One of those days. First of all massive confusion between me and the workaholic electrician thanks to no mobile signal and subsequent miscommunication.
Yeap, between the two of us we have spent much of the day playing voicemail roulette and chasing each other across the Cumbrian countryside.
This finally culminated in a chance phone call from Sparky to me while we were both miraculously in mobile coverage for a fleeting few minutes.
Apologies from both sides ensued and then a rendezvous was set up at the village church where he was dismantling a light fitting.
Sparky was easy to find, the workman’s boots halfway up a ladder were a bit of a give away and a jovial “‘ello” in his own unique tone meant that I had found him mid religious repairs.
Anyway, more apologies ensued and a jovial “’ll ‘ead ‘p ’t ors int minut” mean’t he was on his way.
As an aside en route back to the car I stumbled across the village’s resident handy man who also bemoaned the lack of phone coverage as he had also been trying to get in touch with me.
Anyway, after calming the waters with the ‘andy man, the gruesome twosome and I made our way up to the cottage to be joined within minutes by Sparky.
Now, it is at this point that things got a little weird. Firstly, as I offered him a cuppa he declined but asked for a cup of boiling water instead. There is something vaguely surreal about handing over a cup of boiling water to a man in a head torch and work man’s boots in your airing cupboard.
I then regaled him with the history of the immersion heater issues to which he frowned and scratched his head. I added that his plumber buddy, Shower, had not found any problems from his perspective and had asked for Sparky to check out the electrics.
Sparky checked all the electrical bits and pieces and was more than a little puzzled.
This was only added to when I divulged that actually we have no water at the moment anyway and so the heater may well be empty. He frowned and mumbled something which I could not make out…….
By this point he was confused. Power was making its way to all the important bits and not to the unnecessary bits and quite frankly all was well, in electrical terms, with the immersion heater.
Granted, it had been switched off at the wall as we knew it was not working properly but I had warned both him and Shower of this on their visits for fear that they would think they were dealing with a numpty who had not even switched it on at the wall.
Sparky stood and scratched his head, mug of hot water in hand.
At this point I happened to mention that for some odd reason that Sparky cannot work out we are not getting any hot water from the Rayburn and as the immersion heater is not working then we have to resort to lighting the wood burner every night for hot water, (when we have water that is).
A light seemed to come on in Sparky’s mind as I said this and with that he climbed back into the airing cupboard enthusiastically clutching his screwdriver.
At this point he asked if I was technically minded. Now I may not have a major qualification in these things but I can hold my one with basic DIY as the last few weeks have proved – especially with regard to the spring fed water system, holding tanks in the field and of course all the other myriad of tasks that have greeted me since buying the cottage and previously in numerous tasks and repairs in various residences.
So, with a positive response he urged me to step up to the mark and climb up with him for a liaison in the airing cupboard.
At this point I found myself standing in the airing cupboard with Sparky, his head torch, screwdriver and mug of hot water having a crash course in immersion heater physics and safety catches.
You see, I have learnt this evening that the law requires that immersion heaters are fitted with safety switches so that when the water is heated from another source, i.e. the wood burner, they trip and all power is cut off to avoid overheating, burning out and potential fire.
So, after a 5 minute crash course in immersion heater mechanics I now know that actually there is nothing wrong with the immersion heater at all and actually it is in fine health.
So, at this point I felt like a complete numpty – having had visits from both Shower and Sparky when actually there was no problem.
In my defence when himself was here with his degree in Electrical Engineering the presence of the cut off switch had completely escaped him as well. So I take some comfort from the fact that a much greater electrical mind than mine had failed to pick up on this and the electrical workaholic genius that is Sparky had to explain it in words of one syllable to me.
At this point the whirlwind that is Sparky decided to check on the emergency repairs that he had undertaken the day after we moved in when every electrical circuit tripped every few minutes and plunged EIOT Towers into darkness.
Needless to say that even Sparky’s emergency repairs are to a standard that any electricity board would be proud of and all was well.
Then he checked the light in the downstairs bathroom that like Inspector Cluedo he suspected of wrong doing.
It was at this point that he intentionally tripped the house as the problem was still present.
Now, the gruesome twosome had been blissfully unaware of my presence and that of Sparky was well beyond them.
But as the circuit breaker tripped the TV went off and CBBC disappeared into oblivion.
At this point shouts of ‘MUM!!!’ echoed through Chez EIOT, Sparky jumped with surprise and almost electrocuted himself while my finely honed Mummy hearing blotted out all activity.
As I stood by the big electrical box in the cellar resetting the breaker in time with Sparky’s shouts, (which were quite animated following his near shock), the gruesome twosome’s shouts were completely in time with the timing of the breaker kicking in.
Anyway, Sparky finally declared that the problem is not with the second bathroom light as he suspected but with the wiring somewhere deep in the ceiling. As we are planning on completely ripping out the whole area in due course and one of the lights still works then I declared that I can live without that light and invited Sparky to fix it when he and Shower are called in for the revamp of that part of the house in due course.
Sparky seemed quite relieved about this, promptly finished his hot water, switched off his head torch and headed back from whence he came…..
Before his departure I did ask Sparky about paying for his visits, to which he replied, “‘do’t worree, bil’ ‘all be in’t ‘ost”………
Other events today have included the entertainment of seeing a mobile home being transported on the back of a large lorry along the Cumbrian lanes.
I was slightly surprised to see this one car in front of me as I drove home from my mobile phone station 5 miles away from home.
A feeling of foreboding overtook me as I saw the lorry come to a halt within yards of its start. It did start off again but only to take out a few trees, ramblers and a Bradley Wiggins wannabe.
I followed the lorry with a mild sense of amusement for several miles, punctuated on several occasions by the drivers mate jumping out to guide the load through narrow spaces.
It was at these times that everybody in the ever growing queue of traffic behind took a collective intake of breath and the width of the convoy seemed to shrink by several inches.
Eventually the convoy came to a grinding halt as the lorry arrived at its destination – fortunately before the cobbled and zig zagging road through the village.
However, its destination was on a narrow part of the road and nobody could get past – either way.
I sat and watched patiently.
Now I am vaguely familiar with its now home. It is taking up residence at an old farmhouse that we viewed prior to its auction a couple of months ago and we did consider buying it.
Various reasons meant we did not pursue it, but the new owner clearly has plans for the house and farmyard and quite frankly it has potential to be gorgeous.
Anyway, this vague familiarity meant that I knew that there was a gateway in front of the lorry and I was parked near a gateway at the back.
OK, time for EIOT initiative here.
One quick sprint down to the lorry, (I was second in the convoy after all), a jovial hello and ‘May I make a suggestion?’ later, the traffic chaos was eased as the lorry was edged forward so the track on the left could be used as a way of driving past the lorry for cars and the gates were opened so that all the delivery trucks, Land Rovers and tractors could go off roading and get past the blockage that way.
One quick explanation to the next car and first truck knew where to go and in the hope that other vehicles of each genre would follow their example and off I went.
I haven’t been back down that way to check that the traffic has cleared or if they are still there several hours later but I will be down there en route to the laundrette, (please remember that we have no water at EIOT Towers at the moment), quite a few miles away, tomorrow so will deliver essential supplies then should they be needed.
Right, best go. Will post this episode tomorrow when I am twiddling my thumbs at the laundrette tomorrow.
Have fun all and most of all, value your water supply!!!!
Don’t forget to donate, this is all about raising money for Tommy’s