Playing house (“Sparky Rides Again” and “They Came From Upstairs”)

Busy weekend at Gark Villa, which has been a welcome break from work stress (the EU bid I’ve been working on is into the home straight, and adjacent niggles seem to be sorting themselves out). turned up at about 10.30 on Friday morning (fresh from a mammoth shift of barwork over St. Patrick’s, if fresh is the right word), shortly followed by the Boy Laurence. Took their bags, then shooed them out of my office and told them not to come back until the evening.

Finally finished doing proposal-writing things around 7pm, when the three of us retired to the staff club for some well-earned beer. turned up shortly after, as did my Eternal Leader. A good night was had by all, and culminated in a curry at the Kohinoor on Portswood Broadway with Hugo.

Up early, and fixing various niggles around the house with the Boy Laurence while the sisters Stark did things with paint. List of completed tasks for the weekend:

  • Moved recessed sockets on plasterboard walls, and made good the gaps with plasterboard plugs cut to shape.
  • Moved socket in master bedroom to adjacent room (through plasterboard wall) and changed for a double socket.
  • Extended the ring main as it ran through the master bedroom, and chiselled out a hole in the cinderblock party wall so that I could fit a metal pattress for a double socket.
  • Rationalised underfloor wiring layout in the course of the above.
  • Terminated the dodgy unterminated live lighting cable that had been filled in with plaster in the living room.
  • Pulled back part of the carpet on the ground floor to reveal a laid wooden floor in reasonable condition (if you ignore the holes from gripper rods and staples, and the gap where two rooms have been knocked together)

In the course of this, found a bunch more snags and interesting items in the house, some more serious than others:

  • The previous houseowners had been even more incompetent than I’d thought. The only correctly labelled fuse in the fuse box was the spare.
  • The 30A fuse labelled “downstairs sockets” feeds the houses’s only ring main; there are cables descending from the ceiling void through the walls to the sockets on the ground floor because the ground floor is a concrete slab.
  • The 30A fuse labelled “upstairs sockets” feeds the socket for an electric cooker in the kitchen. The cable to this socket runs diagonally across the kitchen wall, which is Not Good.
  • The 15A fuse labelled “cooker” is quite clearly not a cooker fuse (which would be rated at 30A). I suspect that it’s probably for an immersion heater, but I’ve not been able to track the wiring through the house to verify, not least because the immersion heater fitted in the hot water tank in the loft isn’t actually plugged into anything.
  • As noted before, the fuses labelled “upstairs lighting” and “downstairs lighting” are still reversed.
  • Part of the ring main cable under the master bedroom floor has been routed by cutting 1cm deep notches in the top of joists to allow floorboards to be nailed on top. This is Not Good.
  • One joist has been notched rather more deeply for cable running, to about a third of its width. This also is Not Good, but is less likely to lead to electrocution and death, even if the chance of structural collapse is now marginally greater.
  • There’s a small (~10cm diameter) wasp nest in the loft.
  • Lots of the floorboards in the master bedroom have been chopped about, badly renailed, splintered and basically broken, which makes the thought of filling the gaps and snading the floors rather less attractive. and I will now be looking at jute or sisal floorcoverings instead.

Busy day today, partly with finishing off my bit of the proposal, but mostly because our newest professor (Tim Berners-Lee) is visiting for the next two days.

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