Day to day thoughts on living alone and what I do to combat my change in life since being alone.
Who Are These Little Hitlers Who Rule Our Daily Lives?
Some weeks ago I received one of those letters from my electricity supplier telling me that a particular electricity meter in my house had to be replaced! I had not complained about it and had no trouble with it but they said it was a 'legal requirement'. In fact it was the most recently installed meter, of that I am pretty sure. I was told to make a suitable appointment. Which I did. At what time? Any time from 8am to 1pm today.
Now mine is a very weird house.
It was not originally built as an ordinary house but as a stable block. So there's the middle part, and adjoining it, what was once a tiny cottage. On the other side is a very small studio. It has all been knocked together now and nothing is separate except for the darned meters. Each of these parts of the house has to have its own separate electricity supply with meter and on/off system. I did try once to get in onto one system but the electricity people wanted practically to demolish the front half of the wall to put all the supplies together, and charge a fortune into the bargain. I declined. It is this tiny studio that required (so they said) a new meter.
So I waited and the man arrived at 12.20. A nice strong looking man, armed with his huge tool box. Now all these meters are in one place, on a switchboard, so to speak. But the one to be replaced was at the top - naturally. Having removed the front cover (invented by me in 1962) the young man asked me the height of this meter. 'Well the door is 6'6" and I guess it's another couple of feet right to the ceiling' said I. 'Ah ha! Since this meter was
installed we have new rules now' said the young man. 'Really?' said I
'and what might they be?' Well, it turned out that he was not allowed
to climb to such dizzy heights. In disbelief I remarked that the meter
is regulary read without problems and that anyway, I did have a selection
of varying height step-ladders. Quick intake of breath again as he uttered
the dreaded words 'ELF 'N Safety' I pointed out that he could at least try
before turning down the job and if his steps were not good enough, then
he could use mine. Another sharp intake of breath and shaking his head
as though he had decided against climbing Everest in minus 150 degrees
fahrenheit, he explained that he was not allowed to use my steps and
that if he fell I would be responsible. I laughed and pointed out that
he would land on the carpet and he couldn't possible fall from a couple
of steps and why assume that he would fall anyway and don't be so silly etc. I also explained that until only 3
years ago I used to climb into my clocktower regulary to wind the clock,
and for that I used a ladder without breaking every bone in my body.
And I was twice as old as he was - perhaps 3 times. But he was not amused. 'No I can't do it. I'm not allowed to climb so high, and if an
inspector came and saw that I'd done the job from such a height - I'd
be in big trouble.' Not to be beaten I almost screamed at him 'Well you must have the next size stepladder in
your van - go and get it and I'll hold it while you change the meter and I'll break your fall, since you are so convinced that you will fall - so go and get another ladder'
That was the last straw. Common sense like that? NEVER. And so he
left stating that another appointment would be made and he'd come with a
So shaking my head in disbelief I sank into my chair with
the telephone, ready to make a full complaint to this over rich,
overcharging, milk-sop electricity company. I pointed out that 10 feet was hardly
reaching for the sky, that the van their man was using surely had room for 2 or
3 sets of steps? Not just one and the smallest at that! And here we were sending young men out to Afghanistan and
firemen up ladders and so on, and what kind of rule is it that prevents a
perfectly normal everyday job being done (if it must be done, remember I hadn't
asked for it) Oh much sympathy did I get, but certainly the young lady
taking down my complaint was very polite and said I would definitely
hear from someone soon.
And much good that will do. You and I know that it will do no good
at all. We are allowing ourselves to be overruled by those faceless little Hitlers
sitting in Brussels who have nothing better to do than dream up the the
next idiotic set of rules to blight our everyday lives. It was not so
long ago that a young boy drowned while a couple of so called police
assistants stood by and watched because the river was more than a foot
Well that was a jolly good old rant and at least I have got it off my chest. Sometimes you feel you've just got to tell someone.