Ted Barrett                                                   - Training, Consultancy and Technical Services

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Blog for February

Hi de ho Chums, here is my report for February to give at least a few rays of sunlight in the winter months.

Last month I asked for readers to submit any weird electrical experiences they may have encountered, but to date I have not received anything, so how about I share one of my own with you.

When I was working at a very well-known and prestigious Oxford College I was asked to investigate a fault with a lighting circuit in an underground chamber. This chamber had only been recently discovered during building works and as far as could be told, took the form of several chambers about 10 metres x 15 metres x 3 metres high, that linked to each other in series. A couple of months previously somebody had hung a few LED lighting strings under there just to provide some light for further exploration in future. Entry to this area was by one route only; straight down a fixed ladder for about 20 metres. Access to the ladder was under a locked metal grid to prevent unauthorised entry at all other times. This series of chambers was dark, damp and had a distinctly bad feeling. Water dribbled constantly through from the surface and produced that characteristic echoing drip-drip that you expect in any good creepy film. So there we are, the scene is set. And Ted is climbing down the ladder with a handful of tools, torch and his trusty multimeter in his jacket. When I stepped off the bottom of the ladder it was wet, icy cold (although in June) and I had a real sense of something nasty lurking in the shadows. Not just any old nasty either, I have been in plenty of cellars and suchlike but this was much more intense, you could almost reach out and grab a handful of blackness. But I stood up straight, turned on my torch and marched off into the darkness. My plan was to get to the first lighting joint-box I could find and test to see if we had any volts at that point. That would of course have told me if I need to trace further ahead or go back to the main supply. When I arrived at the joint-box I took off the cover and inserted the test probes from the meter.

Instantly the display flashed up “666”.


At this point, I decided that discretion was the better part of valour and thought it wise to recheck the incoming supply. I then found a broken cable on the feed in, repaired that and lighting was restored to the chamber. I definitely did not feel the need to carry out any further work in the area. To this day, I have no idea or explanation for what caused the meter to display that reading. I have never seen that before or since. At that time though, I had a very strong feeling that something was sending me a message “Get out, you are not welcome”.

So I duly obliged.

Now I am not the sort of person that sees ghosts and whatnot and I am not really superstitious. I don’t think I can recall any other strange experiences that can’t be rationally explained. I do like to hear strange tales as I like to de-bunk them. But I can’t explain this one. It does also seem particularly odd when you consider that the range of that particular instrument I was using that day was only up to 600 volts.

So, if any of you have any similar tales please send them in. I don’t mind where they come from. In fact, it would be really interesting to hear of events like this from around the world.

Okay, so let’s move away from that topic for a while. Here’s a little gem: What do we call those handy-dandy little connectors that we often use for emergency repairs? that’s right, “Chocolate Box” (cos they look like little blocks of chocolate in a box). But, did you know that in many Arab countries they are known as “Domino” (cos they look like the spots on dominos) – and I reckon that makes more sense.

With regard to my travels in February, I have been to Ebbw Vale, Witney, Bracknell, Lingfield, Southwark, Chigwell, Saffron Walden and Letchworth. Looking forward to driving down to Spain with my CO Joanne in a couple of months time for a little R&R though.

No more of “Ted’s Rules” this month, I think you will have got the message that I can’t stand fake people any more than fake news. I’m sure you recognise the type; One version is blokes who pretend to like sport for fear that others may detect they are a wimp. I really would prefer you to be yourself.

Stay safe, don’t accept BS and don’t do anything you don’t want to but don’t be afraid to take a chance.

Adios for now, my friends.

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