Festive fireplace


Another photo of our Christmas decorations, this time our festive fireplace. Let’s just pray that it doesn’t go up in flames this year.

Not that it’s ever gone up in flames, but it’s a good thing to wish for, none-the-less.

You may notice that one of the ‘Christmas tree’ bulbs wound around the greenery is green (right-hand top corner of the mantlepiece). This replaced a bulb that had blown. Rather than using the ye olde tried-and-tested method of systematically replacing each and every bulb until you get to the one that’s gone I went to my toolbox and got out my pen-like voltage detector. (below)

A red, pen-like electrical-signal scanner.
My red, pen-like MK live-wire detector. Bought at B&Q, in exchange for money.

This is a small, handheld device that is usually used to check for electrical signals behind walls, bleeping and flashing when it detects an AC current. It occured to me that this might also work in detecting where the circuit was broken on these Christmas tree lights.

I started scanning at the plug end and followed the wire up and along the mantlepiece. Beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, then nothing! I replaced the bulb at the point that the beeping had stopped and hey presto! (or any other 1980s UK supermarket chain) the lights worked.

My little festive tip for you all there.

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Gareth Saunders

I’m Gareth J M Saunders, 52 years old, 6′ 4″, father of 3 boys (including twins). Enneagram type FOUR and introvert (INFP), I am a non-stipendiary priest in the Scottish Episcopal Church, I sing with the NYCGB alumni choir, play guitar, play mahjong, write, draw and laugh… Scrum master at Safeguard Global; latterly at Sky and Vision/Cegedim. Former web architect and agile project manager at the University of St Andrews and previously warden at Agnes Blackadder Hall.

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