Saturday, June 13, 2009

Domestic Goddess and the Electrical Curse

I knew the being a Domestic Goddess would have its challenges, but I was not prepared for the Electrical Curse.

It appears my metamorphosis into a Domestic Goddess caused a strange reaction between myself and electrical sockets.

It started in our first flat. The tiny little kitchen in the flat was wonderfully equipped with a gas stove, microwave, dishwasher, washing machine, fridge and tumbledryer. The gas stove was unconnected (fortunately I think), and the remainder of the appliances ran off just 3 sockets.

Thats quite a bit of electrical power out of 3 sockets. And it also meant that I had the wonderful selection of microwave or microwave with which to cook my food. As it was a tiny microwave, it didn't provide me with many options. So we bought a two plate stove.

As there was no room anywhere else, the stove had to go on top of the tumble dryer. I learnt quickly that tumble dryer fluff does not a good food additive make. So the tumble dryer ran when I was not cooking. But the stove remained on top. This was to prove a bad idea.

The fridge, washing machine, microwave and kettle were all plugged into the same wall socket. It appears that this was too much for the circuit, and everytime I went near the plug beautiful little blue sparks would flash around the plugs.

I quickly realised I couldn't run the microwave and the kettle at the same time, and would gingerly swop plugs (avoiding the little blue lights) whenever I needed to use one or the other appliance.

It was rather scary watching those blue sparks skitter around my fingers every time I went near. I was dead scared of shocking myself to death. It never actually shocked me though. The two-plate stove did that. It appears that two-plate stoves don't particularly like being jiggled around on ancient tumbledryers.

The jiggling around must have loosened something in the workings of the stove, because everytime I turned on the right hand side plate, I'd get this horrid little buzz right up my arm. I was actually very relieved when the right hand side plate died.

Even though it meant I was then cooking for a family of four with a microwave and one hot plate. And I even managed to do a pot roast chicken like this! I was looking forward to moving into our villa, as there would be no more second hand appliances. Everything was to be brand new!

I couldn't wait! No more shocking suppers, no more wonky hot plates, no more flashing blue lights. Or so I thought. Because although the appliances were all new, the wiring was all old.....

We discovered this fairly quickly. Desperate to cook on our new four plate Whirlpool stove, I whipped out my brand new Tefal pots, and flicked on the switch. Only to be stunned by a massive "whooomp" bang and total darkness.

It appeared that my new stove did not get on with the electrical circuits in the house, and blew the electricity out. We bought take outs while we waited for the electrician to arrive. The electrician politely told us it was the stoves fault, and suggested we contact the agents.

Which we did. They arrived, and told us that the cable from the stove to the wall was "too small" to handle the power it required. :daft: This was of course, the cable that was attached to the stove and was supplied with the stove. The agents then took the stove (or cooker, as it is known here) away for the cable to be replaced. It was returned a few days later, and I delightedly switched it on.

I was getting sick of microwaved food and take-aways. My delight was soon shattered as once again I heard that terrifying "whooomp"s sound and the lights went out. In trooped the electrician and the agents. Again.

This time they decided the house wiring was at fault, and we were advised to call the Master Electrician. He arrived a few days later, and said we needed to rewire the stove connection. They chose to do this at 8pm at night.

After much drilling and ceiling dust etc etc, the stove was rewired - directly into the main circuit board! I think that any South African electrician would have died of a heart attack at the mere thought.

But never the less, the stove now worked. And a day later, while cleaning out the kitchen cupboards, we discovered the real fault.... The original cable for the stove had been chewed through by a rat, and was causing a short. Just lovely.

Shortly after this lot had settled down, we had a small electrical fire. Basically the socket was melting. I happened to recognise the smell of electrical fire because of that time that I nearly burnt the house down with my hot brush.

This time we didn't even bother with the electrician. We just changed and rewired the socket ourselves. Never had a problem since. I still shudder when I go near the plugs in this house. We had another near melting accident with the plug to the water pump.

Is it the Curse of the Electricals on a new Domestic Goddess? Or is it just bad wiring? Who knows, but if you visit, don't touch the plugs!

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