|Posted - 06/12/2011 : 06:08
Bodge, a good link and sensible views. I had mail from my mate Bob yesterday.
Here is what he had to say:
"A propos of almost nothing, when we moved into Lancaster, in February 1981,
into a house that according to its owner suffered from "progressive electrical failure",
we took bids from various large-ish electrical companies (it was a large-ish house),
and by some distance the lowest bid was the Northwest Electricity Board (or some
similar name, Norweb I think). The actual bidder was an electrical engineer who had
grown up on the street, and when I asked how they had come in so low he told me
it was partly sentimental, but mainly that it would be a perfect house for the Board
to examine its trainee electricians on. Would I agree? Mais oui. So we turned
Castramont into a technical college for the few weeks (three, think) it took to move
an 1895 wiring "system" (fuses all over the house, etc.,) to something like 20th-century
The young men (they were indeed all male, as I recall) and their supervisors arrived
on time every day.
They made sure we had power in the kitchen at least for some time every day.
And hot water, too. They would map out a wiring project (by circuit, I suppose, but
to some extent also by room). They would do the project in a specified time and
then it would be examined by one of the masters. The 'prentice boys wore blue
llibrary coats (I would all them) to distinguish them from the masters. Where their
new wiring was exposed (almost entirely in the cellar, on the huge beams that held
the house up) it was perfect. Parallel lines that I am sure would have extended in
parallel to infinity. And by god the master ran a millimeter gauge along the wires
to verify that, too.
At the end we got a long bill of particulars which included, among other things, the
total length of insulated wire that had gone into the project, which as I recall was
almost two kilometers, as well as how many junction boxes, wall sockets, etc.,.
And I think the exact time and labour each circuit had taken. .
Something in my antediluvian brain would call that "efficiency". But no doubt it was
state socialism, instead. Cheers, Bob"
I replied that those apprentices are today's electricians. Where do we get the next
My postman knocked on the door yesterday as I was in the middle of a cut on one
of my crankshafts. I opened the door and asked him to wait a mo while I finished
the cut and he remarked that it reminded him of his college days when he did
engineering and machining. He asked what I was doing so I showed him my engines
etc and he was knocked out. He told me that he was struggling to wean his lad
away from Playstation on to fishing and outdoor activities and mentioned that the
lad was addicted to programmes like Fred Dibnah's on TV. I gave him the website
address for Shed Culture and he said he'd see if he could get the lad to look through
it. Who knows, it might trigger off something in the lad. If so I'll be pleased.
That's why I do the Shed bit and up to date at least two fans have been nudged into
getting out into their Sheds. We shall see....
Stanley Challenger Graham
stanley at barnoldswick.freeserve.co.uk