Z sees the light

There has to be one change for the better, even when things are bleakest.  Let me give you an example…

My father died suddenly in January 1970, when I was sixteen.  Devastated though my mother was, she did take advantage of one opportunity., and that was to change our lavatory paper.

My dad was convinced that soft toilet paper was terribly unhygienic, because it was absorbent. Those of you who are younger than I am will probably have no idea what hard paper was – we used to use it as tracing paper at school when I was a child, it looked like greaseproof  paper and wasn’t very pleasant to wipe yourself with, and was pretty useless anyway.  As for soft paper being absorbent, one washes one’s hands anyway, so it hardly seemed a massive problem.  All the same, while he was alive, the hard and scratchy stuff was what we had.  And then we didn’t.  We went straight out and bought Andrex.

In my case, it’s light bulbs.  Russell had a strange and increasing penchant for living in the half-light.  These are big rooms and, whilst 60 watt bulbs (yes, I know it’s all about lumens nowadays, but I don’t know anyone who mentions them) are adequate, if there are at least four of them, they aren’t exactly bright.  But for the last few years, he always put in 40 watt bulbs – or the eco-friendly supposed equivalent, which were useless anyway –  and I have to light candles in the dining room to be able to see what I’m eating, even with the lights on.  And so, in the last few weeks, one of my small pleasures has been replacing the light bulbs.  Although I’ve been foxed in the dining room – the fittings require screw-in bulbs rather than bayonet ones, so I had to buy some new ones.  But they don’t work and I can’t think why.  You’d think a light bulb is a light bulb, but it seems not.  Any thoughts?

10 comments on “Z sees the light

  1. kipper

    You can no longer buy the 60 w standard bulb in my town. LED is really popular and the price is becoming affordable. Energy saving, the lights are supposed to work for years and the brightness is better than from a compact fluorescent. It sounds like you might need an electrician to check out the dining room fixture and solve the nonworking new lights problem.

  2. 63mago

    Sorry, can’t help with electricity. I screw in the bulb and it works, if not I may have done something wrong and some rattling cures it or the bulb is broken.
    All I know is that I need light, I hate this pale yellowish fog that drips from the ceiling and stops one meter over the floor. Modern bulbs often need some time to “heat”, it simply takes some time until they develop their strength – ? The fuses are still intact ? That is all I know about electricity.
    Kipper already mentioned LED – nowadays they come with warm light too. When they first appeared here it was a cold bluish light they emitted, comfortable like a train station, but now they have different grades of warmth to it. I think these kind of lams are good for pointing lights, not for flooding a large room, but I may be wrong.

  3. Liz

    I can remember that horrible, hard toilet paper from when I was a child. I remember using it at school (and using it as tracing paper) and I’m sure my mum bought it for home use at one time; presumably because it was cheaper than the soft stuff at one time.

    We also have a difference of opinion regarding lighting in our house. Sir Bruin likes lamps, but he would rather they were not switched on. This is because he is a life-long migraine sufferer and bright light can bring a migraine on. I, on the other hand, cannot bear low levels of light and find that straining to see in very low light gives me a headache, so striking a balance is challenging. Harmony can only be achieved in the bear household by a selection of lamps which can be turned on and off as required. I am never allowed the big light on!

    I have some old low-energy bulbs that must be getting on for 10 years old and are still working, so they did used to be long lasting. However, ones bought in the past couple of years don’t seem nearly as robust. The small ones (eg, to fit bedside lamps) seem particularly prone to explosions.

  4. Scarlet

    I also remember the hard toilet paper… it just smeared everything around 🙁
    I am about to migrate to the half light with lamps… I need soft lighting these days for a variety of reasons.

  5. Z Post author

    The old 40 watt equivalent works, the new one’s fittings look identical and it doesn’t. I’ve tried all the new ones in each of the sockets and I don’t see how one screw-in bulb is different from another. I don’t mind soft lighting, but there isn’t enough of it either – Russell had no eye problems, I’ve a feeling he just did it because I didn’t want him to!

    1. 63mago

      Then the only thing I can come up with is the strength of the current. I have no idea what you use in the UK generally or in your house in special, I vaguely remember to have heared that there was/is a difference to what is used on the continent. The house is a bit older, so may be the fittings / installation, perhaps only partly. But again, this is just a wild guess.

  6. allotmentqueen

    OMG – Izal – just don’t use it when you’ve got diarrhoea and the area’s sore already – oh, I think I’ve said too much already.
    Maplins still sell bayonet and screw light bulbs – http://www.maplin.co.uk/p/100w-rough-service-gls-light-bulbs-10-pack-bc-a28kq – you might need to search the site a bit to get screwfit or different wattages.
    Our local electrical shop reckon it’s not ‘legal’ to manufacture old-fashioned light bulbs any more, and the ones they did manage to get were made in Eastern Europe and lasted about five minutes. I think the Maplins ones (which are made by Ever Ready) bypass this by calling them ‘rough service’ (ie the kind you’d put in an inspection lamp) but they last a reasonable amount of time.
    As johng1962 says the ‘eco-friendly’ ones are rubbish, don’t degrade properly (in fact I’m not even sure you’re supposed to just ‘throw them away’) and don’t light the room up enough, or heat up quickly enough.
    LEDs will be the way to go but I don’t think at the moment there’s much available that is sympathetic to any property built more than twenty years ago.
    And 40W is bedside light size, not whole room.

    Still onwards and upwards – even if it’s only to the light fittings.

  7. kipper

    My parents always packed a roll of American bath tissue when going to Europe. Dad said he didn’t like the “waxed paper” toilet paper in B&Bs/hotels!


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