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facts of life
right moment
right time
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Dad And That Talk !
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Dad And That Talk !

Last Sunday Dad and I were on our own, in the house. Mum had gone out with my younger sister so we were alone. Most of the morning he had paced about the room as if he wanted to do something, but didn’t know what, He kept making furtive glances towards me. He would look away, as if he his head was on a swivel before again looking back in my direction. Still he didn’t say anything, he just smiled awkwardly looked at his watch and then paced about again. Again, he looked at his watch as if he was waiting for the right time, counting down the seconds till he found the right moment to speak. Then he did.

“Alex sit down I want to talk to you.”

So like the dutiful son that I am I sat down, waiting for him to speak.

“Alex, soon you will be leaving here and going to University. I think it’s time that you and I had that Father and Son talk!

“But Dad, I know all about the facts of life…I did when I was twelve… they taught us in school.”

“Twelve, I didn’t know till I was fourteen and that was from behind the bike sheds... he retorted.

…No matter, that’s not the facts of life I’m talking about he paused and looked towards the wall.… If anything these are more important”

Intrigued I sat back in the chair to listen.

“No Alex, the ones I am taking about are the facts of life’ that begin with the F word.”

“F word Dad?” I queried his statement.

“FUSE ALEX.” …a fuse Alex the one thing that you need to make sure that the P word works”

“P word Dad?” I was not used to this phonetics.

“Plug my son… two of the most important elements of electricity… F & P oh and don’t forget W”


“Wires my son, wires without them the P F and C won’t work.

“C Dad?”

“Current my son.” that powered by the V word”

“V word.” This was becoming an exercise in ABC’s I just hoped to God he wasn’t going to break into song.

“Voltage ….Voltage… Voltage.” He said it three times to emphasise the power of the word, then mused a little looking at me in a distinctly odd way.

….Unless of course, you’re AC DC and then the current alternates”…

At this point I thought I wouldn’t ask about AC-DC. I could almost see the sweat dribble from his forehead. The he was off his seat again, pacing the room as if he was about to deliver Hamlet’s soliloquy.

“So there we have it the key elements you need for plug changing”

“Now … to the practical exercise…He fumbled on the table for a plug and screwdriver, watch carefully. First of all you hold the P in your hand, then gently you place your screwdriver the screw… and slowly turn, one by one.… once you have them loose, you’ll find the top comes off easily, once you have the top off, carefully you can turn these little screws gently making sure they don’t pop out. Then remove the smaller screws from the P, be careful that your screwdriver doesn’t slip … Now carefully pull the wires out one by one. That’s it.

Now with the top off you can see the F clearly take the F out and replace it with a new F. Then push the wires all the way in be careful not too fast. Remember red is a live wire and you don’t want a shock if you put that in the wrong place, so be sure you put the red in the right bed always! Green is an earth wire, sometimes you use it, sometimes you don’t, the blue and yellow wire is neutral, so it is what we call a sleeping partner… really it’s a bit of a ménage et trios or threesome n there. As they all come together in one place if you get my meaning… and once you have them all back in where they should be, you can put the top on and start screwing again. Once you’ve finished you will be able to insert the P into the S and bingo you have L.

“S Dad?”

“Socket son.”

“L Dad?”

“Light Son.” His face lit up as if he was finishing a race to the finishing line.

“And that’s how you change a plug.”

Dad? by now I was getting used to his phonetics…why are you using the letters like that? Why not just say plug fuse and wires and socket.

“Look at this P?” By now I had given up with trying to figure out his electrical code.

“See underneath L .N. E. Electricity is like a woman, first you have to understand how they work, then you have to learn how to make them light up but you need to at all times avoid any shocks. If you remember this little exercise, maybe when you go to university you won’t be so keen to jump into bed with the first girl you meet, you might want to think what happens if your connection goes wrong. If you get my meaning. Oh and if you go on a gap year and you end up in Australia remember if you happen to go into a chemist and ask for Durex you’ll end up with a roll of Sellotape and that means you could come unstuck in more ways than one! Enjoy your Uni soon, I hope this helped. “

Dad left the room. I picked up the P and wondered WTF was that all about!

Street Talk

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