Barking mad

As The Crow Flies (The Advisory Circle album)
As The Crow Flies (The Advisory Circle album) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I had arranged to do a very small job on Friday morning for a man living in an apartment a mere two hundred metres as the crow flies, from my house but slightly further by road. He had called the evening before explaining that he had purchased a replacement fan unit for an electric heater in his lounge and couldn’t fit it himself. I explained that I no longer undertake work of that nature as a rule, though fires are never usually problematical to repair. I agreed to do it for him, it would be easy money without any hassle. I arrived right on time and had the unit replaced in about ten minutes. He told me that the old fan unit made a noise even when it wasn’t switched on, though I couldn’t hear it. He had paid £85 for the replacement which I hasten to say did not make a noise when it was switched off. I had an idea he had imagined the fault. When I had done the job he told me that the lighting wall switches did not switch off the lights he wanted them to. It was a three-gang switch (three switches on the same plate) and the first two switches were the ones he wanted altering. A simple task which involved swapping two wires and I had it done in a minute. On returning home I asked my son, who had stopped overnight and was about to leave, if he could drop me in the Village so I could visit the bank and the chemist shop (drug store). I walked back home. It had been a dry, humid but dull morning and the forecast was for rain in the afternoon so I decided to mow the lawn. It was just about due for another cut and it was just as well that I did it because we had torrential downpours after lunch. I thought that would be the end of my working week but I received a call later in the afternoon from an elderly lady who was trying to explain that she had lost all power to her power outlets. She apologised for her garbled speech explaining that she had a stroke some years ago which had left her that way. ‘No need to apologise’ I said and I drove there immediately. She had two small dogs that barked incessantly whilst I was there and the smaller of them was very aggressive too. It was all she could do to keep them away from me whilst I was trying to figure out the problem with the power. Why oh why don’t people put their animals in isolation in a room that visitors won’t be going in? Instead of doing that she struggled to keep them quiet and out-of-the-way. In situations like this I have to be very diplomatic and patient but it really drives me mad that people don’t think there is a problem. It is difficult enough trying to work without having to contend with the bad behaviour of pets, especially barking dogs. I asked if there were any power outlets outside and was told there was one out there. When I went outside I noticed a cable clipped to the wall at low-level and it appeared damaged at one point. One of the dogs had chewed it. The dog evidently had been protected by the RCD unit on the power distribution board. I saw that the wires were not severed and in fact only the live conductor was showing bare at one small point. The cable had gotten wet in the downpour and had shorted between the live conductor and the bare earth wire. The earthing conductor within a cable is not insulated. I effected a repair and lifted the cable higher up the wall and clipped it, fitting a cover over that part which had to remain at low-level. I was paid a little extra by the lady who was grateful that I had responded so quickly.

Shirley Anne

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It’s started!

Photo of underside of electric lawn mover
Photo of underside of electric lawn mover

On Tuesday I had a very small job to do and then went shopping for electrical stuff, yes it would have been better shopping for clothes I know but needs must. I got back home quite early and E asked me if I would fit two small clips to a brick wall in the garden so she could tie back a certain unruly flowering shrub. I got my battery-powered drill and had the job done in minutes. It was such a warm and sunny morning I suggested we set about mowing the lawn as it was beginning to get a little overgrown already. The grass seemed dry enough on the surface but down toward the soil it turned out quite damp. I keep promising to buy a hover mower to use when the grass is damp and although the mower we use is quite good for its size it does get clogged when the grass is damp and that makes mowing the lawn a bit of a chore. It is almost exactly like the one pictured on the left. I have discovered that the mower cuts better and without getting clogged if it is pulled backward over the grass when it is the slightest bit damp but pulling the mower backwards is in itself a chore too! We have a larger petrol-driven mower which is very powerful but we haven’t used it for years. It used leaded fuel and it needs an overhaul but like many things we have neglected to have it done but maybe this year we will do something about it. Dragging or pushing a mower on our lawn gets quite tiring. In the height of summer when it is dry it isn’t too bad mowing the lawn but at other times it can be a little harder. Of course mowing is just the first step, we then had to rake up all the cuttings. There is a box attachment for collecting the cuttings of course but it needs emptying too often on a large lawn so isn’t worth using. Now that the lawn has been mowed it will need doing again every couple of weeks, weather permitting. That means making the time whenever the opportunity arises, no excuses putting off doing it otherwise it gets harder if left too long. Oh the dubious joys of gardening! E is finding some tasks difficult for her now which means I will probably be called upon to do more. I don’t much like gardening but I can’t refuse if she needs help and I don’t complain if she asks, as long as I’m not doing anything else which I suppose will be the norm as time passes.

Shirley Anne