9. Frayed Wires

I got electrocuted the day before my wedding. My rabbits had got behind the fridge and had a good old chew – suspecting this had happened I moved the fridge to check it out, and there it was, the tell-tale glint of gold in the middle of the thick white power cord. I reached for the plug to switch it off, and made contact with another chewed bit – one I hadn’t noticed. Wham! Big jolt up the arm, rather shaken me standing, then sitting, in the middle of the floor.

Electricity is a bit scary, but never more so than when the innards of wires are exposed. It’s a particular kind of passive fear, based on the malevolent appearance of the frayed wires rather than the damage they might do. Since they will only do that damage if you’re stupid enough to touch them. A brief survey in the pub suggested the nastiest kind of frayed wire is that which is revealed when a plug socket is pulled out or removed – especially when you’ve just signed the contract on a rented property.

Behind this fear of course lurks a deeper worry – the fear of Being Shit at DIY. Exposed wires need to be dealt with in a forthright DIY fashion: I am sure I am not alone in suspecting I belong to a pampered generation that has no idea how to cope with even the smallest household emergency, let alone a thicket of lethal electrified cables poking out of the wall.