation. Naturally I was keen to see if there was anything I could do in searching out the fault so I gave it a go. A number of months ago I ended up servicing a fridge-freezer at home because the service engineer hadn’t solved the problem we had with the unit. On that occasion I was successful in locating and correcting the problem but this time I wasn’t even sure I could easily gain access to any tangible electrical or mechanical components if at all. I was right in that assumption, everything was well-hidden behind panels which had no obvious signs on how to remove them. First thing was to establish that the water supply to the machine was in order which it was, though that investigation led me to discover a problem with the manual water supply valve. It was jammed in the open position and I had to turn off the water supply to the house before I could check it out. I did that later but first I removed a couple of small panels on the machine in order to get at the inlet valve on the dishwasher. These valves are electrically operated (solenoid valves) and control the water flow into the machine. The valve was not electrically faulty but I wasn’t able to check for a mechanical fault. It appeared to me that the neutral supply to the valve was not there and if so the fault would lie further inside the machine. It was decision-making time. Should I make the attempt to strip down the machine, remembering I had no way of knowing the best way to approach it or if on getting inside I would be able to locate the fault anyway? If we called for the services of an engineer the cost would be high and if a fault was found it would cost money for any replacement parts and the time to fit them. Was the machine worth repairing as it was over fifteen years old? Probably not, so we opted to disconnect it permanently and purchase a new machine. As I don’t use the dishwasher, or haven’t bothered using it in the past I let E choose which model to purchase. We went on-line and purchased a new one which hopefully will be in use as you read this. I removed the manual valve to clean it out but I thought I might have to replace it instead.

Shirley Anne

Busy little bee

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So what was I going to do on Monday? It was only a matter of a few months ago when I would be off somewhere doing an electrical job on a Monday morning. Now I can please myself but I have set myself a routine nevertheless, a routine to keep me in good health through exercising. Although I did exercise beforehand I had to fit that in between my work schedules, now it is the other way round, I exercise first then do whatever needs doing later. After getting dressed in my sport’s clothes I spent thirty minutes on the treadmill which I now do every second day and occasionally on other days. Likewise, if  I take a long walk, which I do also every second day, I still take short walks on other days too sometimes. I almost never take a long walk if I have spent time rigorously working out on the treadmill. The plan on Monday was to use the treadmill and perhaps take a short walk in the afternoon but things didn’t quite work out that way. Having changed into normal clothing for the rest of the day I decided to remove a faulty floodlight on the rear wall of the house and replace it with another further along the wall which too often was affected by the operation of the house boiler. Although it was distant from the exhaust of the boiler it would still be triggered to switch on sometimes so I thought it best to remove it altogether. There are still four remaining floodlights on the rear of the house which is adequate. I used an old ladder to do the work of removing the good floodlight but used one section of a much lighter aluminium ladder to do the rest of the work. The first ladder, which is constructed of galvanised steel, was far too heavy a ladder for general use and I wanted to be rid of it. I did that just after lunch. Another section of the same ladder is still hanging in the garage (see picture, it has yellow and white industrial bags stored on it)  and I will get rid of that next time I visit the tip. When the electrical work was finished I got the hacksaw and chopped the steel ladder into two pieces so that it would fit on top of the van. I fixed them to the roof rack and then filled the van with other items we were getting rid of, a gents bicycle (in good condition), an exercise bike (faulty), an old computer screen, two printers, an old electric drill and the tray from my neighbour’s faulty dishwasher. I took the gents cycle to The Salvation Army as it deserved a new owner being as it was in good condition. They took it from me.

A dishwasher containing clean dishes

A dishwasher containing clean dishes (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was about to go indoors for lunch when my neighbour called and asked if I could disconnect her faulty dishwasher as she was getting a new one later in the week. I was dressed in my overalls so took the opportunity to do the job then. It took me ages to remove the old washer from beneath the worktop as she had an old carpet on the floor which couldn’t be removed. Finally I got it out and removed the cable, the drain hose and the water supply pipe. However the valve controlling the supply water was faulty and I had to replace it temporarily so the water supply to the house could be maintained. She would use a plumber to install the new appliance. I took the faulty machine outside ready for collection but I wanted to see if parts of the tray could be used as spares for our own dishwasher. Unfortunately they couldn’t so that’s how it ended up in the back of my van ready for the tip. By the time I had returned from disposing the items it was approaching four in the afternoon. I’d had enough for one day.

Shirley Anne

Sore bottom and stuff

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It all seemed to happen at once on Thursday morning. I had retired to bed early on Wednesday night and was fast asleep by ten o’clock. Aside from being a little tired anyway I wanted to arise early in the morning so I could go into the cellar and exercise before breakfast. My new bike stand had arrived the previous afternoon and I wanted to see if it had been worth purchasing so it was the first piece of equipment I used. I didn’t spend too long peddling away and getting nowhere as the equipment intended and the main reason for that was I got a sore bottom after ten minutes. The problem lies with the seat. It is too hard on my nether regions so I either need to purchase something softer or modify it for comfort’s sake. Next I moved to the treadmill and spent thirty minutes working out on it. By the time I had finished my exercise routine E had come down for breakfast and she wanted to see the bike stand as she hadn’t taken a look the previous day. I ate breakfast and we both went downstairs to discuss things regarding the equipment we now have down there. E never used the treadmill until recently after years of my attempting to persuade her but now she has taken tentative steps to change that. It is her condition, spina-bifida, which has made it difficult for her to exercise but she is beginning to see the effort makes it worthwhile. She now spends a little time walking on the treadmill when she has the time. As for the bicycle, I doubt she will find that easy for at the moment she wouldn’t be able to get on it, even I find it difficult! We may have to manufacture or purchase a set of steps to make it easier to get on the bike. I went upstairs for a shower and to get dressed for the day. It was time to cast my vote in the local elections so I put on my walking boots and coat. After voting I decided I would go for a walk. While out on the walk I received a call from a guy who had asked me to do a small electrical job for him. He had called a few days earlier but had to cancel at that time. I arranged to go to his house as soon as my walk was over. I drove there at noon and was back home within the hour a little better off financially. When I arrived home the guy we were waiting for to complete the garage door installation was there and had begun work. The work was superficial, fitting the free  alarm we had been promised after we had purchased an extra nine years of guarantee cover and to fill in some gaps with silicone rubber. He was finished by one-thirty. After lunch E went shopping and I spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing.

Shirley Anne

Wet Saturday

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On Friday morning I had a chance to sleep in until ten o’clock but was awakened by a phone call asking me to do a small electrical job. It was from an elderly couple for whom I had worked before and they insisted they would call me in preference before anyone else. He is a little senile and set in his ways whilst she had a stroke a few years ago which left her in difficulties with her speech. She couldn’t phone because of that and he seemed not to notice that I was trying to tell him I had retired as he kept on talking about the electrical problem. They live around three miles from me so how could I refuse to help? I dressed and went there immediately. As is sometimes the case with older folk they worry about potential electrical faults. As it happened there wasn’t a fault at all. What had happened was he had placed a piece of half-toasted bread into the toaster but somehow had wedged it in between the metal guide and the elements consequently short-circuiting the toaster.

English: Two slices of electrically toasted wh...

Two slices of electrically toasted white bread (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

That had caused the RCD to trip which cut the supply to other circuits too. He had already corrected the fault himself but it appeared he wanted to be sure. As E and I wanted to go shopping in the afternoon I missed the opportunity to go for a walk. I didn’t wish the same thing to happen on Saturday. I arose early on Saturday for two reasons, first of all I had to go and collect my medications and secondly, I hardly slept at all during the night so was awake anyway. It was a dull morning and threatening to rain, in fact that had been the forecast as we were expecting the tail-end of yet another storm to head our way. Again, although we were at the fringes where I live it got very wet and windy throughout the afternoon and evening. I wanted to go for a walk and fortunately was able to in the morning before the rain fell in earnest though it did rain for about twenty minutes while I was out. After lunch E went to her monthly meeting and I was left at home to hang out the washing, indoors of course for the rain was belting down!

 

I had managed to do a spot of clearing up of moss on the ‘secret garden’ flagstones and pathway as it was getting out of hand (compare to photo in yesterday’s post). Soon after the rain began to fall. With nothing better to do I spent a half-hour on the treadmill working out.

Shirley Anne

Just right?

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After a recent bout of rain we noticed there was a leak in the new raised portion of the garage roof, that is the garage in which I park my van. E’s nephew, a builder, had done the original work and he called back a couple of days after we had informed him of the problem. However, the weather wasn’t particularly good at that time so he put off the repair until Friday last week when it was pleasantly warm outdoors. He cut away the fibreglass covering which had by then set hard as expected but hadn’t adhered to the wood-based sheet beneath it. Water had somehow gotten beneath the covering and leaked onto the floor of the garage. This time he produced a different compound/fibreglass mix which was presumably superior. I asked him how long it would take to dry out and he told me a few days. What he meant was that as soon as it was applied it became waterproof almost immediately but it would take a few days more in which to cure. I hoped he was right, he wouldn’t be happy to have to do the work again. The finished work looks good though, just right in fact. Here is a picture of the area after the grey covering was replaced.  Whilst they were doing that work I took the opportunity to shorten the excessively long electrical supply cable to the new door control panel and to tidy up some of the other wiring by using mini-trunking. Now that looks a lot better also. At the time of writing we still haven’t heard from the installers of the garage doors who were to return to install the door alarm system. We are hoping it will have been done by the time this post is published. I can now plan out how I am going to install the circuit to control the main garage light when the door is opened at night. I had to remove the existing circuit I had installed which was operated by the old door. I will carry out the work when I get time.
Earlier in the day I had been working in the rear garden tidying and sweeping up yet more fallen leaves. Already the two bins are again full to the brim though the leaves will compact allowing more to fit in later. Many of the trees still have their leaves and probably won’t lose them yet awhile, maybe by the end of the month. Our apple trees still have their leaves and the only four apples growing on them this year. In fact those four apples are all on the same tree, the largest tree has none. Must be something to do with pruning and the unusual weather we have had this year.

Shirley Anne

A little sad

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For the past year or two I have hinted at finally hanging up my electrical tools and retiring. In April this year, in fact at the beginning of the financial year and the same point from which I kept my books, I made the decision to cease work as an electrician. This November I shall be 72 years of age and although I am still perfectly capable of continuing, albeit in a very much reduced capacity, I told myself enough is enough. I needed to discipline myself and take the plunge. It wasn’t about the money, for me it was about the prospect of not having something to occupy my time if I did retire. I have to say now six months on that those fears were definitely unfounded, I have had plenty to do as my posts testify, in fact I don’t know how beforehand I managed to find the time to do anything at home whilst working as an electrician. Yes, I did find the time of course but had little spare time for myself as a consequence. Even that wasn’t a problem because I run on having a workload. Again, I have had to discipline myself to get used to more free time but now that I have done that I am happy I did. It is a little sad to have given up the electrical work though. No doubt there will still be some of that to do at home and in fact I have done some during the last six months already. On Friday morning after weeks of procrastination I finally decided to empty out the van leaving just a small toolbox for emergencies. I have always carried some tools in the vehicles I have owned. Here is the van before I emptied the stock..

And afterward…

And here is what was removed..As well as these….

I also removed reels of cable, trunking, plaster and other sundry items like drills and ladders. Those blue boxes contain switches, power outlets, mounting boxes, lighting fittings and a host of other things typically used in electrical installations. The van will be much relieved at the loss of all that weight! I was worn out carrying it all into the cellar!

Shirley Anne

 

Extra work

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After E’s nephew and his crew had finished their work on the garage roof alterations I finally got the opportunity to finish the electrical work on Friday morning. The task was to wire-in the new power outlet from the existing circuit in the garage but before I could do that I had to remove some now unnecessary lighting cabling and tidy up what remained. In the picture below all that work took place at ceiling height on the left above the ladders and scaffolding stored there and toward the door out of sight on the left. It would have taken far too long to shift everything to gain better access but the ladders and scaffolding were actually a benefit as I could climb them to reach the ceiling!

Once that was done I set about fitting a little extra support beneath one of the timbers. In the next picture it is the piece on the left flat against the wall at ceiling height. Let me explain. When the garage was built not all of the joists had been inserted into the house wall (the wall in the picture). Some had been supported by another joist which had been secured between two that went into the wall. It sounds complicated but in essence some of the joists could not be inserted in the wall where there is chimney stacks, and there are two of those along the length of the house wall.  

In the picture above two of the three joists had been inserted into the wall whilst the middle was supported by the timber lying flat on the wall. The left-hand joist of the two which were inserted into the wall had to be cut and removed.  It ran alongside the steel beam you can see top left. Now that short piece of timber on the wall was only secured to the outer timbers. Although the nails are intact and still in place the timber had been moved and it left a gap as you can see. My task was to fit a short length of timber to the wall beneath it thus giving more support (not shown in the picture).  It probably would be fine without it but I never take chances when it comes to structural integrity. At the opposite end of the now removed joist the crew had kindly left the hole unfilled. In the picture below it is immediately adjacent to the steel beam (top right).

It was awkward to get at and it needed much filling. I used a fine concrete mix and a brick. When bricklayers build double-thickness garden walls, which in fact the wall in the picture above is, they never bother to fill the gaps fully between the two bricks. Saving mortar I guess. The wall we reckon is as old as the house (1877). Later in the day I went to the top of the house to see E who was busy in her workshop  and I looked again at the roof…

…and noticed something that needs attention. In the picture above on the far side of the roof the top of the wall can be seen and it was capped with a layer of mortar when the garage roof had been constructed. Some of that mortar needs to be replaced, about one-third of it toward the front at the right-hand-side. When the weather permits I will do that work myself but I won’t be using just mortar, I will use a fine concrete mix instead, it is much stronger and less prone to cracking in the heat of the sun.

Shirley Anne

I did and…

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In contrast to yesterday’s post I said I would get on with the electrical work and I did. It was a slow start for me on Tuesday as I began the work at ten-thirty. There were several things I had to do before I could make any progress on diverting the supply to the existing power outlets in the garage. This garage we erected in 1989 about a year after we had moved in, maybe less, and the wiring for a light and a twin power outlet was taken from the basement house wiring. I rewired the house in 1988/9. Different electrical regulations were in force at that time so the wiring was compliant to those regulations. Since those days the garage supply, though still wired the same way, was brought under the protection of circuit breakers and RCD units by myself. Added to that I had installed two outdoor electrical supplies each fed from a dedicated RCD unit and circuit breakers. One was fitted in the boiler room and the other was installed in the other garage. The board provides the supply for that garage and for the other circuits at that end of the garden, the patio for instance. The unit in the boiler room supplies a couple of power outlets and some lights at the opposite end of the garden behind the first garage. For a time I connected the power outlets in the first garage (the one in which my van is parked and the subject of this post) to the same RCD unit. Today, Tuesday as I write this, I have removed the supply to the outlets and re-supplied them from one of the house distribution boards instead as there was a spare circuit breaker I could dedicate for them. Ideally I could have installed a small RCD board we call here a ‘garage unit’ in the garage itself but because there is the same protection wiring it the way I have I chose not to use one. It would be an unnecessary expenditure. Most of the electrical work was therefore carried out in the cellar (basement) rooms as I had to run a cable to the main supply units through those rooms. Having done that work I ran out of cable to actually wire for a new outlet near to the garage door. I would have to do that small job another day, probably Wednesday after I purchase the cable. This is the board I fitted before doing the rest of the work….

The lighting switch was originally directly on the brick wall. The new power outlet beneath it is the new one waiting to be wired into the existing circuit. I had to do a lot of cleaning and clearing out of rubbish as well as moving some things to the other end of the garage in readiness for the new door to be installed in a couple of weeks time. Here are some pics of the existing door mechanisms. The motor in the top picture pulls a loop of chain similar to those on bicycles which is attached to the top of the door..

The tracks in which the doors wheels run can be seen with the huge springs and their pullies above them. Click on pictures to magnify. The ladder in the last picture has been there for many years and has never been used. It was left by someone but nobody can remember who! It could be used but we have other ladders which are in better condition. You can see in the last picture the old garage door post with the cream-coloured painted top which was left as am extra support for the wall when the garage was constructed around it.

Shirley Anne

 

Electrical

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I just cannot get away from electrical work since declaring my retirement in April but at least it is now usually only for E and myself at home. A few days ago I received the new garden lights I had ordered over the Internet so I decided to fit them on Friday morning whilst we still had fair weather. The last few days of Autumn have turned dull with hardly any sunshine to speak of but at least it has been warm. I had promised myself I would replace the two light units years ago but as usual that took itself to the back of the queue. 

I think I need to give the cables a coat of paint to help disguise them. There is little else that can be done with surface wiring is there especially as the wall is a solid two-bricks thick one built in the mid-eighteen-seventies! When I took the pictures we hadn’t as yet purchased the lamps so E and I went out shopping again, though not only for lamps! The lights are switched locally on the patio but I have been considering remote control to allow them to be switched on and off from the house. In the meantime we purchased LED lamps which are remotely controlled but only from a maximum distance of five metres. The house is further away. For fun we purchased lamps that change colour either automatically or manually using the control unit. They can also be dimmed though at only three watts apiece that function seems pointless. The colours cover the whole spectrum but can be set at any point. A separate switch leaves them white for normal use. Having done that work instead of getting out the hoe to annoy the weeds in the borders as I was going to do I now have to do that on Saturday……as long as it doesn’t rain.

Shirley Anne

Enshrined on a board

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Another day of two halves in a few ways. That was Friday last week. I was determined to stay in bed just that little bit longer and got my wish. It was after ten o’clock therefore before I got downstairs. I missed breakfast which is quickly becoming a normal thing lately. That I don’t mind and it benefits me too by helping me to curb my eating, not that I eat too much but the pounds are so easy to pile on aren’t they? I ate a banana for a little sustenance before taking a short walk. E smiled whilst remarking that as she knows me only too well that short walk would most likely turn into a longer one. Well I surprised her because I was back home after only a two-mile outing. I had no intentions of going further and as I had told her, I never went for a run every day when I did my running but every second day. Now although walking is far less strenuous I like to take a break from it occasionally though taking a shorter one instead of missing out altogether is normally what I do. I waited patiently for lunch sitting out on the patio with a coffee in the warm sunshine.

Happy Friday

It was warm and sunny but there was a strong wind blowing as it had done for the previous couple of days and was set to continue for a while yet. We ate lunch and during the meal I received a call for my electrical services. I didn’t answer the call at first but they called again and I accepted the work. It was a simple enough job and would be worth the little effort it would take to do it. By now the rain was pelting down though the wind had remained the same. Not a very nice afternoon compared to the morning. When I arrived at the apartment block I was greeted by the caller who told me she had gotten my number from the board in their communal laundry. She showed me and there I was enshrined in my surroundings, that is my card was there for all to see. It had to be why I had the job for I no longer advertise, though I still get offers from old customers or referrals. So although I am gone I am not forgotten. My purse was happy about that and I guess I was too.

Shirley Anne

A day to be out in

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Tuesday was another hot and humid day with wall to wall sunshine until seven in the evening when clouds began to appear. Evidently we were to have thunderstorms during Wednesday with some much-needed rain. I deliberately rose early knowing the day would be hot so that I could go for a long walk. I managed to leave the house at seven o’clock having forgone eating breakfast. I had a little water and nothing else. I carry water with me anyway should I get thirsty. Even at that early hour the warm sunshine could be felt. I arrived back home over two hours later but still not hungry. E had wanted to buy a couple of items of clothing, a lightweight summer top and matching loose-fitting pants and she suggested we go shopping for them whilst reminding me that I had wanted some walking boots and a waterproof coat. She obviously wanted me to purchase her items too but I was always going to do that anyway as she has little in the way of spare funds. By the time she had gotten ready it was eleven o’clock when we drove off to town. Just prior to leaving I received a call to do a small electrical job at an apartment close to home. I told the caller I would do it but it would have to be later in the afternoon as I was about to go shopping. I seldom go shopping with E because she is hard to please and my suggestions are not always appreciated. It takes a very long time to get around the shops because of her disability which over the previous two days had been aggravated by her left foot becoming swollen too. That put her on crutches until it would heal. Normally she has to use a walking stick to get around but this added problem had slowed her down considerably. She insisted we visit the store to buy the boots and the coat and I purchased both in minutes…

 

I got them both at half-price for a total of £95. We moved on to the next store to purchase her items but unfortunately only one was available, the top. Although we searched and asked staff the pants were not in stock. She looked for a substitute but gave up on the idea of finding something she liked. In the meantime I found a lovely ankle-length summer dress which I purchased for £50…

E’s top cost £32. She’d had enough of shopping so wanted to go home but I suggested we go for a meal instead. We went to a pub/restaurant we have come to like just out-of-town and it was lovely. Finally we returned home where I tried on the dress to check the fit but E reminded me of the job I had promised to do so I had to quickly change back into my day-wear clothes. I drove to the apartment and soon had the work done before returning home again to join E on the patio. Most of the time on the patio I spent in the shade. I’d had enough of the sun for one day.

Shirley Anne

No escape

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No Escape

No Escape (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Tuesday was going to be a day in which nothing special would happen. It was a day for rain and dull weather but still a day for going out for a walk. I had arisen quite early and had just finished breakfast as E appeared in her dressing gown ready to have breakfast too. She lives in her dressing gown for the first couple of hours in the day unless she has somewhere to go. I am always dressed for breakfast and ready to go anywhere at a moment’s notice. Ten minutes after eating the house phone rang but I didn’t answer the call. Instead, I dialled recall to see who it was calling. I checked my mobile phone and discovered the same person had called that phone also. I didn’t have my mobile phone with me at breakfast so I had missed the call. I returned the call to see if my electrical services were being called upon and sure enough that was the case. As my advertisement is not being published in the newspaper the call had to be from an old customer or by recommendation from an old customer. It was from an old customer. The problem was that workmen had tried to use a power outlet in the garage to power their grinding machine and it had caused the circuit to fail. Despite the customer’s attempt to re-instate the supply the problem remained. When I arrived there fifteen minutes later I discovered the garage supplies to lighting and power outlet both failed as well as all the house lighting and the bathroom extract fan! Surely they were not all on the same circuit? Yes they were! Totally against all electrical regulations the circuit had managed to remain working for years until the extra load of the grinder brought the problem to light. The ‘fault’ was a blown fuse which I soon had rewired. However, as I pointed out to the customer, the garage needed a new and separate dedicated supply incorporating an RCD unit and circuit breakers. The power and lighting circuits required separating too. The customer asked if I was interested in doing the work but I told him I was now semi-retired and doing very little electrical work. I did reassure him that I would remain available should he require any small job doing, that is until I give up altogether! I remain available for small electrical problems to all my old customers in the meantime. I guess there is just no escape for it is in my nature to help people if I am able. On my return home I got to go for my now regular morning walk.

Shirley Anne

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

Standard

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