I'll have to move your leads . . . strip the plaster off


Senior Member

I'm reading Helen Fielding's Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason. It's a really fast book, among other things.

Here's a passage about a builder Bridget had over to build her some shelves. He says,
"Well, if you want them all in line, I'll have to move your leads, and that'll mean stripping the plaster off unless we rawl in a 3 by 4 of MDF."

I looked lead up in the Oxford dictionary online, and learned that it can mean
British a wire that conveys electric current from a source to an appliance, or that connects two points of a circuit together.

My questions:

1. Just to make sure I understand correctly: Are leads the wires in the wall from a certain point to the socket? I'm thrown off by the dictionary definition because it mentions appliance rather than socket, and there's an extra wire connecting the appliance to the socket.

2. What are these leads called in AmE?

Also, incidentally, is that "rawl" a phonetic rendition of "roll"? And how do you roll them in exactly? Does it simply mean bring them in? As for MDF, I gather those are "medium density fibreboards."

Thank you!
  • SwissPete

    Senior Member
    Français (CH), AE (California)
    I interpret I'll have to move your leads as I'll have to reroute your electrical wires.

    As for rawl, look for images here. They would be the mechanical devices installed in walls to hold (in your case) the shelves that are going to be built.
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    Senior Member
    English UK
    Well, it's meant to be impenetrable, susanna: Bridget has no idea what the builder is talking about - and the builder is trying to confuse her with technical terms (real or invented: it doesn't really matter for the comic purposes of the exchange), in order to excuse his shoddy workmanship. See, for example, the earlier sentence in the novel 'The only thing I could to is take them out and put rivets under the awlings', gibberished Gary.

    I suspect (though how would I know?:rolleyes:) that "rawl" might be a 'real' builder's word for "fix with rawlplugs". As to 'leads' - well, Gary could be referring to 'electrical wires within the wall' - but, again, how would I know? He might just be trying to blind her with science:D.

    EDIT: Sorry, I hadn't seen Pete's post when I wrote this. He - like 99.9% of the population of Earth - is undoubtedly more literate in the language of builders than I am!
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    Senior Member
    Thank you, SwissPete and Loob! Loob, builders, plumbers, electricians, etc. over here don't share any technical terms, at least in the experience I've had with them. It's only when they come as a duo or trio that I hear some technical terms :). But yes, this guy wanted to dazzle the woman :).

    Many thanks, SwissPete and Loob!

    P.S. When I said the book was fast, I was also talking how the author, too, tries to dazzle me, the reader, when she describes what's going on in Bridget's life and at her job as a journalist with a TV station. I wonder where Helen Fielding got that kind of experience, but I guess it's called research :).
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