Friday, September 12, 2008


Not much blogging this week, but it's been a week of calamities. It began with a light bulb blowing in the bathroom. The light fitting there is pretty but old and very difficult to take apart to fit a new light bulb. After spending half an hour doing so and finally reassembling it, the other bulb blew. This was too much, so I contacted an electrician to come and replace it with a more user-friendly version.

When he eventually came he had bad news. He brought down from the attic a sample of the electrical wiring. Our attic/loft is insulated with very small polystyrene chips, and where the wiring had passed through them they had melted so that the wires were coated with a brittle sticky mess. "This is a house fire waiting to happen," he said. He was so concerned that he rushed back the next day to give us a quote for rewiring the house.

Well, we knew we had to have the house rewired. It's 30+ years since the wiring was looked at, and if you try and sell a house without an electrical safety certificate, the government prevents you. So he comes back and the first thing he says is, "You'll have to empty out the loft.

Our loft contains the gathered detritus of 41 years of marriage. Children's toys, unfinished jigsaw puzzles, discarded suitcases, wedding dresses, hundreds of books, '78' records, school reports, old photographs, VHS tapes and recorders, sleeping bags, unused pieces if furniture, old Christmas cards, musical instruments, prams and pushchairs and baby's cots, old radios, notes from every examination my daughter ever took, jeans to fit everybody from size 6 to 16, rubber boots, baseball caps from various holiday destinations, souvenirs, unwanted presents, presents we couldn't think who to give to, old carpets and vinyl floor coverings, odd bits of wood, last year's Christmas decorations, vinyl 33s and 45s, indoor TV aerials and boosters, broken tape recorders, SCART leads, old rolls of wallpaper, disused galvanized water tanks, dozens of pairs of women's shoes, old kettles and toasters, crockery and cutlery, 5 guitars, inflatable mattresses, and old bedclothes.

We began to remove it but where should we put it? Some was easily identifiable as fit only for the dump and I have taken five carloads over there. Some could go to Charity shops, and some to homeless depots. Nonetheless, some would have to be retained and this has been distributed through the house and garage. It was in transferring what was already in the garage into the garage loft that I came a cropper. The step ladder gave way while I was levering myself up into the loft and I was left hanging by my right shoulder. This has stretched my brachial plexus and left me with a numb thumb.

As a result we have decided to invest in proper loft ladders to gain access to both our lofts and moreover to replace that leaky, eighty-year old skylight, and while the loft is clear we will have the insulation removed and replaced and a new floor put down.

Then the flat roof over the bay window in out bedroom started leaking causing the ceiling paper to bulge until it eventually tore and a bucketfull or rain water fell on top of me.

Oh the joys of owing a house!


Anonymous said...

Interesting week. I feel your pain, as Mr. Clinton would tell you.

My hobby is home restoration. My favorite avocation in that regard is electrical work.

It's odd that you have plastic chip insulation. I've never heard of it.

In California (thankfully), it is legal for anyone to work on the electrical system on their own house. Otherwise, to save money, you'd have homeowners doing the work anyway, but they wouldn't have the job inspected, leading to a worse situation.

One question: what's 'I became a cropper' mean?

Terry Hamblin said...

'Came a cropper' = a heavy fall. You will find it in Trollope around 1850.

Burke said...


Be glad you don't live on a boat.

Terry Hamblin said...

Today my wife fell out of the loft and hurt her back, hip and head. She was concussed, but we think no bones were broken.

Pat Spiller said...

Oh my goodness, my goodnes (a la Shirley Temple). And not that I am unsympathic. No, not that. But I have to say that I giggled all the through to the end of your post. A sort of perils of Pauline.....from light bulb to ..... ohmygawd. I hope you and your wife are ok after the adventures of the last week.