The Perils of Simple Jobs


One of my many theories about life is that sometimes the universe must have its fun whenever you try to achieve something. I was reminded of this when I tried to fix a broken bulb in the electric fire which was causing a rather lopsided fake fireplace display. Since I reckoned this was an easy win, I thought I’d sort it out. At this point I can imagine the universe pulling up its chair (if it sits on anything), getting out the popcorn and opening a beer. Rob is starting on a job around the house. Always good for a laugh.

I should have known I was in for trouble when I discovered that we actually had some spare bulbs of the right type, but nevertheless I ploughed on and took the fire to pieces. The broken bulb was easy to find, and even easier to remove. But that was mainly because the light fitting fell to bits. The penny pinchers who made my fire had saved a few pence by not using metal bulb sockets, instead using cheaper plastic ones. These work fine for the warranty period, but not that much beyond it. There must have been a meeting somewhere where they decided that they could save around 20 pence per unit by making them prone to fall apart like this.

So, at 4:55 in the afternoon I’ve got a sudden need for light fittings. So it is out into the rain to the only shop around that stands a chance of selling them. Which of course closed around two minutes before I got there. Wah.

The following morning, after an evening staring at an empty fireplace, I manage to make it to my favourite hardware store, Toolstation, where I pick up a bunch of light sockets for 43 pence each (an amazing price when you consider how much they are in other DIY stores).

So, problem solved, right? I’ve even bought a spare set of sockets which I’ll put in the back of the fire in case this ever happens again. All I have to do is take out the broken parts and refit the replacements. Except that, of course, the new sockets have a different connection arrangement that means the wires are now too short. So now I have to spend ages trying to feed in extra cable because the penny pinching people who made my fire (see above) had used just enough to fit and nothing more. I wonder if that was decided at a different meeting or the same one?

Anyhoo, after approximately ten times the effort I thought it would take, I now have a fully illuminated fire. And the universe has had a good laugh.