Wednesday, June 18, 2008


I realise that I've not been keeping you up to speed on the house renovations, good reader. And for that I apologise. Blogging is sporadic right now, since BT still haven't fitted the phone. This despite promising it would be done by the 2nd. Then the 9th. Then the 17th...

But I won't rant about BT. That just leads to painful hair loss and the worried glances of my co-workers. Instead I will tell you what's happening with the magic electricity pixies.

You may recall that I was waiting for the sparky to come and okay the rewiring. This he did, eventually. And he was such a nice and helpful fellow, I was prepared to let him off the delay. He sorted out a few problems I'd created for myself, and tested the whole system for earth continuity before giving me the thumbs up to connect it to the power.

This was always going to be the worrying moment. I didn't want to cut the old system away until I was sure the new system was safe, so I rigged up a temporary cable from an old socket to the new consumer unit, then gingerly switched it on.

Nothing went bang, and there was no horrible smell of burning wire. One by one I checked the circuits and everything seemed OK. There was nothing for it but to make the switch.

This itself is fraught with potential difficulty. Main fuses and meters in the UK are sealed with a special metal tag. Technically it's an offence to tamper with these, but tamper with them you must. The alternative is trying to shoe-horn a live 25mm cable into a tight space without earthing it on something - probably yourself. So I cut the tags off, pulled the main fuse and worked in safety.

I then had to call the power company to come and reseal the meter. This was where the fun started, since they wouldn't do that unless presented with a safety certificate, and the council sparky hadn't been able to issue that at the time of his visit as, before the system had been tested for earth continuity I couldn't connect it to the main supply. He did leave behind the results of the tests he'd done, but I was convinced the power company electrician would take one look at what I'd done and pull the main fuse, leaving me with no power on the weekend my parents came to stay.

As it happened, though, this wasn't the case. The Scottish Power (yes, in Wales, go figure) man came, sealed up the meters and left. He never asked to see anything, least of all a safety certificate. I didn't even have to sign a form. He left with a cheery 'that's you legal again.' If only the people in head office could be as helpful.

There is still one final hurdle to get over before I can consider myself to have successfully rewired an entire house. The council sparky has to come and do a live test before he can issue the safety certificate. But that's really just a formality, and it can wait until he is free again. For now I can content myself with knowing that everything works. And delight in being able to switch off the basement stairlight from the upstairs landing.

It's the little things...

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Blogger angie said...

Hooray for 'lectricity! Glad to hear things are slowly sorting themselves out. This home ownership's a bitch, huh?!

June 18, 2008 9:47 pm  
Anonymous norby said...

Good on you James-well done!!! Before you know it you'll actually have a house again!

June 19, 2008 1:47 am  
Blogger Jo said...

*conjures up mental image of man standing at top of stairs proudly saying*

'Let there be light!'

and there was light...

June 19, 2008 11:13 am  

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