And so it gets more complicated. The electrician, having taken a deposit and promised to return in the morning, was uncontactable. All I knew was his name, mobile ‘phone number, bank details and the trade website he contacted us from.
I tried texting; I tried calling, on the hour, every hour. Nothing but a voicemail asking me to leave a message. I left increasingly strong messages. With no response, I searched the web for any information about him. It turned out that an electrician with the same name from the same town was convicted a couple of years ago for stealing credit cards from a customer’s house.
I contacted the trade website and his bank, advising that I was concerned about potential fraud. Next morning I received a text message advising that one his workmen was on the way. This chap turned up in a van with a company logo, which I checked and found to be apparently legitimate.
The work was started. A whole new switch box in the cupboard under the stairs. Then work on the wall socket installation. Two walls like this.
But the workman then found that he did not have a plunge saw to get the floorboards up. He had been told that we had already done that. It being Friday afternoon, he promised to return Saturday afternoon.
Friday evening our central heating boiler would not light. I contacted British Gas and was told that an engineer would be here sometime on Monday. The outside temperature dropped over the weekend. Luckily we have a gas fire and a few fan heaters.
Saturday, 2 p.m. I called the contractor and asked if anyone would be round. He gave me the engineer’s number. The engineer advised that he could not be here until Monday because the tool store was locked on Friday when he got back to base.
Meanwhile I had taken a shower (using hot water from the immersion heater), and when I turned the shower off, all the lights went out. The new RDC trip switch had been thrown. Later I went to my toy cupboard, switched on the light and all the sockets on that ring main went dead. Again the trip switch was thrown, then we found one socket in the kitchen was dead (despite supposedly being on the new circuit installed with the kitchen about 4 years back).
I texted the contractor, apologising for disturbing him on a Saturday evening.
Sunday morning the contractor arrived. He was in a poor state and explained that he had been mugged. His ‘phone had been stolen which explained why I could not contact him on Thursday. Also, thanks to my report, his bank account was frozen. I sent a message to his bank. (I had already reported to the trade website that work was now in hand.). He checked the various sockets and will be looking into thee issue today (Monday). He also recommended that, so that he could give us a safety certificate, 3 old pendant lights and the smoke alarms should be replaced. More work, more expense.
So here I am in an increasingly (or should that be decreasingly?) cold house on Monday morning. I await electrical engineers around 10 a.m. and a gas engineer at an indeterminate time. No doubt the electricity will be turned of when the gas man comes.
And that reminds me of an old song by Flanders and Swann: “The Gas Man Cometh”
And we are still waiting to unbox the new laptop that started this in the first place. I wonder where it is, now that we have stuff in the wrong rooms all over the house, including two new unboxed desks!