The replacement fitting which Mrs S had bought at the local junk shop was a wooden affair with five spokes radiating from a central boss, each spoke having a bulb holder at the outer end. The central boss was suspended by a chain from the rose. This all made it rather weightier than the old fitting, which had been held up by a couple of screws. The replacement would need to be held by some sort of hook which would need to be held in place by a nut under the floor of the loft. I had taken the precaution of buying just such a fitting in England and had bought the one with the longest reach, about three inches.
Having removed the old fitting, the three of us ascended into the loft, where I had rigged up a lead with an electric light on the end so that we could see what we were doing. We made our way towards the centre, brushing aside the cobwebs that hung as thickly as lianas in the jungle, and looked at the close-boarded floor. Whoever had laid that floor had done a superb job: it would be difficult to get a cigarette paper between the boards, they were so closely laid. Try as we might, we could not get up the small section we needed to be lifted without smashing the tongue and grooving, splintering several section of floorboard in the process.
So far we had spent five minutes removing the old light fitting - and half an hour lifting a section of loft floor. And now we had another problem.