What Makes A Hole Like This?


Mice? Thankfully they haven’t yet learned to scale the walls. Though they are working on it.

Death watch beetle? Eeek.

As a condition of our thatched house insurance we have to undertake an electrical safety check every few years. The electrician duly came, saw and, somewhat predictably in a house of this age, found things that needed to be done. He was an amiable and seemingly competent sort of chap so we engaged him to carry out the work as well.

Old fashioned rubber cables can corrode over time, with the potential to cause a fire, so should be replaced. In an ideal world the electrician would attach the new cable to the old and pull the whole lot up through the wall conduit into the attic, where it can be connected to the main electrical circuit. You’ll have guessed, especially if you’ve been following for a while, that the world of rusty duck is generally far from ideal. The area directly above the offending cable is constricted to say the least. It can only be reached by crawling through a tiny hole in a partition between it and the main attic. And then only in theory, because no-one has actually tried it..

Mike volunteered.

Confronted by the prospect of intermittent power outages and reigning chaos around the epicentre of works, namely my study, I issued suitable dire warnings on the consequences of misadventure and retreated to the relative safety of the greenhouse. Sometime later, covered in dust, Mike appeared at the door. “I couldn’t get through. Or maybe I could, but wasn’t at all sure about getting back.”

Thank goodness. Common sense prevailed. Can you imagine the embarrassment of having to call the fire brigade to get him out? Sawing through ancient structural timbers in the process? And in the worst case scenario, having to actually remove the roof? It would have made for an interesting conversation with the insurance company at least. Perhaps it would have been easier just to leave Mike where he was until he slimmed down sufficiently to exit the hole. I’d have passed up a copy of Winnie The Pooh, just to keep him amused.

And so on to Plan B. Nothing for it but to knock a hole through the wall to get to the wire. And did it end there? Ooooh no. The hall light fitting was next. I already knew that some of my floorboards would have to come up. But destruction and devastation find a way of spreading, do they not. By the time I next ventured a peek upstairs Mike’s study floor had been ripped up as well. And the side was off the bath.

Is it any wonder I find cleaning so pointless?