Friday, February 6, 2009

Bring More Candles

Last night, we were half way through our pineapple yoghurts when all the lights went out. Damn! Still, these cuts don’t last long, particularly when the weather’s calm…

After a couple of minutes blundering around for a torch that worked, George went outside to see how far the blackness stretched. It didn’t stretch at all – the streetlamps were on; next door’s kitchen was dazzling… why just us?

I felt a tiny surge of resentment towards the electricity company and all those currently enjoying its full power. (In fact, quite a big surge). Despicable of me, I know, but good heavens - it doesn’t seem long since we had all that baffling work done to change our system from something called ‘Triphase’ to ‘Monophase’.

Did we even have different Phases in England-our-Old-Country? And if the dreaded Triphase presented such an urgent need for change in this house, why had the previous owners ever dallied with it in the first place? For it had certainly caused us problems, usually when just about to amaze our friends with a gastronomic delight; or if George was away and I had to negotiate the outside steps and the Stygian gloom of the cellar… alone!

Anyway, since the 'passage en monophasée' - which entailed synchronising two electrical companies’ schedules, multitudinous agonised phone calls and hand delivering several Declarations to swear we’d all do our bit, (the electricians charged with this painful task, though, were all helpful and delightful) - all has gone well. Till last night.

George went down to the cellar and sure enough, the main fuse had tripped. He reset it; thirty seconds later it went again.

Had I been alone, I would have kept resetting it until it burst into flames, such is my ability and patience with DIY. Together, we sensibly eliminated fuses three by three, until left with the tangle of plugboards and cable under the kitchen sink.

Quite a lot of which turned out to be damp, and dripping into the mouldering under-reaches of the cupboard.

So we couldn’t blame it on an electrical company.

By experimental positioning of kitchen towel we deduced that the little black overflow pipe had let go at one end, so that enthusiastic gushing of waste sink water resulted in spattering of the cupboard. For weeks, months… who knows?

To avoid alarming sizzles, George has now redirected much of the cable, and indelibly re-glued the little black pipe. And we’re airing the foul depths of the under-sink.

Which is Really Exciting for the cats - they remain on constant guard because whatever’s exuding that sort of aroma must be tastier than Kitlykat …

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

Our German builder, who has become a firm family friend since we first tracked him down 6 years ago to renovate our newly purchased and amazingly cheap abode (those were the days when the pound bought 1.60 euros) was here yesterday to investigate why there was no light or power in a spare bedroom. He arrived bearing hot Belgian fricassee together with an amazingly yummy Italian bread (not sure how to spell the name, but it's pronounced "Chiappatta"), so investigations were postponed for an hour or so while we happily munched our way through his offerings, which we complemented with a glass of locally-produced red wine (95 cents a litre from the co-operative up in the mountains). Later, after much prodding of a tangled labyrinth of wires behing our main fuse box, the electrical problem was tracked down to a loose connection. No fee required for services rendered - just the promise of a slap-up meal next week at a newly opened restaurant. I'm all for barter!

Jon in France said...

Do be careful with the electrics won't you Dolores!

We inherited some dreadful wiring which we are in the (lengthy & costly) process of sorting out. In fact, the new fuse board should be installed in the next few days. Probably.

Lots of old farmhouses in France were fitted with three-phase power. My late father - a power engineer - once explained how it allowed three times the power to come down a single wire, which allowed the farms to run high-power equipement without the need for costly installations.

Anonymous said...

Forgot to leave my name (canaryislander)!

Dolores Doolittle said...

Hello Anonymous (or should one call you CI)?

I LOVE your German builder - friendly & chatty though workmen who come invariably are, they've never actually Brought us stuff.

On our first plumbing trauma, I made them coffee, which they seemed not to be enjoying. "No, it's fine", they insisted, "It's just... there's a lot of it..."

I'd made them the usual English mugs-full instead of espresso size.

Dolores Doolittle said...

Hello Jon in France - I shall definitely take heed of your warning, thank you.

Still can't imagine why the previous owners here would have wanted high power equipment wiring.
Perhaps they ran a covert money-printing operation in the cellar...

Sadly, all they left was a trillion empty wine bottles and some WWII German cartridges (which the police took away).

Expat said...

Hello dolores It Expat in the USA. I thought I had to create a google account, so I did, but how do I associate name with that?

Dolores Doolittle said...

Hi Expat - really great to see you! Thanks for visiting

Sorry you've had to go to a load of trouble to comment, and I'm going to struggle now with your query...

When I post comments on someone else's blog, if I'm signed in already as Dolores, it tells me I'm "currently posting as Dolores Doolittle", which apparently is a google account.

It seems that gmail or hotmail addresses are google accounts.(??)

I've looked on a couple of Help screens, but I'm Stuck on how to associate name. Might go to Constance & ask CI...

canary islander said...

It's CI here. Last time I posted, I didn't sign up to google on the comment screen, and I ended up with the "Anonymous" identity above my comment. So I'll try the google thing now...

Canary Islander said...

Hmm, I didn't open a google account (whatever that is). Instead, after typing my comment, I chose the "Name/URL
" option and typed "Canary Islander". It works! So now I have my name above my comment, not "Anonymous".

Lots of xxxx's!

Canary said...

Another test.
CI.

Canary said...

Hmm, I pressed "open google account" and it warned me I would leave here. I said OK and found myself opening a gmail account for which I declared my name as ci.canaryislander (it said canaryislander wasn't available). Now when I leave a comment here, my ID is "Canary" in BLUE letters. Puzzling!

Canary said...

test again!

Canary said...

OK, I'm confused. It seems I'm "Canary" here (in nice big blue letters, which must make me official) but I haven't the faintest idea how "Canary" got associated to me! I suppose it may forever remain a mystery (or until I sober up tomorrow).

Dolores Doolittle said...

Oh lord, CI - so sorry you've gone to all this trouble - you and Expat are exceeding kind to make these efforts against bafflement.

(Hope the gmail account comes in handy - it Is an efficient server. Says she Desperately).

love & kisses to both

Canary said...

No trouble, just fun!

Expat said...

Dolores, you are worth it!

Dolores Doolittle said...

Please both marry me!

xx

Expat said...

This post was meant to be! The word verification I had to type in in order to comment was EXPASTS!! Close enough to give me the shivers.

Just wanted to say I have been reading through your other blogs and they are wonderful! You are so very talented.

Dolores Doolittle said...

Hello Expat, and thank you zillions for ploughing through this stuff and SAYING NICE THINGS!

Have you thought of setting up a blog? You could fill so many posts just with your Adventures on Business Trips!

xx