Ted Barrett                                                   - Training, Consultancy and Technical Services

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Blog for September

Okay Folks, here we are at the end of September. Bloody hell, how flime ties! (said Professor Spooner – I’m sure he often considered Friar Tuck as an interesting opener). But If you live in Oxford, as Professor Spooner did and like what I do, we have a special relationship with September – St Gile’s Fair. This is a street fair right in the heart of Oxford that actually paralyses the city for two whole days. Always a Monday and a Tuesday. This year (2019) it took place on the 8 and 9 of September. 

In Oxford it is generally agreed that St Gile’s fair marks the beginning of Autumn and therefore heralds the approach of Winter. It may be sunny when you set out, but by late evening you’ll wish you had taken a jumper or a jacket.

Bloody good job then that myself and good lady wife are usually in Spain when St Giles fair is on so we don’t have to deal with that then.

You like to see your kids grow and develop, so I am very pleased to see my children doing just that and as their own families expand they need to move house and build bigger nests. So it happens that my son and daughter have moved respective houses at the same time and both taken on properties that need a lot of work to bring them up to modern standards. How history repeats itself!

I can only say that if you are unlucky enough to be their new neighbours I apologise in advance for the noise. Just remember the upside is that the area is now on the way up and your house resale price will be a lot better now Barretts are in the area!

This month I have mostly been in Spain, but I have been busy since getting back and been to Winey,  Sidcup, Peterborough, Basingstoke, Royston and Sawtry.

l was a bit surprised recently to hear that SY cable is not an approved British cable. Furthermore, if used on a new installation this may need to be listed as a “Deviation” in the installation certificate as it lacks a BS number!

Personally, I would not hesitate to use this cable as it really is a very sound product and absolutely perfect for a tough environment and/or vibration. I would be quite prepared to stand up in a court of law and state my opinion on this (I could easily back this up with data from NEMA, NFPA and NEC which are highly respected bodies stateside).

I have also found SY cable to be very useful for wiring outdoor events, as in the course of my working life I have had to provide power supplies for rock bands and outdoor events of all sorts. Before SY cable I had to use SWA. If you have worked with SWA, you will know that it can be quite heavy to move around. So SY cable is a brilliant alternative, its tough, versatile, well protected and comes in a variety of sizes and core configurations.

Thinking about wiring for outdoor events has reminded me about wiring up events for the Oxford colleges. To further explain, the colleges of Oxford take it in turns to have an annual “Gaudi” or summer ball. If you are lucky enough to get invited to a Gaudi you must go. Tickets are usually about £500 per person. I have been (without cost) as head of maintenance at an Oxford College. Anyway, once you’re into the event, and of course security is extremely tight, you will want for nothing. Just help yourself to a bottle of ‘bolly or as many as you fancy. Sometimes an entire fun fair is set up within the college grounds. Help yourself to free food everywhere. Raymond Blanc has even set up a restaurant within a college – order what you want, its free. Top-level musicians and acts will appear, The Rolling Stones once did Magdalen College. The event will traditionally end at daybreak the following day and is often seen as a rite of passage: “I made it through the Gaudi”.

Suffice it to say, those events take a lot of power and we need to ensure a continuous supply. It simply wouldn’t do to lose power during a performance by George Benson, Governing Body would be most upset.

It gives me great pleasure to report that I went to the wedding of Mike and Louise Haywood this month and didn’t lose my trousers, I managed not to insult anybody (as far as I recall), I even met some old friends and had a fair dinkum time. I did manage to fall off my chair but that was due to structural failure rather than operator error. The wedding cake was a masterpiece, I have never seen a wedding cake with the Millennium Falcon crashed into the side of it before. Off the wall or what? It was a brilliant day. The bride and groom have certainly had their trials in life, they are also lovely people who I admire tremendously, and I wish them all the very best for the future.

Bouquets and Brickbats this month are as follows:

Bouquets for my son Tom Barrett and son-in-law Sam Paterson for taking on those refurbishment projects. Well done you two, it will drive you to the limits of your endurance and patience, particularly as you have to hold down a day-job as well. But you will come out the other end with a result that you can be truly proud of and be able to say in true Griswold style “I did it”.

With regard to brickbats, well I’m still ticking about that tit tooting me round the Hammersmith roundabout (did I ever tell you that us Barrett’s don’t hold a grudge?) apart from that I would only say help save the planet and eat an Eco (I think they may even be carbon-neutral).


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