Monday, May 26, 2008

Changing a Bulb

The wiring is a bit wonky in our house, no doubt thanks to the age of our establishment. The sockets come in two different sizes, necessitating an array of ‘ladrones’ and gizmos to put the right plug in the right hole. Some of the sockets have burnt out over the years, or their fuses are of the type that no longer exists. Spain, when it comes to bricolaje, is enthusiastic about ‘progress’. We persevere.
Long bits of wire with multiple plugs snake under the carpets to keep the gadgets going. It’s a system.
The light bulbs though, are a menace. First of all, they don’t last 1,000 hours as it says on the box. In fact, some of them go ‘floop’ just as you are screwing them in, standing inevitably on a wobbly chair. Once, I went clean through the seat of an antique chair while reaching up to change a light. You should stand on the edges apparently.
But the real problem here is the light sockets, the fundas. These are made either from a thin plastic that soon cracks or from a sturdy plastic which cooks and cracks. The cable behind obligingly rots when it gets a chance. Half the time, changing a bulb (while standing on that wobbly chair, the spare bulb in your pocket) means having to change the whole fixture – in the dark, with a screwdriver which has a crooked blade.
That’ll be when the phone rings.

Shortly after I’d finished the above masterpiece, the Spanish government decided to change things, lightbulbwise (perhaps it was simply pure coincidence, although I think they’ve been checking my blog).
In three years time, the old incandescent bulb will be phased out, in exchange for those new, expensive to buy and cheap to run bulbs. If Spain tossed its 350 million light bulbs in favour of these new-fangled ones, why the country would save 3% on its energy bill and households would see their electric (which just went up by 10%) go down again.
I looked. They cost about ten euros a pop (actually, perhaps ‘pop’ isn’t the best word here, as, one would not be too happy if the light didn’t do its duty and last for ever).

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