I needed an electrician or sparky as they are nicknamed in the UK. This you would think would be a simple task but, not so in Portugal. I had one here in Portugal a long time back to correct a problem, he did correct it but left many wires just sticking out at various points. This same man, Jack the Lad, again came to fit my log burner and on that occasion, a short time after using the log burner, it became electrically live. Why, because he’d chafed the cable insulation and bare wires had made contact with the metal housing. No more work for Jack the Lad – Ever.
The requirement of a qualified electrician became a necessity so I enquired on Facebook. I received a recommendation and visited the address listed on the internet. No electrician there. I was told there was an electrician by the same name on a road by the same name in a village 15 km away by a different name. I went to this village and drove around until the satnav showed a road name as required. Presto, I’d found the electrician and arranged a day to visit. That day came and there was no visit. I waited for about a week seeing this is Portugal and still no show. Again, I visited the electrician, I was assured he would arrive in two days time. Same again, no arrival from this dear man.
I discover another electrician via a recommendation and contacted him via Facebook. He was brilliant and visited the same day and we discussed what was required and we agreed a price. At this point I only requested the living room was rewired and that tubes were supplied to feed into other parts of the house. It was brilliant, he could understand and appreciate my desires. He is a busy man and he said he could not start work until 27th of July if memory serves well. This was three weeks from our discussions. Now, about five weeks have elapsed to this promised date. Five weeks from my initial visit to the first electrician I eventually found in a different location to that said on Google.
Time ticks by and the promised date comes and early in the morning the electrician arrives. He was brilliant, organised and proceeded with the work of cutting the grooves in walls and fitting the tubes. Now, the problems start because he says he does not have a drill bit long enough to go through 60cm thick walls but he will try with his drill bit that’s at 50cm drilling depth. He tries and succeeds and at the same time drills through the kitchen light switch cable. Bang, power outage now. He fixes, sort of. There is another wall that is about 70cm thick. No chance on that one so he decides on my behalf it would be better to run the tubes along the surface. Okay I say, do that, and I’m thinking I sort that part in the hall later.
Here is a big prick man drill
This same day he stops work and says that the tube grooves need filling and would return in three days to complete. He suggested that I could render up the walls to bury the tubes. I said okay and again, he promised to be back in three days. All I had to do was message him when I’d finished and he’d return. Okay, that’s good so he leaves the property and also an almighty mess of rubble in the living room. We’re in Portugal and that is how it seems to work. Rubble left, I’d experienced this before. It seems you need to be very specific and ask if the rubble will be cleared. Nothing is obvious in Portugal. At this point, he’d been paid some.
Next day I fill the groves and late in the evening inform the electrician via Facebook. There is no reply but as said, it was late. A day later, there is no reply so I presume he’ll just visit. Time ticks by, the minutes, hours, half days and full days and still no return. I again contact via Facebook and receive a reply saying “much busy I am, in two week I return”. Shit. Here we go again. I try to adapt to the PT ways and wait. 13 days later I message for confirmation of the anticipated visit the following day. The reply, “not possible”. Okay pal, that tells me a lot. I message again and this time receive the reply of “possible one week”. Now the five weeks delay is becoming seven or eight. I again wait and I message again for confirmation of that week. No reply. Now my thought are fuck off wanker, I don’t give a flying shit if it never gets done.
The consumer unit fitted by the electrician was not level and fell off the wall when I was attaching wires. He’d used raw plugs in a hollow section of wall. I corrected by incorporating bolts set in mortar and ensured it was then level. It must be level. It really, really must be. It is not showing level here but is now.
I needed to escape
I told my sister I’d visit her in Spain and all these delays had not permitted me to do so. After my fuck off wanker thoughts, I phoned my sister and asked if she was free tomorrow. She said yes, I said, I’ll pop over tomorrow. Pop over she says, it’s not around the corner. I reply, but there is no river between you and me. I refer to the English channel as the river. Next day, I visit my sister and while there, in the first week, I receive a message from the electrician saying “see you 2 days”. My attitude remains, fuck off wanker so I reply, “Not in Portugal” I can play the same games with time and dates.
A long time had passed since my initial contact with this electrician and now my patience was zero. Apart from that, he’d left me with no lower floor lighting had I not rigged up temps all over the frigging place from upstairs which remained intact. No lights would have been fine for two or three days as he’d suggested as his next visit to fit the cables.
I returned from Spain, the land of illegal builds and lost hope with no intention of contacting the electrician again. On entering Portugal and seeing the little concrete sign saying Portugal, I discover the little break had done me good and the faults of Portugal simply dissolved and again, I felt at home even if the problems remained.
In some respect, not having the electrician complete the works, worked out well as with additional thought, I improved on the whole idea. Also, a couple of the power outlets were not ideally positioned so I altered them and added a couple too.
Having purchased a big prick man drill bit (it’s a male thought ladies) from the UK, I was also able to make the holes through very thick walls so that eventually, nothing will be surface mounted. Also, I added more tubing from the consumer unit so that the whole can incorporate more cable should this become necessary later. Further, I purchased another heavy duty electric hammer drill from the UK just in case the one I had went tits up due to abuse use. It never did.
The 100 cm drill bit above I had sent over from the UK. It worked out cheaper than travelling around Portugal to find one and as for the little portable drill, that’s used here for scale and not in an attempt to drill large holes.