Sunday, 11 February 2007

Books, toilet, mirror

It's a day of progress. I've been picking up books from their usual position on the floor in the front room and stacking them on shelves. I feel like I'm doing the equivalent of reclaiming land. I can see the dark brown wood of the floor on the front room. Amazing.

And if that wasn't enough for a Sunday, I've cleared the sofa in the new bedroom of books as well, and stacked them up against the wall where the bookcase would be, if there was one. We can actually sit on the sofa for the first time in three months. I've been so elated I've been hovering around all day on ebay, shouting out bids on faux fur sofa throws.

All this industry is clearly infectious for Dig. He's bought a new toilet pump and installed it. Quite frankly, this is amazing. I had to lie down on the sofa I'd cleared. Usually, Dig's very good at the research, a bit slower on the purchase, and grinds to a halt on the installation. Whatever he's bought, or promised to mend, replace, renew, or fix to the wall, lies around on the floor, if it can find the room, for anything up to 15 years. After that I take it down the tip, freecycle it, or smash it by accident after tripping over it for the eight thousandth time. So for Dig to buy and install something in the same 24 hours is literally unheard of.

Let's hope the mirror suddenly goes the same way as the toilet pump. For not only has Dig gone and bought a toilet pump (and installed it), he's also bought a mirror with light fitting in a box behind it. This is destined for the downstairs bathroom. We carved out the downstairs bathroom from the old cellar in 1992, and since 1992 I've been staring at a wire that comes out of the bathroom wall where a light fitting should be. Fourteen years, staring at a wire that comes out the wall. Well, Dig has finally bought a mirror, with a light fitting behind, to go on the end of the wire.

But sadly, unlike the toilet pump, the mirror with a light behind is taking its usual progress. Dig gets the mirror out of the box and then sees there's a problem. Well, several, actually. First there's the wire itself. After nearly 15 years he can't remember anything about the wire. Does it have an earth on it? Which circuit is it on? Is it connected to the trip? That last question is a key one for me, since electricity has an uncanny knack of finding me out, and electrocuting me. All these questions require a lot of poking about in cupboards under stairs and a lot of tentative examination of the wire with a special lighty-up screwdriver.

Then the wire's not long enough to reach the point where it needs to enter the back of the mirror. Or it's too long, or it's at the wrong place. All of these possibilities need to be examined before Dig can go any further. Then he discovers that the hole to insert the wire into the box containing the light fitting is at the bottom. Oh dear. Our wire's at the top of the wall. We can't turn the whole box containing the light fitting upside down, because we'd make a fire hazard, apparently. The wire can't simply be brought down behind the box containing the light fitting because there's not enough space between the wall and the box. Then Dig considers drilling through the metal casing of the box to pull the wire through on the inside, but then it won't be watertight. And Dig's going to have to drill a very big hole. He's not sure he can do that.

By evening, all our progress has come to a stop. The wire's still sticking out of the bathroom wall. Dig's put back the bit of insulating tape to stop me electrocuting myself again. And the mirror, plus box containing light fitting, is in pieces, on the floor in the bedroom. This is where it's going to live for a little while until Dig can do some more thinking. I've pushed the whole lot under the bed so I don't trip over it, or drop something over it and smash it.

However, while most household and DIY objects in this state can lie around on the floor for several years, the mirror with a light fitting behind it won't have that luxury. As part of our household move around, I'm planning on taking the bed that's protecting it to the tip in about two weeks time and turning this room into the childrens playroom. So now the pressure's on. The clock's ticking. Dig will have to see this project through. I'll keep you informed.

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