Or practically useful, anyway   Leave a comment


So by Wednesday (the 16th) I was getting over my bad mood with my boss, and had completely run out of things to do, so I finally wrote him a big email that’d been pending for ages. It was about his thoughts on my current big project, explaining the ways it already did what he wanted it to do, or, when it didn’t, better ways to accomplish the same thing (in his defence: it’s not documented at all, he’s been pretty busy, and if he were a software designer then I’d not be necessary, right?). It took most of the morning. Writing is hard when you have to maintain professionalism. Thankfully, that’s not a problem here.

Also, the carpenter turned up. Hurrah! And so he busily set about installing doors, skirting boards and all the other little (and large) bits of woodwork that needed doing. I made cups of tea. See? I’m practical and useful.

In the evening, just as it was starting to get dark, I came downstairs… And the lights didn’t work. “That’s not right”, I thought. I tried a few more switches, and they didn’t work either. I checked the fuse-box, and their circuit was turned off. Maybe the carpenter had turned it off for some reason? Nope, he knew nothing about it. Odd. I tried to turn it on, but got nothing but sparks and it instantly clicked back off again, and after a couple of attempts I figured it was best to stop doing that. Hmm.

So the obvious assumption: somewhere along the lines, the carpentry had interfaced with the electrics. Fortunately, there are only two places where the downstairs lighting circuit goes upstairs, so that limited where had to be checked. One of those cables just happened to go right down the side of a doorframe that’d had new bits nailed to it. Promising! So the carpenter started pulling it apart to see if he’d hit anything.

The nails had gone through the frame and into the plaster, so that was chiselled out too. However, they hadn’t touched anything electrical – nor could they; most of the cable was firmly encased in a steel tube. We couldn’t find anything wrong, although something had obviously tripped the circuit breaker.

Eventually the carpenter had to go home, and I was left with my downstairs in the dark. Fortunately, reheating sausage casserole is easy, so there was no problem there. Even more fortunately, my uncle was in, and he kindly agreed to come and have a look at the electrics (he knows them better than anyone, as he’d installed them in the first place).

So he arrived, examined the carpentry and the wiring, saw nothing wrong, and set about the consumer unit. He poked and prodded with a multi-meter, detached a blue wire, flicked the circuit-breaker to “on”, and tested the lights. Nothing, as you’d expect.
He re-connected the blue wire, and re-tested the lights. They worked.

And they have continued to work to this day.

So nobody knows why they stopped working, or why they then started working (other than “a competent person looked at them in the right way”, which is surprisingly effective). Somewhat disconcerting, but there you go.

I didn’t try to understand it, I just went to the gym. My leg was starting to feel better, so I gave it 300kCals on the treadmill whilst I was at it.


Posted 27 November 2011 by Colthor in Diary

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