They say that the first sign of madness is talking to yourself, they are well out that is only a symptom. The real indicator of madness is buying a pub, shuffling around it talking to yourself is merely a confirmation of a weak state of mind! In keeping with the principle that kept us going through the injuries I am going to explain some of what is happening because remember ‘I do this stuff so you don’t have to’.
Lesson one: buildings are not inanimate objects. I don’t mean ghosts or ethereal matter I mean that buildings themselves are not simply a pile of materials. If you want to experience an angry property then do as I did yesterday, climb into a very small and incredibly hot loft and try to locate a pipe in the jungle that is your plumbing. To give you an idea of my plumbing turn on the ‘pipes’ screen saver on Windows, what it creates is actually an accurate representation of my plumbing, go figure. After shaking my head in amazement and criticising some very dubious practices I turned to crawl back to the hatch but the pub does not take criticism of her plumbing well. As I reached out to a rafter to balance upon I took a healthy 240 V belt from a bare cable. Whilst this is the fourth such loft experience I feel compelled to link this one to the fact that I was criticising the old girls plumbing clearly buildings are not inanimate, for my safety I am typing this in the dark!
Lesson Two: there are only 24 hours in a day. No matter how hard I try that is the limit even with a current average of 17 hrs a day this is a very small and inconsiderate limit. As a subset of this lesson I can say that Fridays are not all the same, well I guess the days themselves are but the angle that you view them from changes. For those of you at work in the normal world the coming of Friday is a cause for celebration but for me it is the indication that I have lost a week of precious time and therefore its a day to be feared. I guess in a lot of ways its like vacation Fridays, they are cold indications that time is running away rather than warm invitations to relaxed weekends. Treasure your friendly Fridays because when they turn they are mean.
Lesson Three: IAP (It’s a pub). Westerners in China, when met with odd situations, use the term TIC (this is China) IAP is similar in that it works in every situation. When the stonemason shakes his head and can’t understand something – IAP; when the plumber can’t fathom the pipework – IAP. I have used this phrase at least a dozen times this week alone including when I was sat on the floor in the bar with my head in my hands trying to understand the phone system. Everything in pubs is according to pub none of the normal rules apply. We have all experienced sudden drunkenness when we leave a pub and hit fresh air haven’t we? Think about it for a moment, fresh air has no effect on the rate of transfer of alcohol into the bloodstream does it? No, what you have experienced is physics which, whilst allowed to enter the pub, is severely restricted because its rules don’t suit pubs. So you leave the pub and go from pub physics to everyday physics, simple really.
Lesson Four: you have not seen it all. Whatever your trade or experience you have not seen it all. You haven’t yet seen the worst or most surprising well-intentioned but non optimal repair unless you saw it in a pub and even then you would need a caveat of “worst so far”. Today I went to move an electrical socket in the office, a simple task in the normal world. After 5 hours I have created a single ring from the bonfire inducing ring>radial>ring circuit (with multiple spurs). I have removed two separate twisted conductor joints, yes this is 2.5 mm copper. The result is that I achieved what I set out to do, the ‘pub tax’ is half a roll of cable and 5 hours of my life. Mini ring mains run in double lengths of bell wire? seen it, cores twisted and separated in air? seen it, post it notes to indicate live conductors? seen it and was pleased that somebody though to tell me! I should note that this is not a criticism it is just the way it is, after all IAP, some of the most ingenious attempts to effect a repair happen in pubs and its only when you look that you realise that they are there so they must work. As an example the bell wire ring main wasn’t one pair ( there would be no ground) no they made the effort to add a second pair for ground and redundancy!
Lesson Five: a whole question gets whole answer. This is not pub specific but island specific and probably more specifically aimed at the council. Some weeks ago, when I started paying council tax, I enquired as to whether I would receive domestic waste collection which is often not the case on trade property. The response was that yes I do get a domestic collection and it is on Thursday. Having dealt with councils before I went further and asked if it was a bin arrangement or a sack affair and was assured that I was on plastic sacks. Today I left a couple of sacks outside and, by chance, was at the front to see them ignored. Perplexed I enquired as to why my Tendring council refuse sacks had not been collected “not allowed black ones” was the answer. I called the council and they told me that I need clear refuse sacks but they don’t send them out instead I have to take a complex security code to the library (run by volunteers) where they will provide me with approved refuse sacks. Some would suggest that this is overly complicated but they clearly don’t appreciate the complexities of waste collection, for me I now know to be more accurate in my questioning.
Lesson Six: power cuts no longer bring silence. I was awoken in the early hours by a power cut, yes that’s right I was awoken. I wasn’t awoken by some sixth sense that realised that power wasn’t on, that would be quite cool. I was awoken by blazing emergency lights and irritated bleeps and buzzes from the various alarms that were less than happy with the situation. The instant panic is that its something in the pub but the volt stick confirms that there is no incoming feed so I set about the alarms. I have no idea how burglars do it, focusing on little lights and buttons as the beeps get ever closer to the crescendo.
I will leave the lessons there for tonight, I think that you have had enough for now. On a personal note, for those that are wondering, the work is great its like being a young man on site again but every now and again the crashing reality of time and financial pressure hits and I realise that this isn’t a site its my home, my business and everything I own. It’s that crashing reality that keeps me working long into the night and starts me again in the early hours. The damaged limbs are not enjoying working like a young man, hell the whole body is unhappy. Righty would barely operate this morning and had t be soaked in scalding water* for 5 minutes, he is seizing again as I write this and lefty is aching nearly as much as my shoulder but they have another couple of hours yet. I am sure that the majority of this is change rather than over use and since it is only for a few weeks I am sure that it will all settle down over the coming months.
*WD40 for joints