21 September 2009

Light Bulb

Crumbs, nearly 3 months since I wrote anything so here goes.

I thought that I would start with a story concerning a light bulb. On a recent visit to see my Pop in Bradford, he asked me to fix the ceiling light in his living room because one of the three bulbs wasn't working. Up on the largest of his step ladders (Oakroyd has very high ceilings downstairs), I soon came across a problem. As soon as I touched the wiring, it fell apart; I guess it must be about 40 years old at least. So, I thought, remove the complete fitting from the ceiling rose and see if is fixable. Having duly unscrewed the two fixing screws, I was surprised to find that the fixture did not come away from the ceiling! It soon became evident that it was secured from above in Pop's bedroom and underneath his bed just to make life awkward. I went up the stairs and moved the bed to find that a new carpet had been fitted since the light fitting - oh joy; now I had to cut a hole in the carpet but no Stanley Knife in the house. Off I went to the local hardware shop in the village and purchased a Knife, came back to the house and, after carefully measuring everything twice, I took the bull by the horns and cut an X in the place that I believed would give me access to the appropriate floorboards. When I folded back the carpet, guess what? One of the exposed floorboards had writing on it, "Lights". Bingo. The floorboards came up easily exposing the top of the lamp, which was quite easy to undo and disconnect electrically. There was just one problem, how to disconnect it and then get downstairs in time to catch it before it hit the floor? In the end, with the lampshade and all three bulbs removed, I just let it go and it landed fairly softly on one of the chairs. Having carefully checked the wiring, I had two options, either replace the complete unit or rewire the old one. I chose to try and rewire but, of course, there was no appropriate electrical cable in the house so back up to the hardware shop where I was lucky enough to get something which would do the job. I spent about an hour rewiring and then had the problem of pushing the fitting back through the ceiling and getting upstairs to reconnect it. As luck would have it, a friend of Pop's, Brenda, was visiting and she volunteered to climb up the stepladder and hold the fitting in place until I could reach the other end. After that it was quite easy to reconnect, put the floorboards back, refit the carpet, move the bed back into place, refit the light bulbs and the shade and then test it. Quite satisfactorily, it all worked. After all that, all I can say is that if you are ever asked to replace a light bulb in an old house, remember the Scout's motto and Be Prepared.

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