Tuesday, August 10, 2010

When in Africa...

Last week I really enjoyed reading blogger friend, Gattina's post on installing a fridge. You can read about this here.   I could relate to the fact that servicemen don't come on the day or at the time you arranged with them. This has happened to me in South Africa where we have our home. Gattina also explains how, when the old fridge was removed, the plug was also taken out. When the fridge installers arrived, they  couldn't install a plug as they weren't electricians. Do read it; it's hilarious!

You will also realise how different things are in Africa (this is not South Africa, I'm talking about here but the third-world country where we live as expats) to Europe and other first world countries out there. I mean, to have to call an electrician to install a plug would get you laughed at here. Well, not actually laughed at; you'd just be ignored.

Yesterday my dear husband came home with two new ceiling fans. Grant, who can turn his hand to anything, did a stint as an electrician in the nineties so it went without saying that he'd install the fans, electrics, plug-switches and all!

Back to the ceiling fans, one was for the kitchen. That fan had burnt out while we were on leave and I've been cooking in a sauna since we arrived back. The other is for the entrance hall/large salon where Mirriam does the ironing. The kitchen leads off this room and I've been asking Grant to replace the fan, which had also burnt out,  since I returned in January. With this one working,  it would help the kitchen to be a little cooler especially now that it has a new fan of its own!

So here he was with two brand-spanking new ceiling fans, Made in Pakistan and ready to be installed.

Because our ceilings are incredibly high and also because we only have a six foot stepladder, the first problem encountered was how to get up, remove the old fan and then install the new one. Fortunately Grant is over six-foot (sorry, not working the conversion now!) and with his arms he was able to reach at a stretch, as the photos show. Grant also had a plan (learnt from his rigging experience!) to use a rope as a pulley.

He stood on top of the stepladder and reaching up, cut off the wiring and removed the old fan. He passed it down to me, who almost bent double with the weight of it! I staggered out of the kitchen to the corner of the salon where I gingerly lowered the dusty fan onto the floor. (Grant has since taken both fans downstairs; we'll offer them to  to the "Rag and Bone man" when he next passes this way on his donkey cart.)

Grant descended the ladder, threaded a sturdy rope through something on the fan (don't ask me: I'm a woman and don't take note of these things, except to photograph them!) and told me to hold one end of the rope while he climbed back onto the ladder guiding the fan as I pulled on my end. G E N T L Y!
Grant looped one end of a rope through the top of the fan and placed the other end of the rope in my hands. While he held the fan (and climbed the stepladder), I had to pull my end of the rope. GENTLY!

The Health and Safety Officer checks on the rope's stability

Throughout the proceedings, Shadow was constantly under our feet. He clambered up the ladder behind Grant and sat on the top step. While Grant was explaining to me how to pull the fan up to the ceiling, he, self-appointed Health and Safety Officer, checked on the stability of the rope.

Grant held the fan with one end of the rope looped through the top. I had the other end of the rope and pulled  GENTLY until he said I had to stop. (I was always the most obedient child in our family and in the classroom; some things never change, do they? LOL)

One thing that bothered me was that there was a ragged hole in the ceiling. Grant assured me that once the fan was in place, the electrics connected, he'd place the cover over the hole and I would see it no more. True to his word, now that the fans are in place (and both working perfectly) there are no offending holes in the ceiling. BTW our ceilings are concrete (remember the roof above our flat from where I take many sunrise and sunset photos?) so I didn't relish the thought bits of cement falling on my head...
No safety rules here, except that we did turn off the electricity at the mains. Grant is standing on the top of a steel step ladder and guiding the fan to the opening in the ceiling. I was instructed to LEAVE the rope at this stage!

Connecting the electrics

Thank goodness Grant is tall. Standing on the TOP step of the ladder he could reach up and close the offending hole
The new ceiling fan, installed by my darling husband...


The new switch with it's brand name and country of origing displayed

I couldn't remove this photo, try as I might.  I think this photo is rather cute, but I heard Grant muttering something about a "nuicance when one is trying to do a job"

The Health and Safety Officer is called in to check on the tools and components of... another fan! *sigh*

The Health and Safety Officer takes a well-deserved rest!

The second fan was a piece of cake to install! (Well, sort of, it was still soooo heavy when I took the old fan from Grant that my knees buckled - lol!)

The Arabic for fan is mirrhooha (singular) and for fans is marawe (plural) The Arabic for ceiling is segeeff.

For more on other people's worlds, click here.


  1. I had to laugh when I saw the brand name of the fan. Wilco is one of my favorite bands, they play quite an eclectic mix of music and regularly come to Colorado for concerts.

  2. Hi, Jo! I enjoyed reading this fun post! Love the Health and Safety Officer, LOL. How lucky that Grant is so handy around the house. And I do like your new ceiling fan....

  3. Kudos to Grant (and your resident Health and Safety Officer feline). I once tried to help install a ceiling fan....
    Hope you are now enjoying the cooling effects.

  4. What a fun post! And, yes, how lucky that Grant is so talented with this type of activity. Love the fan! And I can see that the health and safety official was doing his/her job! Have a great week, Jo!


  5. With such good help, Grant and inspector, you should be a bit cooler.

  6. That Health and Safety Officer is too cute!

  7. Your ceiling fan looks great and it is a good thing your husband is tall and handy! The health and safety officer is very persistent in making sure everything is according to standard I see, lol.

  8. Jo: Now that is one brave man to stand on the top of a ladder. That is certainly not something I would do. Very good job with the installation. You should fire the safety inspector for allowing such a dangerous stance.

  9. I liked your world today and you have a very cute helper!! :)

  10. I adore your 'health and safety officer'.

  11. What a great story! I approve of your Health & Safety Officer. I think she must have done a good job. Thanks for sharing your story and your photos.

  12. You are lucky to have such a handy man. I remember living in New Guinea one had to be resourceful too. Enjoyed your post and Gattinas. Loved the health and safety office.

  13. Lucky, indeed, to have such a handy man and purrfectly cute inspector! The “rag and bone” man who will be offered the old fans sounds interesting, too.

  14. I agree with Diane ! I would have been widow by now if my old man would have tried to install such big fans, hahaha !
    I am sure without your safty officer nothing could have been done !

  15. Did you file all the proper environmental impact statements? (A new fan moves more air and that can have an effect on the little spider that lives up in the corner)
    Or did you also check with the local union hall to make sure Grants electrician certification was up to date? How about work permits?
    Or did you just pay off the "inspector" with some kitty treats?
    Health and safety officers can be pretty tough at times! LOL :)
    I will just leave you with the same quote every body leaves in their high school year books, "Stay Cool!"

  16. Hi Al, That's interesting there's a band with that name!

    Thanks Carol, it's good to see you again.

    Thanks Sylvia, he is quite the handyman, my darling hubby. Thanks for your visit. Have a wonderful week.

    Hi Gaelyn;) thanks to them the kitchen is much cooler!

    Hi LadyFi, he is the sweetest cat ever!

    Hi Joyful, yes, it's a good thing he could reach and that the H&S officer was there to assist!

    Welcome Tina. Good to see you at my blog

    Hi Gwendolyn:) please to meet you! Thanks for your kind comment.

    Hi diane;) so you know that when a person has to do what they have to do!

    Hi akaPenelope;) yes, the Rag and bone man comes past down in the street and will take anything scrap you can offer him.

    Hi Gattina;) your fridge installation post inspired me to post about the fan installation!

    Ha-ha Mike, none of those criteria were needed or checked for this job. And we definitely are "taying cool" Thanks for popping in!

    Hi Tom;) yes while hubby was high up there I thought of the implications if he should fall, phew... It all went off well and the H&S officer thinks he's the bees knees LOL!

  17. Glad you were able to get those fans - the heat has been unbearable here - couldn't imagine there! Glad to also see that you guys had plenty of help with all the safety and inspection!

  18. Your husband is very talented, Jo, but of course you already know that! I love photos of the Health and Safety Officer Shadow doing his work. LOL!

    I really enjoyed seeing a bit of your home improvement life--it looks very interesting and very challenging. Bravo to you for lifting up that heavy fan and hauling it to the corner of the salon! Good weight training, but a bit hard on your back.

  19. I left a comment here this AM (I thought), but now I don't see it. Hmmm. Anyway, Grant is quite a multi-talented man---you are blessed with a handy husband! I love the shots of the Health and Safety Officer Shadow making sure Grant did everything correctly. (S)he certainly is a cute cat!

    It sound like you had some serious weight training when you moved the heavy fans to a corner of the salon.

  20. You have trained a good apprentice. Soon you have advertise him for hire.

  21. Kittens give the best help! :-)


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