At long last!

After an early rise and following breakfast on Wednesday morning I noticed that the leaves that had completely covered the lawn were now piled-up in two or three places. The wind had changed direction and was now coming from the west as opposed to the east as it had been over the last few days. When the wind blows from the west or north-west any leaves lying about tend to end up in one of a few isolated spots around the garden for instance on the path behind the larger greenhouse, on the path behind the ‘Mound’ or in the area outside the cellar door which leads out into the garden. When I opened that door I was confronted by a large bed of leaves about a half metre in height! Having them all in neat piles makes it easier to sweep them up but even so it takes time for there are so many of them! I love Autumn.autumn-leavesI had nothing else to do so I set about sweeping up the leaves. I filled two wheelie bins which doesn’t seem a lot but I had to keep compressing them to get them in. There will be more leaves to sweep up over the next couple of weeks as the trees have plenty more to drop yet. Just as I was finishing that work my phone rang and it was a customer in whose house I had installed two new light fittings six days earlier. It seems he didn’t like those fittings which had cost him £170 to buy, and he wanted me to remove them and fit two LED long fittings instead. The two new fittings cost him £98. He wanted to return the first set but the store wouldn’t accept them as he had disposed of the packaging! I drove the eight miles to his house whilst he went to purchase the new fittings. I got there ten minutes before he returned but his wife was home and she let me in. Soon I had the two new fittings installed, much to their satisfaction and after they had paid my fee I drove back home just in time to cook lunch. Wednesday was a gloriously sunny day and I was able to sit out on the patio for a couple of hours relaxing. I went indoors some time after three and my phone rang again, it was from the electrical supplier who had sourced the part-night photo cell I had difficulty in obtaining these last couple of weeks. If my readers will remember I wanted the photo cell to control the lamp post I installed a few weeks ago in my rear garden. Presently the light stays on throughout the night but this new photo cell switches the supply off for a few hours during the night for economic reasons. I drove to the supplier to collect it and when there I purchased a couple of extra items too. As I write this on Wednesday evening I plan to install the photo cell on Thursday and will post a picture once it is done.

Shirley Anne


A lull

I had been reasonably busy on Monday, especially in the morning as I had been removing many light fittings and replacing them with basic roses and pendants. The lady of the house had sold the property and wished to take the lights with her to her new property in Hampshire. It is a requirement that electrical circuits in a property must be in working order with all fixtures and fittings in place or as in this case replacements fitted. I don’t know why some electricians insist on wiring some circuits the way they do when it leaves too many cables at the light ceiling roses. rose-connectionsThe maximum should never really be more than four cables, that is twelve conductors. The minimum of course would be one or two cables, that is three or six conductors. Ceiling roses can accommodate these levels though I have to say the more conductors the more difficult it is to connect them neatly. Another thing I find with some electricians is the lack of slack they leave in the roses or switches which makes alterations and repairs almost impossible in some cases. These are the problems I had  at this house so it inevitably took me longer than normal to do the work. Anyway, Tuesday started quite differently as I had no scheduled work but there was one job I wanted to do at home which was to fill-in the three small spots on the Plot with concrete where they couldn’t be done when the original work was carried out a couple of weeks ago. It was less than an hour’s work and I was soon back indoors with nothing to do. I was waiting for a call from the place I had ordered the wall plaque a few days earlier and also from an electrical wholesaler  who was sourcing the part-night photo cell I have been attempting to acquire to control the garden lamp-post. It was mid-morning when my phone rang but it was an invitation to work at a house less than a half-mile away. I was more than happy to oblige as I was beginning to get bored. He had a couple of track lights, the track of which appeared faulty but after testing I discovered it was the lights themselves that were faulty and would need replacing if he wished to keep the track system. track-lightingHe wouldn’t need me or any other electrician to fit the replacements. I returned home with the prospect of little to do for a couple of days.  There seems to be therefore a bit of a lull in activity and until I receive the plaque and the sensor I will be searching for things to occupy my time. I had one job scheduled for Thursday but it was rescheduled to be done on Friday instead which meant Wednesday and Thursday would be free though I did have a dental appointment on Wednesday morning. I really looked forward to that!

Shirley Anne

Go girl go

Seems to be me at the moment. I did get the rest I needed over the weekend but since then it has been all go.

Wonder Girl
Wonder Girl (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My previous posts reveal some of the things I have been up to so far this week. Now as I write this on Wednesday late in the afternoon I have just returned indoors after working in the garden on the lamp-post project. I haven’t uncovered the work I did yesterday, that is Tuesday because rain is forecast overnight and I want the concrete I laid then to remain dry so that it can itself dry out completely. It was 26 hours ago that I laid it. Today I concentrated on fixing both the connector box and the box with the isolating switch to the wall and then connecting the steel-wire-armoured cable and the supply cables to them. The supply cable had to be fed from the other side of the wall to a power box there but I had to remove a small piece of capping stone first. I secured the cable to the wall so that I could replace the capping stone over it. Of course that meant mixing some new mortar too. I didn’t make the final connection to the power box as it was getting late and I’d had enough work for one day and also because the power box  needs some attention as two of its fixing screws had become loose. I might get the time on Thursday afternoon to finish that part of the work. I had been to work doing electrical jobs in the morning so essentially it had been a full day working. By Friday it may be possible to fix the lamp-post’s base to the concrete plinth and if so there would be no reason to prevent the post itself to be fitted. For the moment we will have to use the lamp that was supplied, an energy-saving lamp (miniature fluorescent) which has a built-in light detector. It means though that the lamp will be lit throughout the night. I am still trying to source a part-night sensor which will switch off the lamp for a few hours during the early hours after midnight. If I obtain one it will be fitted next to the connector box I have just installed to control the supply to the lamp-post and then I can replace the lamp with an LED version instead. Tomorrow, Thursday I will be installing equipment and wiring inside someone’s shed! They breed turtles…………..don’t ask.

Shirley Anne

Can you see it?

I went to the job I had arranged to go to on Monday but foul weather had prevented me from doing it then because the work was all outside. Tuesday was a much better day though there was some drizzle. I had been busy installing replacement floodlights using ladders so I had no choice but to put the work off until it was dryer. The work itself wasn’t completely problem-free but that is often the case, The original wiring was connected directly into the existing lights but the new fittings came with an attached flex which meant installing connector boxes as well as the light units. The work kept me employed almost until noon and when I returned home I prepared lunch and ate it. Meanwhile E, who had spent a couple of hours up at the top of the house in her workshop remained up there and didn’t come downstairs until I had finished eating. I wanted to do some work in the garden and that is why I ate lunch early though breakfast had been early too. The lamp-post had been delivered on Monday morning which meant I could then see how to secure it to the ground. It also meant that the cable I had installed the previous week could now be measured and cut to length and the gland fitted, which is what I did. I also secured it to the concrete base I had made a few weeks age with the now shortened cable pointing upward where the lamp-post base would cover it. I then decided to get the mixer out and prepare some more concrete to pour over the existing concrete and cover the cable. I made some makeshift shutters to use at the front and side to contain the concrete whilst it set. The other two sides of course were brick walls, ready-made shuttering! The afternoon was gloriously sunny but the weatherman had forecast the possibility of a slight shower in certain areas. I wasn’t going to take a chance on it not raining so I covered the area, can you see it? I will take a close-up picture when the area is uncoveredlamp-post-base-2

If you click on the picture a couple of times it will magnify. Look  near to the top dead centre where the two walls meet. I took the picture from the kitchen window which is one floor above the garden. The patio greenery looks nice. It is now a far better view from the window than it was this time last year before I had built the flowerbeds on the patio. Whilst I was mixing the concrete someone called me about an electrical job. It seems that whenever I mix mortar of concrete people want to speak to me about electrical work. The same thing happened a few days ago if my readers will remember. Just before I went out into the garden I received another call asking for my electrical services. I would be doing those jobs on Wednesday and Thursday which allowed the concrete ro pretty much set and be ready for me to erect the lamp-post if I wanted to. I would also have some time to work on the other end of the cable connecting into the patio circuits. The weather forecast looked favourable for a few days which is good for the time of year.

Shirley Anne

Talk about modern technology

Readers of my previous post my have noticed a related article at the bottom of the post. I am never sure if any of those related posts will be read but I place them there for anyone who might be interested. I few weeks ago now we had our street lamp-post replaced after it had been damaged by a delivery driver. There seem to be thousands of delivery drivers these days with the advent of on-line shopping. The street lamp is fitted with an LED cluster of lamps which are very economical to run compared with any of their predecessors.


We perhaps don’t notice such things as we go about our daily lives and maybe we don’t need to but there are plans afoot to install ‘intelligent’ lamp-posts which not only provide light but will also be able to provide cctv. and even WiFi. From a lamp-post? Have a read of this article…. . You will have to copy and paste address in new tab or click on the middle of the three articles under my previous post.

Shirley Anne

So it rained

I was supposed to be driving off to the job I had scheduled on Monday morning but it had begun to rain and the forecast was for rain throughout the day. So I stayed at home. The work was to be done outdoors so it would have been difficult if not hazardous to do it especially as it would all be done up a ladder! I called my customer about 70 minutes before my expected arrival but could only leave a message as apparently she was unavailable according to her messaging service. landline-phoneI called back several times during the following hour and a half then gave up. She finally called me wondering why I hadn’t turned up. I explained with the same information you’ve just read. She checked her messages and discovered nothing had been recorded. What was going on? Anyway we made arrangements for me to visit the following day when the weather would be better. I was hoping the lamp-post would be delivered whilst I was at home. E is home much of the time but I couldn’t rely on her being available to sign for the delivery. The problem was not knowing on which day it would arrive but as luck would have it the post was delivered mid-morning. However I was shall we say, ‘indisposed’ and E must have heard the doorbell ring and she came downstairs to answer the door. She had been at the top of the house in her ‘workshop’. I confessed to having not heard the doorbell and had the delivery men come a couple of minutes earlier or later I would have been there to accept the delivery as I was actually on the same floor. That is very typical of many folk’s experiences I’m sure, we wait in for something to arrive and then just for a moment we are indisposed and it arrives! I have a feeling it happens by design! I took the three packages downstairs into the cellar where I began to remove the enormous amount of corrugated cardboard and bubble-wrap surrounding the three main items, the heavy base unit, the pole and accessories and the lamp itself.  I discovered they had included a light-sensing economy lamp (fluorescent) in the package. They are designed to switch on from dusk till dawn and of course will remain on throughout the night. It will do for the moment but I am still trying to obtain a part-night sensor/controller and if I do I will replace the lamp with an LED one.

English: Construction and function of a light ...
Construction and function of a light emitting diode (LED) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

At least I won’t have to wait until I obtain a sensor for the light to work. Having unpacked the parts I now know what has to be done. My first task will be to cut off the excess cable near to where the post will be and set it in position with more concrete so that it will emerge beneath the pole when it is fixed to the base. The pole is designed to be fixed using  four ‘rawlbolts’. All I need now is for some dry weather……….

Shirley Anne

A comedy of errors or a conspiracy?

Longcase repaired
Image by practicalowl via Flickr

I don’t know if I should call it a comedy of errors or a conspiracy but rather weird things happened last Thursday. I had nothing planned for the day so I decided to get up a little early and go for a run on my treadmill. After that I bathed and then spent most of the morning in my room doing things a girl should do to keep herself looking her best. Eventually I got downstairs at around 11 o’clock and spent a short time on my computer. I received a call to do an electrical job so off I went to do that.  I had to replace a faulty pir floodlight on an outbuilding at the rear of a house. It wasn’t an easy job to reach because of the shrubbery and trees beneath it but I managed. When it came to switch on the new light it wouldn’t work, the lamp was faulty. I had to drive to a local store to buy another one and returned to fit it. This time I thought it must work but it didn’t so I checked the circuit and discovered the fuse had blown. A minute later all was well. A minor irritation. I returned home and in the late afternoon it began to get dark. The light in the porch wasn’t lit and I wondered why. A little background information is required here. Outside the front of my house is a small device located high up the wall. When it becomes dark it puts a supply on to the porch light. The following morning as it becomes light again it switches off that supply. However the supply is not left on throughout the entire night. The device calculates the time between dusk and dawn and switches off for the majority of that time. So it might switch on at 4 o’clock in the afternoon as it does get dark that early this time of the year but it will automatically switch off at around 1 o’clock in the morning and stay off until an hour or so before dawn when it switches back on. As it get lighter the device then switches off. Quite a clever little device and it looks like one of those things you see atop street lights although the control is different for them. Now then, getting back to my porch light which wasn’t working. I was hoping that it was merely the lamp that was faulty and not the device outside so I tried one of the wall switches which can be used to manually switch on the light if necessary and found that the lamp still did not work. Now the light itself hangs high from the ceiling and requires a nine foot ladder to reach it. There is an aluminium ladder on top of my van but that is always kept locked but the van was in the garage and would have to be driven out if I was to get at that ladder. I chose to bring the steel ladder up from the cellar instead. That is a task all by itself! Either way I had to spend much time just getting the ladder out! I changed the lamp and all was well, then I returned the ladder to the cellar. Now I couldn’t remember if I had returned the wall switch to its normally off position because the light was now being supplied from the outside device. There is no way around that problem if I want to keep the manual switches for emergency use. Fast forward now to bedtime. I had to get up quite early on Friday in order to get to a job some distance away by 8.30 so I set the alarm to 06.15 and went to sleep around midnight. Usually I awake long before the alarm goes off but I use it in case one morning I don’t wake up in time. For some reason I got up after a short sleep and thought it was time to rise whilst all the time thinking to myself that I was still a bit tired. I went off to use the toilet along the landing from my room. At the end of the landing are the toilet and stairway down to the hall and as I walked along in the dark I noticed that the light was on downstairs so naturally I thought it must be morning because the device would have switched the light on a couple of hours before dawn, which at the moment is around 8 o’clock. I looked at the grandfather clock at the bottom of the stairs and it appeared to be reading 06.30. I went to the toilet and whilst sitting there, still tired, I thought about the manual switches and whether they were in fact holding the light on. I went downstairs and tried the switch that I had previously used the afternoon before. Low and behold the light switched off which meant that the outside device was switched off too and it wasn’t yet time for it to come back on. I looked again at the grandfather clock in the hall and saw that it was only 02.15! I really was tired and was glad to get back to bed for another four hours! Strange things happen when you are tired and it is so easy for the events of the day to throw you off course sometimes but I think it is all a conspiracy.

Shirley Anne