From Problem Solving to Problem Making


From a previous resident of my home, my late partner and I inherited an over-the-bed cupboard and two hideous built-in wardrobes, which weren’t even deep enough to hold a coat hanger. There were also little cubbyholes sunk into the wardrobes and they further lessened the space in the already narrow closets. The guy who built them was an electrician who clearly enjoyed plying his trade, for throughout the framework ran every form of lighting.

You switched on the bedroom light from the landing before entering the room. Then, when you climbed into bed, you could switch off the light by either of two switches above each cubbyhole. Before doing so, you could switch on the reading lights attached to the framework. There were lights in the wardrobes, operating when you opened and closed the doors. You get the picture.

Though this person may have been a skilled electrician, a carpenter he was not! The whole framework was built of 3”x2”s, using three and four inch nails in great abundance. The pine tongue and groove panelling was fixed with 1¼” panel pins and one of the wardrobes had a secret compartment at the bottom, so taking this contraption apart proved to be quite tedious. The louvre doors were easy to remove and then, with the aid of a claw hammer, I got down to the serious task, trying to work as carefully as possible and very cautious in the region of the hidden wiring.

Making things a bit more tricky were two faux beams. I had already ascertained they weren’t holding the ceiling up, but I had no way of knowing how heavy they were and I wondered if I removed the horizontal piece of wood holding the beams up, if I would be able to stop the beams falling on my head – or dropping to the floor when I freed the supports. I’m delighted to say the beams were as light as a feather – they felt like balsa wood!

I just moved a piece of MDF near the ceiling when the lights fused, so I pushed the MDF back up and fiddled with the wiring, then went and flicked the fuse on the consumer unit – and hurray – the lights came back on!

Continuing with the job in hand, the multitude of nails became more difficult to remove, so time for the trusty crowbar. I was able to pries some of the wood apart, but when it became too difficult there was nothing for it but a few good swings of the crowbar at the offending timber. I was just enjoying myself and fancying myself operating a wrecking ball, when out went the lights again! Another trip downstairs to the consumer unit, but alas, this time no joy. I’d done a proper job and imagined a weekend of darkness.

I phoned my trusty electrician and the dear fellow said he would come out the following morning, Saturday. It was too dark to continue my task, so I enjoyed a bath by candlelight and true to his word; the electrician was there in the morning. He found the fault, isolated it and then demolished the rest of the framework for me – and took away lots of the wood to burn on his stove. So good job all round!

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willosworld

Born in Liverpool at the end of WW2, but raised in Skelmersdale. I first studied art in Southport from 1960-63 and worked in graphic design till I married. In December 1969 I moved to Zambia with my husband and two young children. There I taught art in the local girls school, illustrated for the National Correspondence College and did all sorts of other artwork, paid and unpaid. In 1978 I divorced and remarried in the summer of 1980. In 1985 I became ill and the following year cancer was diagnosed. There was no treatment available in Zambia and so I had to go to the UK. After recovering from a radium needle implant I went back to Zambia, but 18 months later the cancer recurred and it was off to the UK again for radical surgery. This time I realised I must stay in the UK where treatment was available, so I never returned to Zambia nor my husband. A few months later I applied for a degree course, but two years later the disease metastasised and I spent most of my final year in and out of hospital. It’s been a long hard road, but I’m still plodding on and it is now 24 years since my last cancer treatment. Because of my experience of cancer and surviving against the odds, I try and help others cope with their devastating diagnosis and prognosis.

3 thoughts on “From Problem Solving to Problem Making”

  1. HALLO LIEBSTE WILLOW HABE DICH SEHR SEHR VERMIST HOFFE ES GEHT DIR GUT
    ICH HABE GESTERN EINE NACHUNTERSUCHUNG GEHABT ICH HATTE IM FEBRUAR 2013 EINE KREBS OPERATION GEH

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    1. Guten Tag, my apologies for the delay in replying. I have been trying to find someone to translate for me, but have failed, so now I’m trying ‘Google Translate’, which barely makes sense. I think you are saying you had surgery in February of this year. In which case I hope you are making a good recovery. Thank you for looking at my blog. Very best wishes, Willo.

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  2. WILLOW DER PC SPIEHLT VERRUECKT HATTE IM FEBRUAR 2013 EINE KREBSOPERATIN AN DARM KREBS GEHABT GESTERN WAR EIN NACHUNTERSUCH UNG UND DER DOKTOR SAGTE DAS ICH NOCH EINEN SCANNER MACHEN MUSS UND ER DENCKT DAS ICH ES GUT UEBERSTANDEN HABE JA ICH HABE DICH SCHON VERMIST WIE ICH SEHE HAST DUE EIN HAUSCHEN KUNTER BUNT VIEL ARBEIT WUENSCHE DAS DU ES AUCH SCHAFFST UND DANN WIEDER GENISSEN KANNST
    VERAENDERUNGEN IM HAUS GIBT IMMER EIN DRUNTER UND DRUEBER
    VIEL ERVOLG WUENSCHE DIR ALLES LIEBE JASMIN DAMARO

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