Extracting A Phonebox… Simple, Right?

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The plan was so simple. We were going to go to Read, near Burnley, Lancashire, with our big truck and grabbers. Then, just take away a phonebox from the side of the road. Simple!

The local parish council had put their disconnected phonebox up for sale, and you never know when you’re going to need a phonebox, right? So we bought the phonebox from them and agreed to dig it out and take it away. We’re still not absolutely sure what we’re going to use it for, to be honest. The media team want to turn it into an elaborate outside broadcast unit. The finance team want to turn it into a fridge. The HR team want to buy some rabbits and turn it into a big hutch. All valid options.

We sent an advance team to dig around the battered phonebox while we prepped the truck to take it away. The truck arrived with the ground around the phonebox dug out. So, the next step was to disconnect the box from the phonelines. The phonebox had been decommissioned long ago so the team set to work taking it apart but came across the mains cables still connected. With the box not having been used for years, it didn’t seem likely that the wiring was live but with electricity, you don’t take the chance. So they called HQ and had a multimeter delivered to the site.

After an anxious wait, the multimeter returned the result: it was still live.

Put the phonebox back to how it was

Although the phone line was not connected, the phonebox still was, and right there and then, we had to stop the job. At this point, the only available next step is to contact the electricity board, and wait. Wait a few weeks for them to properly take it off grid, and then come and get it.

Unfortunately, the work the team had already done all now needed to be restored. We re-assembled the phonebox, hiding any wires and putting the panels back into place. The ground we had dug out needed to be replaced, and luckily we had bags of cold-lay macadam with us. We laid the tarmac, pressed it into place, and the phonebox was secured again.

Sometimes jobs don’t go to plan. The best-laid plans don’t always take everything into account and we were not to know if the phonebox was live until we started. It now means we are waiting for the electricity board to give us the all-ok to pick up where we left off.

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