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The Lighter Side

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If you have any fond memories of the trade or funny stories don't keep them to yourself
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Enjoyed the tales of yesteryear - here's a very current one.

This was relayed to me by an engineer friend of mine who worked for S*y installing digital satellite systems.

It was the practice of S*y In Home Service to periodically monitor the performance (sometimes for Health & Safety matters) of it's installers. This was done by sending an area manager or trainer to observe an installation from start to finish.

Whilst this particular installer was being observed during an installation, the manager concerned offered to help put in a telephone extension point. He warned the installer about how important it was to check where the holes were to be drilled for mains cable and water pipes buried under the plaster with the appropriate tester.

He then promptly drilled a hole from the lounge into the kitchen ready for the telephone cable. As he pulled the drill out from the hole in the wall, he noticed it was covered in a sticky yellow substance.

When they checked what was the other side, they found he had drilled through the back of the fridge, and into a large tub of margarine ! The drill bit had snagged on the margarine tub, and whilst rotating at several hundred rpm, splattered the inside of the fridge with the contents !

I have no reason to believe this is a fictional story as the person concerned was a good friend of mine !

Cheers - Marcus


Old television engineers never die, they just lose their emission

Cheers - Andy Doswell


"Right" the boss said, "your first duty every morning is to make the tea" (20 cups) "then when you've finished that help clean the vans". All for 5 Guineas a week!

I was seventeen; this was my first job 1966 and the first day of the trade that I've stayed in ever since.

I can still remember the smell of electrolube in the workshop, the components held in old Tobacco tins in tool boxes and knitting needles made into trimmers.

One day I was sent out with an engineer (Bill) on field calls. The first call was at a flat behind a pet shop and we knocked and waited for an answer. Bill was most upset as the door opened just as he posted an 'out' card in the letterbox. "Ah the teleman" the lady said, telling us about the F****** TV that was now dead (perhaps lady was the wrong word!). "It's in here" she said as we followed her down a dark passage to an even darker back room. The floor was covered with a green lino that had once had a pattern on it and stuck to your feet. In one corner stood an old table covered with newspaper stained with butter and bread crumbs. "Do you like dogs?" she said and before Bill could stop me I said yes. The back door was opened and a dirty excuse for a dog bounded in yapping and jumping up our legs. "Tell me if he gets in your way" she said and left to go into the garden.

"Right John" Bill said, back-heeling the dog with the practice of years. "Pull the set out and take the back off." The TV was an old Bush (or was it new then?). It stood in the darkest corner on four spindle-like legs, each one at a different angle, looking like a drunken newborn calf. As I pulled it forward one leg dropped off and there was an almighty crash from the fire mantelpiece. What I hadn't noticed was that the mains lead has been led along this shelf behind ornaments and old bills now scattered on the floor. This started the dog off again and while my face glowed like a beacon I replaced ornaments with one hand holding the TV up with the other. BUI came to my rescue by jamming the loose leg back into the bracket on the bottom of the TV and using the unneeded out card as a spacer.

The back came off easily as there was only one screw holding it in place. I looked on in awe as Bill peered inside. "Right, switch the light on" he said. I did but the feeble glow from the lamp on the ceiling only seemed to make the shadows grow darker. Then I noticed that the TV mains lead was plugged into an adaptor on the light socket confusing Bills attempts to diagnose the fault with his neon screwdriver as the mains was reversed! This I corrected on Bill's instructions.

"Heater dropper's open circuit" he said smiling, clipping the lead from his soldering iron onto the mains switch of the TV (Health & Safety eat your heart out). Bill then went on to explain that he could short out some sections of the dropper with some lined copper wire. This had already been done once but he was pushed for time and didn't have a new one anyway.

The bridging done he switched the set on. The corner of the room was no longer dark as the over run valve heaters lit up in a few seconds and when the back was replaced it projected a fan-like pattern up the walls which started the dog off again!

Suddenly there was a yelp from the dog as it left the room faster than an engineer after posting an out card. Bill knelt smiling by his toolbox; "stupid dog sniffed my soldering iron" he said. After Bill has unpeeled his knee from the lino he got the customer to sign his job sheet and we left, wiping our feet on the way out, leaving the customer looking at her mantelpiece and silent dog.



Some years ago I worked for a company that repaired Radios and TV's we had a call that the coin box on this ladies tv had stopped working.

On arrival at the house we examined the tv a 12inch floor model and could not find a coin box. The lady of the house explained that she put a shilling in the slot at the back and the tv worked, on a demonstration we discovered she had been using one of the vent holes in the back board that sloped away before dropping vertically to the floor.

On removal of the back board we discovered how the system worked the fuse had blown and on dropping a shilling through the slot it had bridged out the fuse until the vibration from the mains powered speaker dropped the coin into the lower speaker cavity. The reason that it stopped working was because the fuse holder blades had burnt off !!

We replaced these and supplied a new fuse and also returned the 50 in shillings (to the new sparks around 20 shillings to the pound) old money.



Long ago when Westhoughton was part of Lancashire, I did TV and aerial work there. One day my dust coat pocket full of screws and tools SAVED MY LIFE !!

Carrying a TV into a customer's room, I noticed a large dog, not sure what sort, curled up asleep on a chair, as I walked past, the dog woke startled and went for my leg. It bit hard into my leg but as luck had it... it was the pocket full of screws and things, the dog let out a yelp and quickly ran out of the house.

After setting up the TV as I was leaving, I saw several teeth on the floor !!



Worked in a service facility for many years. One of our best techs actually was colour-blind in the blue-green part of the spectrum. He would go to a customer's residence, rebn/pair the set, then adjust the picture settings per the customer's preference.

This worked out very well till one afternoon a woman called up asking to talk to the service manager. Well the first thing out of her mouth is "What the @^&*@4 is wrong with your tech?? Is he colour blind or what??" Of course I said yes, actually that particular tech is, then I asked why? Well, she said, the colour on the tv is all messed up.

I asked her if she had been at the residence when he preformed the repairs. No, I left my husband there, why?? Was the response, then I asked if perchance her husband may be colour-blind in the blue-green part of the spectrum. She quietly replied yes he was and asked again why? Then we explained this particular tech always sets the picture preferences per the customer's recommendations.

The odds of having this occur are so finite we thought we would not encounter any problem !



Years ago, we had a bench engineer called Dave. He had a big bushy beard. Each day he would wizz through VCR repairs quickly so he could end the day with a snooze. Sometimes while sleeping his beard would catch fire as his cigarette burned down.

I decided one day to break this pleasant routine... While Dave was out at the butty shop I looked at his next repair, a video, and wrote on the job sheet "stuck in stand-by", then placed a same make remote behind books on his shelf with it's stand-by button taped down....

Dave spent all afternoon on the repair and went home in a huff.

Next day video worked fine... Dave never knew why !!


True story from Lancashire (about 1985):

An engineer friend of mine called Ken was called out to a Philips K30 with a dodgy memory battery.

The old lady invited him in and asked him if he would like a cup of tea, he agreed and she wandered off into the kitchen to make him his drink. In doing this she allowed her little dog into the living room. The little dog 'yapped and yapped" nibbling at kens ankles was the last straw. He turned to the little pest and tapped it on the head with the but of his screwdriver.

The yapping suddenly stopped as the poor creature fell stone dead. Quick thinking Ken picked up the dog and slipped it into his toolcase. The old woman was none the wiser as ken left with his now heavier toolcase, and Ken always reminds me that we should always "use the right tool for the right job!"


This is a true story.

Whilst I worked for a small family tv company in Buckinghamshire, a man phoned the shop for some guidance for repair to his tv, so the call was transferred to me (service manager, slave, etc). He wasn't very succinct, so I suggested we called round, he said he would bring the set to the shop, which he did, and asked me to phone him when I had some news.

The earlier part of the afternoon provided me with an opportunity to look at the set (can't remember the model, later than a 3010). On removing the back cover, a bunch of leads/connectors fell down, these should have been connected to the power supply panel which was missing!

I called the guy at work, who said that it was impossible for the panel to be missing, as the set had never been touched since new! I indicated that the set could never have worked, he said it was alright a couple of days ago, and that we must have removed/lost the panel.

Oh, dear! It's a bit tricky, now, how could I diplomatically convince this chappy, that the error was from his end? I know, I asked him, tentatively, if, by any chance, possibility, perhap, etc that could the gentleman's good lady have called some one from another company to look at the set, and accidentally neglected to pass on this information to him? This suggestion was vehemently dismissed (with a little abuse).

I said that I would look into the matter, to see if the fairies had visited the workshop whilst I was at lunch, and, in the meantime, he could make a few enquiries in his camp. So, this is how we parted, he convinced that we had stolen his power supply! Much later in the afternoon, the man called to say that he had spoken to his wife, who said that she did have some one out to the set, but said that it needed parts, and he would return, which he did, to now find that the set had gone! The woman explained what had happened, and the engineer, said, "well, I couldn't mend it anyway", and promptly left her with the dead panel and a bill.

The good news was, though, that the power supply was whisked into the workshop, a satisfactory repair was effected and another bill handed over with the set. (I hope I never see him again!!) Next day, the chappy came into the shop and asked to see me. GULP!!! He thanked me, begged his pardon, and bought a video recorder!

This now begs the question: Is the customer ALWAYS right?


True Story :

Many years ago there was a 16 year old apprentice called Steve. He was rather shy and hadn't had a girl friend at that point. He was sent out for a couple of weeks with a "senior engineer" to get some field experience. One day Steve was to get much more "experience" than he ever imagined! The pair arrived at a big house in the country, and the engineer quickly diagnosed a duff line output transformer. It was a really big cabinet early colour set so the engineer told Steve to unsolder and remove the old LOPT while he went for a replacement.

It seems that upstairs in the house the customers teen-age daughter, about 19, had just finished a bath or shower and looking from the window saw the TV repair van driving off down the drive. She must have assumed the coast was clear because she came skipping into the living room stark naked. Whilst young Steve "quivered" behind the set, looking through the back's slots, the girl danced about for ten minutes before leaving the room.

When the senior engineer returned, Steve got a "telling-off" for not removing the transformer.....even the next day Steve was visibly shaken by the "ordeal".

There are many stories in this trade, but can anyone better this??

Ever wonder where the saying Hot Air came from?

A man in a hot air balloon realised he was lost. He reduced altitude and spotted a woman below. He descended a bit more and shouted, "Excuse me, can you help me? I promised a friend I would meet him an hour ago, but I don't know where I am."

The woman below replied, "You are in a hot air balloon hovering approximately 30feet above the ground. You are between 40 and 41 degrees north latitude and between 59 and 60 degrees west longitude."

"You must be an engineer," said the balloonist.

"I am," replied the woman, "How did you know?"

"Well," answered the balloonist, "everything you told me is, technically correct, but I have no idea what to make of your information, and the fact is I am still lost. Frankly, you've not been much help so far."

The woman below responded, "You must be in Management."

"I am," replied the balloonist, "but how did you know?"

"Well," said the woman, "you don't know where you are or where you are going. You have risen to where you are due to a large quantity of hot air. You made a promise, which you have no idea how to keep, and you expect people beneath you to solve your problems. The fact is you are in exactly the same position you were in before we met, but now, somehow, it's my fault."

Cheers Phil


3 graduate engineers were discussing who might have been responsible for the design of the human body.

The first one said "Think of all the joints etc. it must have been a mechanical engineer".

The second one said "No no, what about all the electrical impulses and nerves etc? It must have been an electrical engineer".

The third graduate was shaking his head, "You are both wrong, the human body was designed by a civil engineer - who else would run a waste pipe through a recreational area"?



Two engineering students were walking across campus when one said: "Where did you get such a great bike?" The second engineer replied: "Well, I was walking along yesterday minding my own business when a beautiful woman rode up on this bike. She threw the bike to the ground, took off all her clothes and said, 'Take what you want.'"

The second engineer nodded approvingly: "Good choice; the clothes probably wouldn't have fit."


To the optimist, the glass is half full.
To the pessimist, the glass is half empty.
To the engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.


A pastor, a doctor and an engineer were waiting one morning for a particularly slow group of golfers. The engineer fumed: "What's with these guys? We must have been waiting for 15 minutes!" The doctor chimed in: "I don't know, but I've never seen such ineptitude!" The pastor said: "Hey, here comes the greens keeper. Let's have a word with him."

"Hi, George. Say, what's with that group ahead of us? They're rather slow, aren't they?"

The greens keeper replied: "Oh, yes, that's a group of blind firefighters. They lost their sight saving our clubhouse from a fire last year, so we always let them play for free anytime." The group was silent for a moment.

The pastor said: "That's so sad. I think I will say a special prayer for them tonight."
The doctor said: "Good idea. And I'm going to contact my ophthalmologist friend and see if there's anything he can do for them."

The engineer said, "Why can't these guys play at night?"


There was an engineer who had an exceptional gift for fixing all things mechanical. After serving his company loyally for over 30 years, he happily retired. Several years later the company contacted him regarding a seemingly impossible problem they were having with one of their multimillion dollar machines. They had tried everything and everyone else to get the machine to work but to no avail. In desperation, they called on the retired engineer who had solved so many of their problems in the past. The engineer reluctantly took the challenge. He spent a day studying the huge machine. At the end of the day, he marked a small "x" in chalk on a particular component of the machine and stated: This is where your problem is".

The part was replaced and the machine worked perfectly again. The company received a bill for 50,000 from the engineer for his service. They demanded an itemized accounting of his charges. The engineer responded briefly:

One chalk mark: 1.00

Knowing where to put it: 49,999.00

It was paid in full and the engineer retired again in peace.


What is the difference between Mechanical Engineers and Civil Engineers?

Mechanical Engineers build weapons, Civil Engineers build targets.


The graduate with a Science degree asks,
"Why does it work?"

The graduate with an Engineering degree asks,
"How does it work?"

The graduate with an Accounting degree asks,
"How much will it cost?"

The graduate with a Liberal Arts degree asks,
"Do you want fries with that?"


Normal people ... believe that if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Engineers believe that if it ain't broke, it doesn't have enough features yet."


An architect, an artist and an engineer were discussing whether it was better to spend time with the wife or a mistress. The architect said he enjoyed time with his wife, building a solid foundation for an enduring relationship.

The artist said he enjoyed time with his mistress, because of the passion and mystery he found there.

The engineer said: "I like both." "Both asked the architect?" "Yeah said the engineer, If you have a wife and a mistress, they will each assume you are spending time with the other woman, and you can go to the workshop and get some work done."


An engineer was crossing a road one day when a frog called out to him and said: "If you kiss me I'll turn into a beautiful princess". He bent over, picked up the frog and put it in his pocket. The frog spoke up again and said: "If you kiss me and turn me back into a beautiful princess, I'll stay with you." The engineer took the frog out of his pocket, smiled at it and returned it to the pocket. The frog then cried out: "If you kiss me and turn me back into a princess, I'll stay with you and do ANYTHING you want."

Again the engineer took the frog out, smiled at it and put it back into his pocket. Finally the frog asked: "What is the matter? I've told you I'm a beautiful princess, that I'll stay with you and do anything you want. Why won't you kiss me?"

The engineer said: "Look I'm an engineer. I don't have time for a girlfriend, but a talking frog, now that's cool."

Seen in our companys toilet:

An engineer using his mobile phone: Talk about time and motion !

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