The electric sofa and the one armed man

Yesterday, or the day before, depending how long it takes to complete this post, the flat-landlord had to pay an electrician to test all his stuff for electrical safety. Portable Appliance Testing it’s called and it applies to anything plugged in and moveable.

The idea is that things that can move will have wear and tear on the cable and could wear through the insulation and short out. Fair enough, really.

He tested a bedside lamp, the fridge and the washing machine. None of my stuff was included (yet). I have moved the fridge, to be fair, to clean behind it once or twice. I have never moved the washing machine and the bedside lamp… who needs to move a bedside lamp?

So the landlord now has this extra expense as well as having to have useless smoke detectors installed. Useless because I’m on the top floor, the flat below me is owner-occupied and he is not legally required to have smoke alarms. If his place catches fire, my options are a) the blazing stairwell with metal rails or b) plummet to the concrete pavement below. Smoke alarms in this flat don’t help me at all.

It’s all part of the SNP government’s drive to push up rents to where we common plebs can’t afford to live anywhere but in a tent in the woods.

Every expense thrown at landlords gets eventually passed on to tenants. It has to. Otherwise the landlord makes no profit and sells off all the property instead of renting it. Then there is nothing to rent and you have to buy, even if you don’t plan to live in a place for long. Moving will mean selling, not just saying ‘end of lease, goodbye’.

Next will be the testing of the tenant’s stuff. Your toaster will be condemned and you’ll pay an electrician for the privilege, then have to buy another toaster. That’s socialism, you see. Keep the poor poor. Make sure they never turn into capitalists.

One advantage of buying from a second hand shop is that they already have to test electrical goods. They can’t sell it untested. So the electric sofa I bought from a one armed man has been tested and proven to be electrically safe.

It’s really not portable. Two guys brought it in, separated into five parts, and put it together for me. I can barely shift it on my own. It has test pass stickers on the parts that plug into the wall so it’s safe to use.

It’s not in the flat. It’s in the next residence – cheaper than the flat even though it’s vastly bigger, but mostly unfurnished. So the second hand shops will see quite a lot of me in the near future.

They deliver. They managed to find my new place with only having to phone me three times. That’s pretty good. They charge for delivery so I waited until I could get several items at once, and only pay one delivery charge. The charge was £15, not bad really, and delivery was – next day! I was most impressed.

The staff are mostly volunteers and those that are paid aren’t paid very much – but they are all cheery and happy in their work. The two who brought the delivery didn’t even mind having to get through the Grape Triffid in the greenhouse to get the stuff inside.

I have been trimming the Grape Triffid, gradually. I have found bunches of green grapes among the black ones and it turns out there are two of them, so neglected as to seem like one. Most of this year’s grapes are mouldy because the growth was so dense there was no air circulating. There are vents but the vines had filled them.

The one armed man obviously wasn’t involved in the delivery. His job was in the showroom, pricing and selling. He offered me a very good price on an unpriced coffee table, I got a good sturdy desk for £15 and a very nice tall corner unit for almost bugger all.

The sofa, I looked at a few times before deciding. It’s huge, leather and in exceptionally good condition, and they wanted £120 for it. What sold me was when I asked the one-armed man about it and he said “You mean the electric sofa?”

“The what?” I thought it was leather. My mind, naturally, sped to places where executions are at least comfortable.

“It’s electric.” He showed me the cables. Two mains plugs for one sofa. “It reclines,” he said.

Well that was it. A sofa with reclining seats for that price? This chance was never coming my way again. It’s mine now, delivered and in place. The middle seat doesn’t move but both ends do.

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Luxury at pound shop prices. It’s electrically tested too. Yeah, I know, the place needs a bit of work to get the rest of the bland plasterboard off all that lovely granite, but I have pretty much carte blanche here.

As long as I don’t paint it black.

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