High Tory, high tea, high camp, yes-but high earth? It sounds like an imaginary land next to that occupied by the Hobbits, but is really a condition of the electrics: another thing to go wrong. Faulty toasters remain electricified rather than cutting out, and it’s the householder who becomes toast.
One is reminded of the Electrician in Hilaire Belloc’s poem: Some random touch-a hand’s imprudent slip The Terminals-a flash-a sound like ‘Zip!’ A smell of burning fills the started Air-The Electrician is no longer there!
When a British Gas engineer identified the problem, he said he ought to switch off the electricity. But he knew we’d only switch it on again, so merely phoned the energy company EDF, which maintains the cables. At 1.30am, EDF left a message to say a team would be with us in an hour, but if-as happened-we were asleep, they’d go away again.
Then came Christmas, appointments went unmet, heated telephone calls were made. Yesterday, two fluorescent jackets appeared. They’d been told to dig up the road and disconnect the supply permanently, presumably as a prelude to demolishing the house. They were dissuaded from doing so. Now, in addition to high earth, we risk high blood pressure, in something that increasingly resembles high farce.