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Tuesday, May 11

The Sparks, They're A-Flyin'

I woke up this morning (OK, so it was actually closer to lunchtime...) to be told by a couple of my housemates that yet again we had no hot water. This usually happens when two or three of us use the shower in quick succession, using all of the water heated overnight in the immersion tank.

However, in the past few days and weeks, we've had a series of fuses go in the lower of the 2 plugs which power the immersion heater. This has evidently been happening for a little while, because the plug socket is quite charred from other fuses which have gone violently. Thankfully, ours have just gone without exploding.

Well, until this morning, that is.

We plug the immersion heater in through a timer, which only heats the water for a certain period each day, and usually stops the fuse from blowing in the plug itself. That didn't happen last night.

Nope, this time the fuse blew, and I mean quite literally. It managed to melt the casing of the plug and also the casing of the timer, fusing the two together into an inseperable lump of plastic. There was no way of seperating the two, even after I took apart the timer in an effort to save the plug.

It was shortly after this that I managed to electrocute myself.

I decided to have a quick look at the wall socket itself, to check that that hadn't been damaged by the series of fuse blow-outs over the years. I took it apart alright, but when I put it back together, the live wire touched the screwdriver on the pen-knife I was using and gave me a fairly hefty jolt. The circuit-breaker in the main fuse box tripped instantly, but it wasn't a pleasant feeling.

Thankfully, there was no sizzling flesh and no hair standing on end, and I was OK. It was at that point that I remembered to switch off the electricity supply to those sockets before I started taking them apart. You live, you learn.

The plug was simply not going to come off the timer that it was melted onto, so I figured that I'd have to go get a new plug and then rewire it onto the existing cable. It'd been a while since I'd done one of those, but I knew that I could do it. Whilst in the electrical shop, I picked up a new timer, to replace the melted / broken one.

I got home, stopped for lunch, and then had a go at replacing the plug. This time I remembered to go turn off the electricity before I touched anything. I rewired the plug pretty quickly (it has a guide), and set everything back up to be switched back on.

The immersion heater is powered by two sockets, one plug going to the top of the tank, and one to the bottom. I switched both switches off before going to the fuse box and supplying power back to them both.

When I went back up, I flicked the top switch first, because I hadn't done anything to that socket or plug at all, save for switching it off. What could go wrong here, I thought.

A big 'CRACK' and a pretty big spark, that's what.

For the second time in the day, I jumped back and swore very loudly.

I'm still not sure exactly what went wrong with that one. The spark and bang came from the black box on top of the tank, where the wire comes out, rather than the plug socket. We've switched that on and off before, and nothing like that has ever happened.

I decided to not even risk turning on the switch which powered the plug I had rewired. Even I know when to stop and not risk something any more.

I managed to get hold of my landlord, and an electrician is coming round tomorrow to sort it out. Until then, it's cold showers all round...

In other news, my thumb is actually starting to worry me. I can bend it alright, and it works fine without any pain, but there is no sense of touch on the thumbprint area or the tip. It's very disconcerting.

Oh, and all of this has been happening whilst I really should have been revising. At least it's only 4 in the afternoon, and I can get some done now. He says, with the internet being so open and inviting.

One final thing: I've just bought on eBay the boxed set special edition of Full Metal Jacket for a very good price. A very, very good price, to be honest. I like buying DVDs, it makes me happy...

What was that about getting a job to pay for these DVDs? Pah! I have been applying recently, including one at my uni over the summer, and hopefully something will come up if I keep badgering enough people. Anyone out there want to hire me?


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