Saturday, 16 September 2017

Shelf Indulgence

Soon after we moved, I decided to put up some bookshelves in our new house. I spent a pleasant afternoon sanding and painting some second-hand shelving units, nailing them to the walls and smugly posting pictures of them on social media.

Eagle-eyed readers will spot Deborah the Giraffe subtly placed where I don't have to look at her from my spot on  the sofa

(If you're nosy enough to have zoomed in, you are probably wondering why the Myths and Legends of the British Isles isn't next to Lady Gregory's Irish Myths and Legends. Truth is: the shelving project is a work in progress and I haven't bothered sorting them all properly yet.)

It was a lovely sunny day, so we took Finn Jr out for a walk. I bought myself a bottle of wine that I planned to drink as a well-deserved reward for the hour of DIY that I had put in. 

Upon our return, I discovered that every single electrical socket in the house had mysteriously stopped working. Because of the subtle foreshadowing ("...nailing...walls...") that I included in the introductory paragraph, you may guess where this is leading but, at the time, this was a total mystery. 

Charlie questioned whether my putting up of pictures and shelves could be the root of the problem, but I explained that I had carefully examined the region and convinced myself that any wiring was running in some trunking that I had spotted to the right of where I wanted to position my shelves. You can see it for yourself in the picture above (next to Deborah the Giraffe).

We had the problem examined, first by my pal Raul and then by an electrician. Everyone was stumped. The electrician couldn't work out why there was a fault on two neutral circuits and was getting ready to rewire the entire house. In passing, I mentioned Charlie's theory that my DIY efforts might be responsible. There was a moment of stunned silence as Raul and the electrician tried to work out why I hadn't brought this up earlier. I explained about my observation that the wire went into some trunking. 

Turns out a fuse box has more than one wire coming out of it. If you're ever planning to put up some shelves. Remember: there are loads of wires buried in the wall - especially directly above the fuse box. By a million to one chance, I had nailed directly through two different neutral wires on the same circuit.

To fix the problem, the electrician had to remove floorboards in the upper floor of the house. And that's how we discovered that we've got asbestos in the ceiling...