Friday, 17 September 2010

Part of the bloke departs

    Our oven died this evening. My wife nearly cried. What happened? An electronic component fried itself in the power supply and filled our flat with the unmistakable aroma of burned circuitry. It turned out we'd neglected one of the air intakes on the back of the machine and it had become clogged with dust over the couple of years since we last moved it, this might have contributed to the unit's demise.
     I am an electronic engineer by training. Not too long ago I'd have had the back off the unit in no time and there is a good chance that I might have been able to fix it. I have the skills, even if I don't use them for a living any more. Tonight I recognised that there was a good chance that if I tried to repair it we'd be left with yet another project, so we pointed this web browser at Argos and reserved a replacement oven for pickup tomorrow afternoon.
     I can't help thinking that yet another piece of the me that used to be has just departed. Tinkering with machines used to be almost what defined me, yet here I am throwing in the towel at the first tendril of smoke. There is still a chance I'll take a look to see what failed, but by then a new oven will be in place. Part of me feels as though it is missing.
    The new oven is a direct replacement from the same manufacturer for the one that failed. If you are looking for a combination microwave and fan oven then I can heartily recommend a Panasonic inverter oven. Just because ours died after six years doesn't mean they aren't damn good pieces of kit if you clean their air intake!


  1. I used to do electrical work for a living too, and I can't stand to do any kind of mechanical work anymore either. Also, my time and effort are worth a lot to me, so if I can replace something that broke for a reasonable price, I would far rather do that, than go through all of the aggravation of driving into town and back to get a repair part, only to find that I need some special tool that I don't have.

    Melissa XX

  2. Whilst not an electronic engineer by training, I've always been a tinkerer - and did some basic stuff as an AS level, and took it further as part of my degree.

    I was 20 before I owned my first stereo that I didn't have to fix first to get it working - blown capcitors or diodes were the normal thing I had to sort. These days I let others do the work I have to admit. The stereo's are worth more, and the technology far more advanced than just fixing a couple of minor components.

    It's the same with cars. The Spit I'll dismantle, the Volvo goes to the garage.


  3. Jenny,

    This is more changing prespective with age rather that TG growing. Over the years we learn by experience the scope of a job and how quick or slow it might take to do. And the time factor of how long it could take. Taking a week or so to fix an oven (assuming delays in getting parts or tools) is not worth the wait and dealing with the wife wanting it now. to be honest, if cash is not a huge driver, its better to not incur the wait for something that could be seen as a critical item.

    I think you made the right decision here and would have done the same.

  4. Apart from the rare tinkering behind the desktop pc I don't even attempt to fix anything these days and all sorts organisations like the HSE celebrate the news every day. :-)

  5. I trust you are going to prepare a lovely Sunday roast for your wife in that new oven of yours.

  6. We call it "The Rule of Ted": if it's worth doing yourself, do it. If it isn't, you're better off paying someone to do it.

    Don't feel bad - I can take a Chevy V8 or a Honda engine apart and put it back together in fairly short order. (Transmissions take a wee bit longer.) But we still take my wife's Honda to the dealer for maintenance! (And I don't touch my Ducati!)

    The reason we call it the "Rule of Ted" is because Ted was the one who expressed it best. :-)

    Carolyn Ann

  7. Thanks all,

    I suppose there's as much horror of getting older and perhaps wiser as there is of other changes in this post. As it is Mrs. J is not going to be upset at me for leaving a big pile of bits in our kitchen and I can rustle up one of those apple pies in no time as before. It's a tiny bit small for a roast!

    I was in my thirties before I owned a television I hadn't repaired from a skip(dumpster) and there was a time when the intricacies of the Austin A series engine were second nature to me. I guess we all move on.