Learning Opportunities II

When we put up the picture rail yesterday, we discovered that… the middle of our hourse is about an inch lower than the edge of the house. We knew there was a slope issue, particularly around the front door, but how bad it really was… well that keeps being incrementally revealed to us.

We know this now because the newly erected picture rail runs dead level, which means that the lights that sit below it are… well, at different heights. Because they were measured off the floor.

While they’re both approximately 7′ from the floor*, they differ in height from the picture rail by over an inch.

Which is a problem.

Kathryn has thought of a solution – since we’re replacing the backer on the lights anyhow, but it makes me glad that I didn’t get further with making the replacement backers for the lights and fixing them to the wall.

* Within about half an inch, which is about the tolerance on the flappy plastic light outlets we used. Irritatingly, they get pushed by the drywall as you’re putting the drywall up. So when you’re making the hole for them in the sheet of drywall that’s where they sit forever. But because they’re just held by two small clamps on a long strip of metal that big heavy chunk of drywall can make the metal bar and the clips flex somewhat.

Learning opportunities


So, my whinyness about fault finding notwithstanding, I set to on trying to fix the kitchen lights. I found the circuit diagram and checked the switch I suspected might be wired incorrectly. It was, and would have meant that the switch didn’t function as expected, but it wasn’t causing the problem. Then I ended up pulling out the switches from all the multiway switches that power the kitchen lights. Each of those checked out okay.

I gave in to paranoia and switched the breaker with one of the other breakers… that didn’t seem to be it.

That evening I finally got up on the ladder and we took the cover off one of the kitchen lights, I remade the neutral connection while I was up there. And then the fault was finally revealed.

The lights above the hall are yet to be installed…

…and while I was up on the ladder I remembered that they were on the same circuit as the kitchen lights.

…and I checked with my best beloved who agreed that yes, they were on the same circuit…

…and there, above the hall was the problem. Juussst touching, the neutral and the US-pretend-ground-wire-that’s-actually-neutral.

How this ended up with a 0.5v voltage with the light switch off, and still reporting an infinite resistance, I don’t know. But it did. And separating the two ends and capping them off fixed it.

I must admit I felt quite silly.


In other news, our large greywater tank is now attached to a tap, and both sides of the guttering drain into it, which is pleasing. I also took the opportunity to cut the holly back to the ground, nasty invasive that it is. I’d hoped to dig it up with the minidigger when we had it, but failed to get that far.


That is 1000litres, potentially, of rainwater capture. So that should be good come the summer, and is nice now as we start planting.

I spent most of last week oil/wax-ing wood which will be door jambs, and I’ve spent much of the past few weeks gently chasing the guy who’s meant to be giving us a quote for doors. I’ve also been using our new lasercutter to chop up bits of wood – I’ve made some backer/spacers for the lights for the lounge wall, and we’ve made some backers for the kitchen and reading nook task lighting. Those have also been oil/waxed, so should be good to go up tomorrow.

COVID-19 / SARS-nCoV or not, I’ve got to go and get our prescriptions tomorrow. We’re also running out of toilet paper – because we did not indulge in panic buying. So… ideally, I would like to find a pack of that. I also, because of work, would quite like to grab a couple of sets of scrubs and some extra sweaters which can be hot-washed to death as I’m trying to wash my uniforms as soon as I get home now.