Middle Class Problems: We need to change the lightbulbs but what do we ask for in the shop? The screwy one?


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The Independent Online

Four bulbs have gone in our sitting room. It's perfectly fine, as the previous owners clearly liked the Stalag Luft effect, and the remaining 12 fittings are plenty to keep the nooks and crannies illuminated.

Well, they would be, except that two bulbs have gone in the kitchen as well – leaving only one effulgent beam above the oven while the pots, pans, coffee-makers (plural), Sabatiers, colanders, spices, Kenwood appliances, Magimix et al remain buried in a hazy shadowland.

Fear not! We have the ladder! We even have the spare bulbs! (This is quite the miracle given the number of different types the house requires – so embarrassing not to be able to ask for them by name in a shop, just pointing instead at the base and saying: um, the screwy one? Though not embarrassing enough to take the time to remember which is the E10 Edison, and which the double-contact bayonet cap.)

Anyway, enough time has been wasted (on parentheses). Best get up that ladder and do the job.

Step one: confidence.

Step two: wobble.

Step three: get on with it…

Steps four, five, six: this is getting quite high, actually – but, look, here we are. So, simply turn the fitting, pull out, replace bulb, replace fitting, done.

Only it won't turn. Even when using snub-nosed pliars.

Can't call a man, can we? Bit pathetic, isn't it?

Three weeks later: "So, yes, can you see? They're impossible to budge. Impossi… I see. Yes, I did try that. Anticlockwise, you say? Which way is that? Oh…"