It’s been a DIY-heavy week. We’ve redecorated the landing and are now working on the staircase, an altogether scarier task because it seems such a long way down when you are up a ladder at the top of the stairs. I’ve been using my new-found plastering skills to skim the ceiling and cover up the awful Artex finish that has been there since forever. My beginners’ plastering course didn’t extend to ceilings, nor did it cover curves, which is unfortunate because the ceiling above the staircase curves down to meet the wall at the eaves. It’s been a learning experience.
I have a “before” photo, but no “after” pic that I care to share at this stage. I will go back over the ceiling with some filler, sand it down and slap on a couple of coats of paint, and then it might be presentable. I figure it can’t be worse than the old Artex, and it’ll certainly be a sight smoother and easier to keep clean. You wouldn’t believe the colour of the water when we washed down before starting work. How does a ceiling, especially in a little-used area like a staircase, get so dirty?
We’ve also installed two extra double sockets in the cupboard that houses our wifi router, cordless phone base unit and answering machine. All these devices were previously powered via a trailing lead, which isn’t ideal from a safety point of view and looks messy. We extended the ring main to include these two additional sockets, which are surface mounted because they are hidden away and on an unplastered wall. Should have done it years ago.
While we were at the electrical merchants we picked up one of the new 13A socket plates that includes two USB charging sockets as well as the usual mains voltage sockets. We’ve used it to replace an ordinary double socket in the sitting room. Now we can charge phones, Kindles and other gadgets without having to connect them to our laptops or find their chargers.
The guy at the merchants said he’d had a lot of these USB plates back when he stocked a different brand, but he reckons the current ones are more reliable. Time will tell. Installing it was very straightforward, although the extra space taken up by the USB element meant there was less room for the wiring. Nevertheless, it all fitted into a standard 25mm back box without too much trouble, but if I was going to fit one as a new addition to the ring not a spur (so two cables into the socket), I would probably use a deeper box to make life easier.