Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Before and ...

When I mentioned the half-finished house, it wasn't too much of an exaggeration. This was an ongoing project; we gutted the blockwork extension back in February 2006, and R spent most of his spare time until his death putting it back together.

Quite why it took two and a half years to replace some plasterboard and bung in a bit of insulation may be explained by R's top ten rules for wiring:
  1. If there is a simple and obvious way to do it, devise something much more complicated yourself.
  2. You can't have too many sockets.
  3. CAT5 may have been superseded in the domestic setting by wireless technology, but we may as well put it in as well.
  4. Even though I'm not actually going to put a socket here, it might be a good idea to run the cable anyway, just in case.
  5. Never go more than two yards in any direction without installing a light fitting.
  6. I know we don't want an alarm system, but I think I should put in the window contacts and wiring in case a future house buyer wants them.
  7. That Occam really had no idea what he was talking about.
  8. So what if nobody uses radial circuits in this country, ring mains are so old hat.
  9. Two types of smoke alarm have got to be better than one.
  10. Hey, I think another socket in that corner might be a good idea.
When he died leaving two unwired consumer units, unplumbed bathroom, half a staircase and many more exciting deficits, it was all I could do to go into that part of the house. I would look at the waterfall of cables descending from the ceiling, sigh to myself and go out again. Then my two knights in shining armour came along and things have started to move again. T, my brother-in-law, has practically taken up residence and is doing all the outstanding building work, while A is working on the wiring. With the job title of 'forensic electrician' he has the task of divining exactly what R had in mind on the basis of my very shaky recollection and a few scribbled-on scraps of paper. Last week we hit a couple of seemingly insurmountable problems, but I'm hoping that they may have been solved today.

A near meltdown on my part because I couldn't find some paperwork that the accountant had asked for led to frantic clearing of R's desk. This is a job I had been skirting around for months, and it was becoming harder and harder to even go into his office. Two boxes of paper for recycling later, I still hadn't found the missing bank statements, but did serendipitously stumble upon a notebook with a set of wiring diagrams that may, just may cast a little light on our darkness and avoid having to channel into my freshly-painted plaster. I should find out tomorrow.

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