Thursday, 18 August 2011

Scenes of utter devastation.....

This week I had intended to post about the area we live in, and show what's happening in the orchards now that harvest time is close.

Ready for picking

Or show you artistic photographs.

Giant hogweed

However by Friday evening the house was in such chaos that any thoughts of a creative post went out the window.

We knew that the house would need a lot of re-wiring but Andrew felt that he could do a lot of this and get an electrician in just to move the consumer unit, currently stuck high up on a kitchen wall and sign off the new wiring.

Old consumer unit

Anyway to progress the sitting room the electric circuits needed to be put in. Floorboards were removed and horrors were found - old rubber cables from the 1960's with the sheathing perished so in danger of shorting. Where circuits had been added the old wires had just been cut off and left exposed & live. Underneath the hot water cylinder, cable joins had been made by using connector blocks and no sealing, if there had been any leak at all.......

Old bedroom cable

In the master bedroom we had decided to keep the existing carpet until the room was properly decorated as the floorboards weren't in good enough condition to wax. However as we pulled the carpet up the backing disintegrated leaving a fine covering of black 'soot' everywhere.

Bedroom carpet

Somehow the floorboards didn't seem quite so bad.

At this point we decided enough was enough and called in Nick the Spark who had been recommended to us by our roofer. To keep the costs down Andrew did all the chanelling for the cables. I was out on Monday and by the time I got home the house was covered with a layer of gritty brick dust. Andrew had done his best to cover things up with dust sheets but it just permeated everywhere. Some of the plaster was blown so it was impossible to cut just a neat hole and in a lot of places the existing switch positions were so wrong that we had to create more mess.

Results of soft plaster

Better switch position

Bathroom cabling

Nick came in on Tuesday and, bless him, tried to work alongside the existing cabling to keep us with power. But by the evening we decided that this was futile and so everything went. For three days we had one socket downstairs and no lights (coinciding with a week of dull, grey weather) and upstairs no sockets but two lights, floorboards up and grit & dust everywhere. But the worse thing was no broadband and so no escapism. It was probably the lowest point of the renovation so far.

The pile just kept growing

More and more cables were linked to the consumer unit. Even Mortimer looked bemused by it all.

First cable set

And more

Bemused Mortimer

And more

But slowly order came back. The old fashioned chunky sockets stuck on skirting boards were replaced by new recessed ones. Fortunately for me as it is not a new build we didn't have to comply with the regulation that says sockets have to be at a height of 450mm - way to obvious for my liking. Nick made lots of sensible suggestions:

A light in the loft
A security light in the understairs cupboard where the new fusebox  (sorry consumer unit) is, which comes on in the event of a power cut or tripped fuse
Cabling for an alarm system
Cabling for an audio system so we can put ceiling speakers in the kitchen
Additional outside lights
Using cheap white switch plates & sockets while all the work on the house is being done to prevent damaging my nice metal ones

New consumer unit

Eventually by Friday evening we were finished - well nearly. We had lights and power everywhere and the broadband connected. The only slight set back was in the kitchen (which had arrived at 6.30 a.m on Friday - so helpful). We had hoped to remain on the existing circuit for just this room until we finish fitting the new kitchen  but because of the problems with the old circuit we were left with just the oven socket. So Andrew mounted a large multiblock on the wall and everything runs from there.

Saturday we both spent cleaning and doing the laundry, even our bed had grit in it. By the evening all the traumas of the week were fading and we felt like this.

Harmony restored

Next time I promise something more uplifting.

Until next time


1 comment:

  1. It could be worse. You could be rewiring a boat.:-)