Thursday, 28 November 2013

Health & Safety...forget it!

The electrics in this country leave an awful lot to be desired, particularly in old houses like those in our village.   Although even new apartments that we've rented over the years have had their share of electricity problems.

I remember the old house we rented in Goreme, Cappadocia, where I couldn't use more than one appliance at a time without blowing a fuse...or blowing something up.  I discovered this the hard way when I had my washing machine running and switched on the oven...and the oven literally exploded.. a huge bang and smoke coming out of it.  When I moved it away from the wall it was impossible to remove the plug  because it had melted and was firmly fixed to the socket.

And of course we have lots of power cuts.  Today the electricity went off around midday and I thought nothing of it.  So I carried on as usual doing everything I would normally do that doesn't need a power supply.  At around 4.30pm I popped out to see Mr A who was working at the back of the house and asked him if he had any idea when the power would be back on.  He phoned the Muhtar to check.   There hadn't been a power cut at all.  It was just our house that was without electricity.

Mr A phoned Aydem, the electricity supply company for this area, and reported it.  They said they would send someone out as soon as possible.

Patience is not one of Mr A's virtues, and in the meantime he phoned an "electrician" friend.  You might wonder why I have put electrician in inverted commas.  It's simply because it's difficult to find a fully qualified electrician in these parts.  There are men who call themselves electricians, but really they just dabble with electrics and have been lucky enough not to have given themselves a shock...so far.  

By the time Mr A was deep in conversation with this man it was getting dark.  Mr A asked me to shine the torch on the fusebox while he was on the phone.  He opened the box and with instructions from the other end of the phone, started prodding about with a screwdriver.   I wasn't happy about this, although I should be used to it by now, because it's not the first time he has fiddled about with electrical wiring  (he'll be calling himself an electrician before long).   I suggested he trip the switches before he did anything else just in case there was a live wire somewhere.  Not necessary he said...the "electrician" said it would be fine.   What's the number for the ambulance service, I asked, just in case I need it.

Fortunately he couldn't find the problem, so finished the phone call, closed the fusebox and set off to the teahouse to wait for the "real" electrician from Aydem.

By now it was pitch black, so I lit candles and got into bed to keep warm.  I could just about read a book by candlelight and it brought back memories of when I used to stay with my grandmother in her old cottage which had no electricity, just gas mantles downstairs, and candles upstairs.  My grandparents managed very well for years without electricity.  How times change...we're lost without it these days.

Finally the electrician arrived at about 6.30pm and discovered a loose wire outside the house, possibly damaged by the storm a week ago, and within 5 minutes it was fixed and power restored.

18 comments:

  1. I remember gas mantles...one house we had when I was young had gas lighting upstairs - a lovely soft light.

    And I remember French electrical installations in the days before they started inventing new norms every few minutes. A friend advised us to wear rubber boots if trying the electricity when house hunting!

    Mark you, the artisan francais - fully qualifgied electrician - was not guaranteed to be a much better option unless you watched the bugger like a hawk, so it was good training for the gentlemen here...optimists all.

    Norms have recently been introduced for all new wiring projects...but the gentlemen can't see the point....things work don't they?

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    1. That made me laugh Helen..."things work don't they?" That just about sums up the attitude here. They just don't see the risks with electricity and wouldn't think of re-wiring or adding new sockets for example...just plug an extension lead into another extension lead into a socket. I see the dangers everywhere...maybe I worry too much x

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  2. It's a worry. My daughter has just moved into a new flat and I'm making her paranoid by insisting she check everything before using. I'd have her showering in wellies just to be on the safe-side

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    1. Yes it is a worry BtoB. If you know of a real electrician over there it's worth getting everything checked out isn't it? And if such a person exists they'd be worth their weight in gold.

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  3. Gosh Ayak ~ sounds a dangerous place to live in Turkey which leads me to ask if you had an electric oven would you actually be able to cook a Christmas Turkey without blowing the house up.
    These electrician all sound a load of bright sparks. LOL x

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    1. Hi Eddie. I'm not sure I'd risk it. We don't usually do Christmas here anyway so I think I'm safe x

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  4. Reading this post reminds me of the time we were without electric on a very cold winter`s day here in Kusadasi. I asked my husband to find out why we had no electricity. He went off to work and I could not call him because my mobile had no charge, the house `phone doesn`t work without electric and he had taken my car because his was in for service. Charlotte and I shivered and shivered and ended up in bed the whole day, with me making hot drinks on the gas hob every hour or so. It was terrible, I couldn`t even have a shower to get warm because I had no water either. Eventually it started to get dark and there was no sign of my husband. I noticed the lights were on in a neighbour`s house, so then I knew it was a fault at our house. I went out with a torch to my bekci evi which housed the electric panel and noticed the switch was down. Power restored, I returned to the house absolutely furious with my husband who returned 15 minutes later. If only he had checked the switch, Charlotte and I would not have been miserable all day. Needless to say he was not in my good books for a few days and I insisted the panel be brought to the main house so if there were problems in the future I could easily sort it out. Only in Turkey!!!!! Luckily all is well with you now without mishap. F.XXX

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    1. I'm afraid I've done the same thing in the past Fleur, when Mr A was away working, assumed it was a power cut and only when I discovered neighbours had electricity did I realise. Although it wasn't a whole day! That must have been a miserable experience and I can understand you being furious. I always check the fuse box when the power goes off now as a matter of course/

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  5. I've insisted on Jess having "real" electricians and plumbers to fix things that needed doing in her flat...only to discover that they have both failed to solve problems, and Jess's boyfriend's dad has been much better at getting things fixed......and much less expensive. It seems all she has to do for him is provide decent cups of coffee ! Glad you got your problem sorted quickly in the end...and hopefully safely ! Jx

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    1. Oh how useful to have someone like Jess's boyfriend's dad around...we could certainly do with someone like that here! xx

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  6. I love the tone of this one, Ayak....especially your 'throwaway' phrase about Mr A calling himself an electrician next!! It's not quite as bad here...but if the wind blows strongly in Sevilla, it affects our electricity supply though no one can tell me why. It always takes three electricians to come and stand outside our house to tell us this too..
    Nice to sometimes be cut off and to have to light the candles. But glad it's all back to normal now! Axxx

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    1. I didn't mind the candlelight for a while Annie, quite peaceful and calming, and it makes you appreciate the electricity more when it returns. xx

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  7. This post reminds me of the state of the wiring in our french house when we bought it - absolutely terrifying. we had it rewired and all has been well, except that to save money we stayed with the 3Kw supply (we're not there in winter) and I have to be careful not to boil a kettle when the oven's on or I'll trip the cut-off switch. :-) Glad everything's sorted out now and Mr A isn't having to practise being an electrician.

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    1. I know that feeling Perpetua. If we decide on a rare occasion to use the air conditioning unit in the sitting room, I can't switch on the kettle or oven at the same time. Fortunately we don't use it much.if at all. I know people think H & S regulations in the UK are a bit over the top, but better safe than sorry.

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  8. Sadly we have had a tragic experience with electrics in Turkey, it has devastated us and I don't know if I can face going back to my Turkish house now.

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    1. Oh auntiegwen. I'm so sorry to hear this. I don't recall you blogging about your experience so maybe it's something you don't want to talk about publicly. I am concerned though so if you feel you can tell me, just email me. xxxx

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  9. Our brand new house in Mersin - 3 months old. Electricity blows about 7 times a day. "Electrician" comes out - we have cok guzel electricity. Balderdash! In the meantime we are freezing atm - every time we turn on air con or heater it blows!

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    1. Jane I really feel for you but your situation doesn't surprise me..You do have my sympathy though and I hope you can find a real electrician to fix the problem asap xx

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