to think most people wire their own plugs

(145 Posts)

The Guardian has begun an online photo gallery which exhibits people's personal experiences of the cuts in Britain.

Exhibit One is a picture intituled "Wiring my own white goods because I can't afford an electrician".

Link here.

Is someone having a little joke?

Fargo86 Sun 28-Apr-13 02:18:34

I hope it's a joke. Knowing Guardian readers though, you never know.

BlameItOnTheBogey Sun 28-Apr-13 02:25:14

Gosh. I am useless at most things and go for all the easy options (ready chopped onions, anyone?) But even I wire my own plugs.

ThatVikRinA22 Sun 28-Apr-13 02:30:17

i think wiring plugs is a thing of the past anyway - most plugs are moulded on!

the proudest day of my life was changing a plug....oh the good old days....


MidniteScribbler Sun 28-Apr-13 02:36:12

Ummm nope not something I'd touch.

...not even with the power off?

AIBU to think perhaps people employed by the Guardian don't generally wire their own plugs?

LittleMissLucy Sun 28-Apr-13 02:42:59

I read the Guardian AND I wire my own plug. I learned to wire a plug at 14 FFS. grin

Fargo86 Sun 28-Apr-13 02:45:22

I'd be embarassed to ring an electrician and ask if they wire plugs.

Jan49 Sun 28-Apr-13 02:57:21

Surely you couldn't call out an electrician to wire a plug?

I remember the days when you bought an electrical item, had to buy a plug separately, and then when you got it home you had to wire the plug before you could use it. But if you buy electrical goods now they already have a plug on.

I was taught how to wire a plug at school IIRC.

HolidayArmadillo Sun 28-Apr-13 03:21:17

We had a special golden plug award at my school. <glumly thinks about how old that makes me>

Fargo86 Sun 28-Apr-13 03:40:50

bLue on the left, bRown on the right, yellow and green in the middle.

I think we were also taught an older system as well in case we had older items that had different coloured wires, but I don't remember what that was.

MidniteScribbler Sun 28-Apr-13 03:55:52

This must be one of those differences between the UK and Oz. Never seen an appliance where the plug wasn't completely sealed up. It would never occur to me to cut one open and play with the wires.

ProfPru Sun 28-Apr-13 04:06:29

I know how, but have never needed to use that skill. Do you live in the 70s?

peanutMD Sun 28-Apr-13 04:22:30

i never knew you could wire a plug, when would you need to do that?

was never shown anything like that at school

Well, when the pins in the existing plug get graunched, as happened with the plug on my vacuum cleaner the other week. I cut the old plug off, exposed the wires, and put a new one on.

alwayslateforwork Sun 28-Apr-13 05:04:14

Peanut grin

Dear lord, that is the funniest thing I've heard all week. grin

It hadn't even occurred to me that there are adults who have never wired a plug. grin

larlemucker Sun 28-Apr-13 05:04:19

I'm a science teacher and wiring plugs has just come back into KS3 curriculum

ScrambledSmegs Sun 28-Apr-13 05:09:40

I learnt at school. Didn't think I was that old.

Don't think I've ever needed to use that knowledge though.

Fargo86 Sun 28-Apr-13 05:18:30

Probably the same people who get the AA out to change a tyre, or hire a painter and decorator to paint the living room.

Quite right too.

It gets money circulating in the economy, doncha know?

MidniteScribbler Sun 28-Apr-13 05:35:19

I call if I need a tyre changed. I pay for the service each year, so might as well use it, and with my car, you need to climb underneath to unscrew the spare tyre and the bolts seem to be done up so tight I'd need to be superwoman to get it done. I'm not digging around under a car on the side of the highway thanks.

And I just had my house painted. I worked out that the amount of hours it would take me would actually cost more at my equivalent hourly rate than it would cost me to pay someone to do it. They came in and did the whole house in three days. It would have taken me weeks and it wouldn't have been as professionally done.

There are plenty of people who have studied hard and have years of experience doing certain tasks. I'm happy to pay them to do those jobs for me. Could I do it if I had to? Yes. Do I want to? No.

mathanxiety Sun 28-Apr-13 05:38:40

Well it was only about 9 months ago that my mum finally learned to pump her own petrol, after the local filling station where they used to do personal service closed. I know she lives in dread of having to accomplish tasks like wiring a plug. She can't see very well. She is almost 80. When dad was alive all of that stuff was his Thing. I think mum would just go out and buy another iron or toaster or hoover in preference to messing about with wiring.

Tee2072 Sun 28-Apr-13 06:26:49

I grew up in used to have to buy the plug separately????


So much for health and safety gone mad!

DolomitesDonkey Sun 28-Apr-13 06:35:13

I am crying with laughter at anyone who'd hire an electrician for this.

It had to be a piss-take be because iirc the law was changed in 1989 or so - so that all electrical goods in the UK had to be supplied with a plug.

Can't believe people wouldn't even attempt this. confused

MrsSpagBol Sun 28-Apr-13 06:38:03

What midnitescribbler just said. Our living room is being panted on Monday, so take that fargo

JollyPurpleGiant Sun 28-Apr-13 06:40:46

There was an AA guy on the news one day that had done lots of years service. He said that he wouldn't expect anyone to change their own tyres and advised all AA members to make a call out for it.

I would call someone to change my tyre, even though I do know how to do it, I'm not sure I'd be physically capable.

With widespread access to the internet, you can find instructions for doing pretty much anything. My parents have had their house over 20 years and they've only ever called out a contractor for the burglar alarm and the gas fired heating. DM does everything else herself.

exoticfruits Sun 28-Apr-13 06:51:35

Of course I can do it, there is nothing to it, but I haven't needed to for at least 20years- everything comes with a plug already attached now.

mathanxiety Sun 28-Apr-13 06:55:29

My mother was completely shocked to hear that I can use power tools without amputating an arm or destroying a supporting wall. I honestly think she has some sort of phobia about household appliances/machines, with the exception of sewing machines. I had to google her 1966 cistern and talk her through the simple fix for running toilet. My sister wrote instructions for her to programme her thermostat with a diagram included but she ended up switching it back to manual because that sequence of buttons is easier and she doesn't trust things that pretty much run themselves, thinks she will end up with heat coming on when she doesn't need it, even though it is a thermostat she is dealing with. <takes out power drill and considers self lobotomy>

AnnoyingOrange Sun 28-Apr-13 06:55:49

I've wired many a plug in my time, but not for years now.

I guess my children wouldn't know how as they've never had the need

dashoflime Sun 28-Apr-13 06:56:42

This one is my :


It could be GMO or anything!! shock grin

This is my one

Not the most serious on there by far and thankfully things are all sorted out now. smile

JollyPurpleGiant Sun 28-Apr-13 06:57:57

I've done it when a wire has been damaged. And replaced the odd fuse too. I'm pretty sure we also had to do something with the plug when putting in our dishwasher, but I think the plug was too big to fit through the gap so I just removed it, fed the wire through and put it back on again.

dashoflime Sun 28-Apr-13 06:58:53

Sorry links are shit. this is my favorite

this is mine

When does anyone wire a plug?!

I know how to (learnt at school in the 00s), but I've never had to. Everytime something electrical has broken it was nothing to do with the plug.

TheFunStopsHere Sun 28-Apr-13 07:40:32

I don't know how to. Never would occur to me to do it and it's not come up in nearly 40 years. When/why would I need to? Can't quite imagine the context. Appliances come with plugs, don't they? Can't recall ever being taught to - and my father is an electrician!
Just to feel a bit less useless, I do many other practical things but this is not one of them.

Or this one (a derelict club house formerly funded by the local colliery welfare).

Quote "This hasn't happened overnight but shows the inevitable result of cutting funding".

Quite what that has to do with recent government cuts (or any government cuts) is beyond me

Tee2072 Sun 28-Apr-13 07:42:18

BTW, I actually trained as an electrician in the US, so I could wire a plug.

I just can't believe you had to...

Eh? Of course cuts in funding mean social spaces close down.

1. it wasn't recent.
2. it was funded by colliery welfare, not government. I suppose you could say that the ghostly retracting hand of government is just about detectible, but it's stretching a point to say the least.

SoupDragon Sun 28-Apr-13 08:00:50

Probably the same people who get the AA out to change a tyre

What's wrong with that? You need specialist equipment to change a tyre. A wheel on the other hand... wink seriously though, I am physically incapable of loosening the wheel nuts once they've been put on by a garage. I know he to but simply can't. I didn't bother getting a spare for my new car, it just comes with a can of sealant or the AA can tow me home.

I can wire a plug, change a light switch, change a light fitting... Pretty much anything.

It doesn't say when it was, unless you are local and know?

There's lots of sound reasons why privately funded projects struggle when state funding is low, as well as being in recession, so I don't think that's a stretch.

noblegiraffe Sun 28-Apr-13 08:03:16

Why are you lot wiring plugs? I was taught how to do it but haven't ever needed to.

People who feel superior for changing their own tyres are weird. I'm pretty sure I could do it, it doesn't look mentally challenging or anything, I just don't want to grub around on the floor.

I think the clue is in "funded by colliery welfare".

I agree there are lots of sound reasons why privately-funded projects struggle when government cuts have a knock-on effect (I think this is what you are trying to say). This is hardly the government's concern, and furthermore, this example has precisely nothing to do with the current government's austerity policy. It's just someone's whinge about someone else not stumping up money anymore.

Jojobump1986 Sun 28-Apr-13 08:13:36

I could wire a plug but have never yet felt the need to. I'd quite like an excuse to though... Maybe I can go around damaging wires or bending pins! grin DH would probably fix it though. He loves DIY so I hardly ever get a look in! He's more competent than me too so usually I just let him get on with it.

Even he says he's never had to wire a plug & he's designed & built a remote control plane from scratch!

picnicbasketcase Sun 28-Apr-13 08:16:42

Yep, same as a lot of you, was taught it in school in Physics but have never ever needed to do it. I'm not sure if it would even occur to me to try it. If something electrical broke, I'd assume it had died and either live without it or buy a new one, not arse about with wiring.

SoupDragon Sun 28-Apr-13 08:18:06

Why are you lot wiring plugs?

Well, in the past I've made an extra long extension cable so I could mow the lawn. Socket + wire + plug.

I have to admit that I've never changed a tyre.

I have changed a wheel, ie, bunged the spare one on so I can get home. But the process of actually putting a new tyre on a rim is something I've always left to the mechanic when I've needed replacement tyres.

GibberTheMonkey Sun 28-Apr-13 08:24:53

Wasn't taught at school but do know how
Can't remember if I've ever actually needed to
Never changed a tyre or wheel either, on a car that is. I have plenty of times on a (push) bike or fixed the puncture
Never filled a car with fuel either

Jojo - another married to a rc person I see. Is the plane still alive?

RustyBear Sun 28-Apr-13 08:28:49

When I learned how to wire a plug, the colours were red for live, green for earth and black for neutral- much more logical, as red was the danger - now it's brown for live, which seems daft to me.

Bike tyres are easy, albeit a bit fiddly. Bike brakes I find to be the manifestation of Satan.

mercibucket Sun 28-Apr-13 08:33:58

There is no need to ever wire a plug, surely?
Do they mean wire it directly eg when you buy a cooker and it comes without a plug and you wire it direct into the wall?

GibberTheMonkey Sun 28-Apr-13 08:34:04

I never u deed told who came up with the colour coding either
Surely logically brown should be earth
And the striped bright flashy one would make sense as live
So neutral could be blue

But no, not that obvious.

Anyone know why they are the way they are?

GibberTheMonkey Sun 28-Apr-13 08:34:31

u deed understood

cjdamoo Sun 28-Apr-13 08:38:35

Ive done it s few times Tbh and changed fuses.

mummylin Sun 28-Apr-13 08:42:31

I can change plugs but I do have a free electrician as well because I am married to one ! he s not always at home when the fuses go or something minor like this so I think it's a good thing to know.

ProfYaffle Sun 28-Apr-13 08:46:29

I was taught at school too but haven't had to for years and years. Fuses don't seem to need changing anymore either confused

inde Sun 28-Apr-13 08:48:07

*I grew up in used to have to buy the plug separately????


I think appliances coming without a plug fitted came about because not all houses had the sockets that are the standard today. I grew up in a house that had different sockets to the ones we have today. One of the pins on them contained the fuse so that if it blew you didn't have to dismantle the plug. The problem was though that it used to unscrew and when you pulled the plug out left the fuse pin their, still live. When I was a kid I got a shock more than once from trying to pull the pin from the socket whilst it was still live.

NewAtThisMalarky Sun 28-Apr-13 08:48:16

When the cord for my vacuum cleaner got sliced quite near the plug, I cut the wire and reattached a new plug (had to be a new one as the old ond was a moulded one). This was about six months ago. There's no way I was going to buy a new one when fixing it cost about £2 and took less than 5 minutes.

mercibucket Sun 28-Apr-13 08:50:52

I've never changed a plug, and the last fuse that needed changing was ....... 15 years ago maybe. Weird. Maybe things just break now before the fuse/plug goes? I can't see that plugs and fuses have got better while the average electrical item on the whole has got a far far shorter lifespan than it used to.

AvrilPoisson Sun 28-Apr-13 08:52:24

I agree gibber- colour system is potty!

We learnt at school (and were taught old colours just in case we came across older appliances!) Though my parents taught me too, as a useful skill (indded they had a fantastic extension a la Soupy grin)

The nuts on my wheels are far too tight to loosen btw.

Could I ask though... now one has to have everything signed off by an electrician (changing light fittings, wall switches etc) does that apply to plugs too? Our built-in oven didn't come with a plug, though it's definitely the type you plug-in not wire in, so we had to fit one.

woopsidaisy Sun 28-Apr-13 08:53:52

I have never wired a plug. I would not attempt to wire a plug. I'd get someone who could do it to do it.
I thought I was normal, apparently not!
However, I have also never needed to do it, thank goodness.As it would appear I would be a laughing stock.
DH is similarly useless at this kind of thing. We store up all our DIY stuff, picture frames to be put up, small household repairs etc and get a handyman in. I don't think it is that big a deal tbh. We are crap at that stuff but good at other things. No biggie.

janey223 Sun 28-Apr-13 08:56:34

Never shown how to wire a plug :-/

I won't touch anything electrical though! I'll ask a friend, my landlord or wait on my dad visiting, I'd feel like an idiot calling out an electrician for something so simple but too scared I'd end up blowing it up or something!

CouthySaysEatChoccyEggs Sun 28-Apr-13 08:59:39

I was taught to wire a plug at school. Don't know if DD has been though. I will have to ask her.

Victoria2002 Sun 28-Apr-13 09:00:40

I learned at brownies-but I think I know loads of people who wouldn't know how to. Fairly obsolete now though.

CouthySaysEatChoccyEggs Sun 28-Apr-13 09:03:08

I do have a friend who was going to buy a new toaster. When I had a look at her toaster, it was obvious that all she needed to do was change the fuse. She didn't even know that plugs had a fuse in them...

StepAwayFromTheEcclesCakes Sun 28-Apr-13 09:03:40

DH is quite handy but will not touch electrics... all that comes to me. I wire plugs and recently replaced a ceiling light fitting while he stood by the ladder in awe grin

I have changed dozens of plugs over the years. I moved abroad about 16 years ago and everything electrical I brought from England had to be changed from a 3 pin to a 2 pin plug. And when I moved back home a couple of years ago, loads of stuff I had bought in Europe had to changed to an English plug. It's one of the most useful things my lovely dad taught me smile

maddening Sun 28-Apr-13 09:12:34

I can wire plugs and some things used to come without a plug.

Also non moulded plugs as used to be the norm would wear the cable in which case you would remove the plug and shorten the wire and replace the plug.

But too many were injured by faulty application of plugs. So now everything comes with a moulded plug.

MrsPennyapple Sun 28-Apr-13 09:14:32

I learned how to wire a plug at school too, and I've done it a few times over the years. Once was when a desk had holes for cables to go through, but the hole was too small for the whole plug to go through. Whip it off, poke the cables through, wire it up again. Easy. (I think it was some piece of craft equipment that was going to be used in one place and not moved around.)

MsAverage Sun 28-Apr-13 09:20:44

The organic vegbox is definitely the star. So beautiful, that I suspect that someone is just trolling the Guardian.

Iaintdunnuffink Sun 28-Apr-13 09:26:52

I was born in 1970 and grew up wiring plugs, if you bought a new stereo or lamp it needed the plug putting on. My younger brothers, born in the 80's, have never needed to wire a plug and I doubt they know where to start with out the use of You Tube.

DoJo Sun 28-Apr-13 09:28:26

If you have kit with plugs on that you move around regularly, then being able to wire a plug still comes in very handy - plus casements are often quite brittle and dropping one can cause it to crack quite easily. Similarly, if you ever damage the cable, by losing a bit of insulation off it or similar, you can just chop the plug off, expose the wires and re-attach. I accept that we probably do it in our house much more than your average family but I'm surprised that there are those who have never had to do it.

MrsPennyapple Sun 28-Apr-13 09:29:23

I've also disconnected and re-connected a gas cooker, when moving house. I asked someone at work if I could realistically do it myself or if I really ought to call someone, he told me how to do it (turn gas off and then squeeze and twist the metal bit on the pipe at the back) and I did it. No idea how much the gas people would have charged me for that 2.5 seconds work, but probably a lot.

I have no idea how to chane a tyre or a wheel though. In my defense, I've only been driving a couple of months. It's on my To Learn list.

MrsPennyapple Sun 28-Apr-13 09:32:53

So, does anyone else still chop the plugs off appliances that are being thrown away, or is it just me? There are times when you need to chop off the moulded plug that's on something, and you need a plug to replace it with. Not that I go around throwing away appliances with abandon, but it happens from time to time, and I generally save the plug if it's not a moulded one.

CheerfulYank Sun 28-Apr-13 09:36:53

I'm with Tee...I'm American and have never heard of this. confused

My dad can do some wiring; my mom restores chandeliers and dad often has to
rewire them. But it's not something most people I know can do.

StepAwayFromTheEcclesCakes Sun 28-Apr-13 09:40:05

mrspennyapple dh always always does this we had a box full until I threw a load out recently, kept a few as spares but most things have moulded plugs now so we have less.

MrsPennyapple Sun 28-Apr-13 09:44:46

StepAway Yes, I did stop myself when I had two or three kicking around my toolbox smile There can only be so many times that you need a new plug.

KansasCityOctopus Sun 28-Apr-13 10:01:46

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

TheBigJessie Sun 28-Apr-13 11:43:34

I've never rewired a plug, but I think I do know how. I save the little wiring guides. I have changed fuses, much to the disgust of my FIL. (Who said, "I've never heard of changing the fuse making things work again". I took great joy in showing him that I had been right, it just needed a new fuse.) grin

During the 90's/early 21st century, it seemed that all people selling electrical items at car boots used to cut the plug off first. Anyone else remember that? So you had to find a plug once you'd got home with your new lamp/toaster/etc.

Rosesforrosie Sun 28-Apr-13 11:55:40

I was shown how to do it at school.

But it has never ever come up in all my years of being an adult. So tbh IF it did come up (don't really see how it would) I probably wouldn't do it myself.

It's an obsolete skill for a reason.

iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii Sun 28-Apr-13 12:01:31

I have not had to change a plug for years...... but, with the help of YOUTUBE I can do anything.

Changing wheels is easy, I couldn't be bothered waiting for the AA.

freddiefrog Sun 28-Apr-13 12:01:44

I've never wired a plug either.

I know how to, so could if I had to, but every electrical item I've ever bought has had a plug moulded to it.

I definately wouldn't call out an electrician to do it

Although, embarrassingly, I did call a plumber to plumb in our dishwasher. DH was away for work for 3 weeks and I didn't have the faintest idea where to start

TryDrawing Sun 28-Apr-13 12:04:49

I've had the extremely frustrating task of trying to recruit electrical assembly staff. Care to guess what percentage of the interviewees were able to correctly wire a plug and socket on to a length of cable?

Trill Sun 28-Apr-13 12:07:51

I think YABU to think most people have any interaction with plugs at all other than plugging them in.

I neither wire my own plugs nor pay an electrician to wire plugs for me

Everything I have ever bought that needed a plug already had a plug attached.

trixymalixy Sun 28-Apr-13 12:10:47

I've wired plugs loads of times, but haven't needed to for years.

I've also wired light fittings and new sockets and wired in my new electric oven when I was a student much to the amazement of my friend.

I've also changed wheels on my car, used loads of power tools, done minor plumbing.

happybubblebrain Sun 28-Apr-13 12:11:15

My plumber said to me "if you don't know how to wire a plug how do you expect to teach your daughter to do it?" I thought that was a bit harsh as it's something you learn to do when you need to; and I haven't needed to. It takes 2 minutes to learn from the internet. There is certainly no need to call out an electrician for this.

5madthings Sun 28-Apr-13 12:11:56

I know how to wire a plug, learn at school. But have never actually had to change a plug. I could if I needed to tho.

DH changed a tyre the other day - I watched to learn.

I physically couldn't have done it though. I couldn't have reached the spare for a start (slung underneath) and not strong enough for the screwing (fnarrr).

I can wire a plug but I've never needed to. I certainly wouldn't pay someone to do so!

happybubblebrain Sun 28-Apr-13 12:16:37

*note: there could only be a problem if I need to wire a plug for the computer to get on the internet in the first place.

YoniBottsBumgina Sun 28-Apr-13 12:16:45

I learnt at school but have never needed do it. You can't any more anyway can you? Even fuses are in a little clippy-out thing. If the plug on something broke (which has never happened ever) I'd probably just buy a new whatever it was - it wouldn't have occurred to me (until reading this thread) to just change the plug on it.

I'm too young to remember items being sold without plugs - I was amazed when we we did a car boot as a teenager and my mum dragged out an ancient wedding present she'd had and it didn't have a plug attached!

Am moving abroad soon though so maybe the skill will come in handy.

zukiecat Sun 28-Apr-13 12:17:41

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

YoniRaver Sun 28-Apr-13 12:20:25

I had two packs of 12 plugs in my garage (left over form when my DH did PAT testing) for years.... I thought they would come in handy but they never have

squeakytoy Sun 28-Apr-13 12:25:33

Do any of you lot know how to change a fuse on a plug?

I have been able to put a plug on an electrical item since I was about 11 years old.

It isnt any more difficult than changing a lightbulb!

iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii Sun 28-Apr-13 12:26:38

The thing to remember when changing a tyre is that the wrenches supplied with some cars can be a bit crappy. I always buy a good quality strong wrench that i can jump on which gives enough torque to cope with MOST wheel nuts including those that have been tightened by a power wrench.

YoniBottsBumgina Sun 28-Apr-13 12:28:00

Colours are because live used to be red and neutral green, but this caused problems for people who were red/green colour blind so they changed them to the more contrasting brown and striped, if they had swapped them over you can be sure there would have been more confusion swapping systems.

I am finding it quite funny that the Americans are so aghast though, since the US plug/socket system has to be the dodgiest in use in the developed world today!

ImTooHecsyForYourParty Sun 28-Apr-13 12:28:16

People really should know how to do simple things like that. I've even taken off a sealed plug, stripped the wires back and put a new plug on when the sealed one was damaged. i refuse to chuck away a perfectly good appliance because of a cracked plug!

And we replaced the heating element on our electric cooker. And replaced one of the knobs (not the front bit but the entire mechanism)

replacing fuses, replacing the washing machine belt, new ceiling roses, etc...

These are all basic things that everyone should know how to do.

confusteling Sun 28-Apr-13 12:42:15

I can't wire a plug or fix machinery. Can't sew either or use a sewing machine. Very little idea how to replace buttons or how to fix most things, and I can only just change a lightbulb. I've been taught how to do the latter 4 (never been taught how to wire a plug, never learnt much about electricity at all) but still struggle to do even the most basic parts.

I do have dyspraxia though and given that I can barely chop up my own dinner, it just seems safer and easier to ask others to help me out grin!! I just have to tell people the story about the time I sat on an electric fence, or the time I broke a sewing machine by trying to thread it, and people practically drag me away from the item!!

LadyIsabellaWrotham Sun 28-Apr-13 12:46:39

It's a handy skill if you have to put a cable through a small hole in eg a hifi cabinet. My college halls of residence had plugs of a type seen nowhere else in the UK, so I had a load of practice at a formative age changing the plugs on radio, stereo, lamp, kettle, hairdryer and then changing them all back again when I moved out. I'd be pretty unimpressed by anyone who hired an electrician to do it, although I do use an electrician to change sockets and light fittings because I get The Fear.

LessMissAbs Sun 28-Apr-13 13:00:23

The UK is getting more and more controlled over things like this. Its now in the (Scottish) Building Regulations at least that homeowners are not allowed to fit their own socket ^covers in their own homes". That's totally OTT and impracticable.

As for doing stuff myself, I don't mind getting my hands dirty. I can wire plugs, do all my own painting and tiling, go up a ladder to clean my own windows, unblock a washing machine, change a tyre on my car and bleed the brakes, change the oil, filters, etc.. I literally shovel shit on a daily basis - I muck out my own horses. And my job is purely office based, I who went straight from school to university to my profession. I have a very fond memory of my flatmate at uni, a particularly spoilt pretty girl private school type, who astonished me by immediately plumbing in a second hand washing machine we had just had delivered in minutes with no leaks, worked perfectly.

Yet I have friends who do more practical type jobs, who wouldn't dream of sullying their hands with such tasks.

ImTooHecsyForYourParty Sun 28-Apr-13 13:05:37

oh god, getting your hands dirty - drains. unblocking the drain outside was a job that will haunt me forever grin It bloody stank.

WinnieFosterTether Sun 28-Apr-13 13:14:57

I've wired plugs and changed fuses. I just thought everyone did hmm I've never changed a wheel although I know the theory of how to do it. My downfall is washing windows - I'm rubbish at it [squints through streaky glass at outside world]

ImTooHecsyForYourParty Sun 28-Apr-13 13:18:06

Mum, is that you?
windows dirtier after she's had a go!

HazeltheMcWitch Sun 28-Apr-13 13:21:03

Ooh, I changed a plug... yesterday !! Do I win the internet?
Just as Ladyisabella said, I wanted to put a cable though a small hole in a cabinet, which meant taking the plug off, then putting it back one the cable was threaded through. Well, my mum did; it was her house.

She was happy that I drilled the little hole, but we had a quick debate over who got to do the plug. We both wanted to do it, as neither of us had changed one in so long. I won, so she made the tea. The plug was quicker.

siezethenight Sun 28-Apr-13 13:26:31

I took off a sealed plug just last week as the prong was bent - it was the hoover. Had to cut it off, strip back the wires inside, take a regular plug off an appliance we never use and put it onto the hoover plus change the fuses.... I can't believe anybody would pay for this to be done... That people do not know how to do it. What happens if your prong gets bent? You get a new hoover or pay a man that can? Bonkers.

Rosesforrosie Sun 28-Apr-13 13:27:19

Can anyone explain why people really ought to be able to change a plug? What's so awful about people who can't?

DH, a sparky, realised he should take over wiring plugs when he 'caught' me using a tea spoon, sharp knife and my teeth to change one.

It was his fault though, if he had left his shed organised then I could have used the correct tools.

Pigsmummy Sun 28-Apr-13 13:29:46

When buying new goods plugs are supplied so it's a non story really, I am 38 and it was taught in school but I doubt that it will be now after the law change.

kim147 Sun 28-Apr-13 13:35:41

I lived in a rented house. The fuse went so I looked for the fuse box so I could just press it back in.

No fuse box. Just big fuses with fuse wire. WTF is fuse wire? Google (OK - DF) taught me about it.

ImTooHecsyForYourParty Sun 28-Apr-13 13:37:59

It's not awful to not know how, it's just that it does come in handy to be able to.

Like my plug. One of those new fangled sealed ones, with the fuse that you can change without going into the plug. It got cracked. If i didn't know how to change a plug, I would have had to either buy a new item or call someone to come and help me.

As it was, I cut off the plug, cut away some of the outer tube, freed the wires inside, stripped off a bit to show the wire and used an old plug.

A plug is such a minor thing and yet people can sometimes chuck away a perfectly good item because of it! Bonkers.

Jan49 Sun 28-Apr-13 13:39:09

Rosesforrosie, well if you can't change a plug and you don't have anyone who will do it for you, you'll be stuck. Or maybe buying a new appliance because you can't change the plug. Or continuing to use an appliance with a few bare wires sticking out which you could electrocute yourself on.

Rosesforrosie Sun 28-Apr-13 13:46:13

I would put it to you that most people if pushed could look it up on YouTube if the situation arose. Or can ask someone else to help.

If someone is stupid enough to use a plug with bare wires sticking out, then not being able to change the plug is the least of their day to day worries I'd have thought.

So worst case scenario is to buy a new appliance? I'm not sure that is such a dreadful tragedy.

As I say, I know the theory (and physics graduate DH, certainly does). But in all my adult life the situation just hasn't arisen. Plugs don't break... Certainly not before the original appliance is superseded/breaks anyway.

"Exhibit One is a picture intituled "Wiring my own white goods because I can't afford an electrician"."

I wonder if this is quite as pathetic as it seems. I don't think this person is talking about putting a plug on a kettle - 'white goods' usually just means the big items like cookers and fridges. Cookers in particular don't have a plug but are wired into the mains. When I first moved home, my uncle - an electrician - cautioned me against connecting my cooker up myself, and insisted that he come round and do it for me. (For free, so not like a tradesman just drumming up business.) Done wrong, e.g. not switching off at the mains or not earthing properly, could produce a deathtrap.

JollyPurpleGiant Sun 28-Apr-13 13:52:19

I changed a light switch cover myself a couple of years ago. I live in Scotland. Wonder if I've gone against building regs. Oops!

WinnieFosterTether Sun 28-Apr-13 13:55:20

ImTooHecsy I wish I was your dm then you could wash my windows for me grin I've googled so many tips on washing windows and they still always look worse when I'm finished.

GinOnTwoWheels Sun 28-Apr-13 14:18:18

^DH, a sparky, realised he should take over wiring plugs when he 'caught' me using a tea spoon, sharp knife and my teeth to change one.

It was his fault though, if he had left his shed organised then I could have used the correct tools.^

Binky, I went out and bought my own tools because my DP has the world's largest collection of tools mostly aincient and broken but inherited from his DF or DGF in the world's most untidly shed. Therefore, I am unable to find anything.

The ikea ones are cheap and good quality and come in a nice little case. I keep them in the billy bookcase and DP is not allowed to touch them on pain of death. When I need to change a fuse or whatever, I go get my own toolbox and complete the task without fuss.

I work in a technical industry and we often ask interviewees to wire a plug at interview. The success rate is not good.

gin I've now bought my self a little tool kit, an ikea one, DH is also not allowed any where near it. He bought me a screwriver set a few years ago and slowly they have disappeared into his shed.

JaponicaTroggs Sun 28-Apr-13 14:45:32

A lot of "why isn't everyone me" crowing on this thread. Not everyone is practical. I can't do most of the things mentioned, plugs, changing tyres., sewing. I have really poor fine motor skills in particular, can't do anything remotely fiddly, even threading a needle could take me an hour. I could research how to wire a plug and tell you how to do it but couldn't do it myself.
It makes you feel enough of a failure having no practicall skills without others sneering about it. I'm constantly having to justify not driving as well (non existent co-ordination, spatial awareness and panicky anxiety). I am a good cook though!

Yonihadtoask Sun 28-Apr-13 15:00:12

I was taught how to wire a plug at a young age. But haven't done it for many years as most things now come with the plug already on.

I haven't ever changed a car wheel though. I called the RAC out the one time I had a flat. Don't have a spare in this car, just the filler stuff and compressor. I don't want t try that out either.

Jan49 Sun 28-Apr-13 15:09:11

Japonica, I think the point is that with some things either you need to be able to do them or you need someone else to do them, and wiring a plug is not something you'd call a professional for, I don't think. Being unable to do some things doesn't make you a failure. But I'm a single parent with no family except abroad and I haven't got anyone I'd ask. I either need to do things myself or pay a professional. I don't mind paying but I feel very awkward about things that I can't do but which aren't suitable to pay someone to do.

I can see that nowadays it's probably not often necessary to wire a plug, and I don't have to do it very often. BTW I can't drive

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

JaponicaTroggs Sun 28-Apr-13 15:19:22

Jan, if I didnt have anyone else, I would have to pay someone or buy a new appliance. There's a difference between bring able to learn to do something yourself so as not to rely on others and not physically being able to it yourself. I would love to be able to do these things, I just can't. I would love to be able to wallpaper/paint instead of waiting for DH to do it, but Frank Spencer would do it better than me! grin

JaponicaTroggs Sun 28-Apr-13 15:22:10

Oh and I wasn't brought up with a "girls can't do these things" attitude, my mum and sisters are great at these things, I am the only practical failure in the family.

LaFataTurchina Sun 28-Apr-13 15:24:06

Where you left it - My dad installed my parents old oven/cooker and was thrown across the room by an electric shock! He was fine luckily.

I know electricity probably doesn't throw people across kitchens but that's the way he tells the story.

BlackeyedSusan Sun 28-Apr-13 15:36:33

oh fuck. I demolished aa non supporting wall in the kitchen. I wallpapered aand painted the living room... 8 months pregnant... and I caan change tyre, and haave done so on more than one occsion. (never at the side of motorway though, that would be silly)

did not realise I was supposed to get someone to do it for me.. how silly.

Rosesforrosie Sun 28-Apr-13 17:49:28

Susan, you've missed the point. You are not 'supposed' to do anything, you can do those things or not. With no shame or pride attached.

quoteunquote Sun 28-Apr-13 18:30:17

bRown goes right, R
bLue goes left, L

I'm a bit shock that there are people who can't change a plug.


The point is is that wiring one's own plugs (instead of paying an electrician to do it) does not in the least demonstrate that one is hard up (except perhaps at the Guardian). WIring a plug (unlike some of the other things mentioned on this thread) isn't hard to do, and if one needs to do it it is easy to find out how.

MinnesotaNice Sun 28-Apr-13 19:42:31

Another American who has never even heard of wiring plugs!
<<waves to Tee and Cheerful>>

However, my DF did make me change a tire before taking me to get my driver's license. In fact, at the age of 16, he first made me take the tire off, then put it back on myself. The one time I actually needed this skill, I couldn't get the lug nuts off and the garage who ended up doing it said it was never going to happen as they had rusted on.

I think changing a tire oneself is less relevant today with the prevalence of cell phones to call for professional assistance. Especially with the fact that it seems most already pay for roadside assistance so why not use it? (Although if you don't have cell coverage, you may be screwed.)

mathanxiety Sun 28-Apr-13 20:09:53

To all the mystified Americans:

Description of types of plugs. American plugs (type B) are dangerous, British and Irish (type G) are among the safest.

ChaoticTranquility Sun 28-Apr-13 20:49:03

My nan taught me how to change a plug.


The last time I had to change a plug was about 4 years ago after Chaoticdog chewed the plug off the vacuum hmm

KatyTheCleaningLady Sun 28-Apr-13 20:51:27

I thought my husband was some kind of handy genius. Now I know this is just a common British thing.

MadBusLady Sun 28-Apr-13 20:52:21

What's a plug?

Pixel Sun 28-Apr-13 21:11:25

I was taught at school when I was about 12 and used to do all ours at home but as everyone else has said it isn't something that I've needed to do for a long time. Actually I quite miss it, one of those easy little jobs that are quite satisfying, not sure why. smile

We were taught that 'The Live brown cow stood on the green and yellow Earth under the Neutral blue sky' but I think the colours have been changed since then. Shows how long ago that was!

I'm not sure if DD has been taught at school but I'm willing to bet she hasn't.

YoniBottsBumgina Sun 28-Apr-13 22:27:47

No those are the current colours. It's the older ones which were plain green and red.

I was taught at school in 2002 so pretty far after the law change.

Still18atheart Sun 28-Apr-13 22:40:48

I can wire a plug, but I don't think I've ever needed to.

Parker231 Sun 28-Apr-13 22:47:14

I learnt how to change a plug at school but not sure I've ever actually changed a plug now they all come already on appliances and yes I do call the AA to change a tyre and a decorator to paint the living room - he was here last week !

landrover Sun 28-Apr-13 22:48:07

All you lot, have you never changed a fuse either? Sometimes you will need to change a plug, say it gets damaged, cracked or whatever!
Mind you, when i was a child, my dad taught me how to stick the wires in the socket and another plug on top if we couldnt find a spare plug to put on it!!!!!(highly dangerous, dont try this at home!!!!!)

VivaLeBeaver Sun 28-Apr-13 22:56:59

I've wired plugs before. I can remember as a student in 1995 it was cheaper to buy a plug less lamp, wire and a plug and DIY it all together than to buy a lamp with a plug. I saved myself £1:50 doing that!

Sometimes now ill change fuses in plugs when they blow. Doesn't happen often these days.

I changed the plug on my ghd's recently as I snapped the top pin off the plug. Still worked ok but you can't plug them in in hotels without the top pin.

WellJustCallHimDave Sun 28-Apr-13 23:00:58

"So, does anyone else still chop the plugs off appliances that are being thrown away, or is it just me?"

It's not just you, MrsPennyapple. I have a small boxful of the damn things! It's a habit I picked up from my Grandad, back in the days when you had to wire a plug onto a new electrical item.

I learned to wire a plug when I was about 9 years old. My Mum taught me as she said that it was something all girls should learn rather than depending on a man to do it, "especially if you haven't got a man about the house - what would you do, run into the street and collar the first one you saw because you couldn't wire your own plug?!"

YoniBottsBumgina Sun 28-Apr-13 23:06:31

You shouldn't be able to plug things in anywhere in the UK without the top pin, because the top hole needs something inserted to open the shutters on the bottom two.

However friends from Germany tell me that they just used a matchstick to open the shutters when they stayed in Ireland and plugged their European 2-pin plugs into the bottom two of the UK socket. I tried this with an adapter and it fits - I hadn't realised.

YoniBottsBumgina Sun 28-Apr-13 23:08:58

British plugs though have to be the most indestructible, painful thing ever to be invented except perhaps lego.

I bet Americans and Europeans don't have injuries from where they have stepped on plugs. Someone I know has a 3-rectangle scar on her back where she once fell out of bed onto a plug!

Shaky Sun 28-Apr-13 23:11:28

I am ashamed to say that I do not know how to wire a plug or change a tyre.
But that is because I have never tried to learn how.

2 weeks ago I didn't know how to operate a sewing machine. I bought a mini sewing machine from eBay, read the instructions.

Tonight I made 3 "treasure bags" for ds' nursery.

You don't know what you can do until you actually try to do it!

I might just learn how to wire a plug tomorrow grin

Startail Sun 28-Apr-13 23:19:56

DSIS dozed off in her plug wiring lesson, so the teacher hauled ber out to demonstrate.

He was very blush when she did it perfectly.

(Dad had her taught her when she got a new record player)

I never had a plug fitting lesson, set one were never taught anything that useful.

Shaky Sun 28-Apr-13 23:30:42

Yoni yes, I have stood on many plugs and knelt on lots of Lego. It is a close contest but I think the bastarding stood on plug wins, hands down.

firesideskirt Sun 28-Apr-13 23:37:16

I've never wired a plug. I've never had to - have never bought anything that didn't have one already attached. It's not 1980 any more...

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