Sunday, March 11, 2007


Most of you will be relieved to learn that posting and commenting may be fairly intermittent over the next few days. We're getting our winders replaced. Oh, and there's a check up at the dentist to face. Things could only be more fun if one of us ends up in hospital.

I hate builders or fitters doing work. Not only do you have to spend a week attempting to make the house look as if it's lived in by normal, tidy people beforehand, but you have to sit in a corner away from them, doing nothing and being scared of getting in their way.

Every half an hour I have to meekly ask them in a squeaky, timid voice if they want another cup of tea, which they always do. Then I run out of mugs and have to do some washing up while attempting to not get in their way ... there's something ... have we got enough mugs? I need to buy some more mugs! How many? Will a dozen do? Fifty? A hundred?

Oh yes, and during a tea break you inevitably end up in a stilted conversation where the gaffer tells you how difficult it is to get youngsters to train up these days because THEY ALL THINK THE WORLD OWES THEM A LIVING. Indeed, he got somebody sent from the Job Centre who *one day* he'd be able to pay a decent wage, once he was trained up, and all he did was turn up late and put in half an hour's substandard work before skiving off!

Yeah, and you can't really use your bathroom when they're around, can you? When we had our bathroom tiled, each day at around eleven o'clock we'd say "um, we're just going out for a bit" and trek off to the BHS in the town centre to have a good clear out in the toilets there. Which wasn't a very pleasant experience because pairs of old women had already stunk them out as well, after having a slice of dry cherry cake and sharing a pot of watery tea in the restaurant.

Oh no - what sort of biscuits do they like? Are they going to say "that bitch only got custard creams. We deserved the Fox's variety selection in a tin at least, what with all the graft we've put in"?

Oh, and then there's paying them. They don't want credit card or cheque transactions - they expect you to get eight grand out of the bank's hole in the wall on the same day!

I'm going off to have a good cry now.

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Poor you! Sooo-oo-o-oo-oo BTDT! It's a planet-sized pain. (One of the bigger planets, obv. Not like, say Mercury. Or Demeter. If that's still a planet, and didn't get demoted. Demoted Demeter. I might let you have a moon of Jupiter if you liked. Where was I? Oh yes - telling you my pain was worse than yours.)

Have you considered putting all the tea stuff out on a tray, and telling them to make their own? And as for bicuits, get a grip woman! What's on offer at the supermarket?
Blimey! Only 8 grand and 1500 mugs??? You've got off Sooo lightly Betty!

PS Thanks for the interest
Agnetha Faltskog
I'm looking for a house at the moment - the horrors of having the builders in has put me off the whole thing - which is a good thing, cheers Betty.
Get in some wagon wheels. That should keep them happy. And maybe some Garibaldi*, just to break the ice a bit. 'Ooooh, I haven't had one of these for yeeeeears,' they'll say.

*Not to be confused with that crap film that Mel Gibson was in.

Love you Bettyx
Mangonel - yeah, I know, I'm a big wuss. If it was up to people like me, we would've lost the war. It's not even a tennis ball sized problem. Perhaps I should've taken that counselling that was offered to me.

Murph - it was a real bargain, wasn't it? We're putting them up in the house for three nights while we sleep on the sofa and taking them out for an all expenses paid meal each evening as well.

Annie - we haven't had any really bad experiences yet. The blokes who did the patio said they'd be here for a couple of days and it took them a week to finish, but I've heard some worse stories than that.

Molly - good to hear from you! I don't know about Wagon Wheels. Aren't they too big? Mind you, they seem to decrease in size by about fifty per cent every ten years. I'm not sure Asda even sells Garibaldi biscuits anymore. Perhaps I should try Netto?
pain in the butt, yes. but you'd best stay. every crew that ever did a house i was contracted in broke out the bong as soon as the owner left the property. every. single. one.
doubt the u.k. is much different.
or maybe it is.
but i doubt it.
NOoooooo! Don't get them Garibaldi biscuits; not biscuits they can dunk - they'll be expecting saucers and the like.
First Nations - oh god, that's something I've not encountered yet. Looks like we're stuck indoors when it's lovely, warm and spring like as well. No choice. Honestly, if I wanted to get home to see some people lying around wasted while listening to the Grateful Dead I could've invited Tom and Vicus to housesit. It would've been cheaper, too!

Arabella - hold on a minute! Any biscuit can be dunked, if you're determined enough. Even wagon wheels. Those melted bits that stick to the mug when they dry up - yech.
Get over to Netto Betto.
Don't want them to think you're rich.
They'll double the bill.
Is that a Haiku, Kaz?
Kaz - I don't think we'd be able to convince them that we're rich, once they see what the inside of the house is like (even shabbier than the outside).

Murph - sounds like Scouse Haiku to me. "R A, I'm just goin' ter Netto, Betto".
As a cruel experiment I decided not to offer any tea when our conservatory was being fitted. The fellas had their own flasks and I only have one cup of coffee a day. They looked at me forlornly for days until I finally offered them one..the sigh of relief registered 20 on The Richter Scale...from then on they were very smiley and I gave them KitKats as a last day treat...surprisingly the work was of a high standard and no toilet usage was requested. Result!
Lards, someone who's a family friend of Geoff's was converting the loft in our old flat and as I didn't know him very well found it a bit awkward talking to him. Besides, because he was working in the loft so I couldn't really go up there every half an hour asking if he wanted any tea. He only come downstairs at lunchtime, so I made one cup of tea (all day). Geoff's mum was on the phone later, casually saying "oh, he doesn't half drink a lot of tea, doesn't he?" Lesson learnt. Now I offer to make cups of tea for workers all the time, out of guilt!
WE had roofers in and I only made them tea twice over two weeks. In my defence, they were up on the bloody roof.

Anyhow - have you figured out yet why The Triffid's giving you the cold shoulder?
Spin - well, I don't think there's anything wrong with you having to carry a tray with loads of mugs on up a ladder every twenty minutes! More spirit, woman!

Oh, the paranoia induced by Wyndhamgate ... I've had a brainstorming session where I've come up with several ideas, one of them being an "outspoken" comment I left on your post about that Guardian week where people's kids were allowed into the office. Me and my big gob, eh? Still, whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger ...
What workmen don't realise is I don't have cake or biscuits at home so the pack of Rich Tea was bought just for them.
Llewtrah - well, that's the problem. If I buy biscuits and they don't want them, it's going to be me that's going to "have" to eat them - and then I'll get fat.
It's not a tea party - it's work! How about some Iced Gems and Fox's Party Rings? Jammy Dodgers anyone? Think about it - the more tea you give them the more they are going to wee and stop and chat - over their tea. I reckon a cup an hour after they've started work and one after lunch. Think of climate change - you don't want to be wasting all that water with the extra washing up and loo flushing. ;-)
Romo, they've gone after the first day. Made an average of one cup of tea an hour, I think, which didn't slow them up too much. I think they must have twenty pint velocity bladders because only one of them went to the loo - once. They ate a lot of the biscuits though.
I think I meant twenty pint capacity bladders.

I haven't had a decent night's sleep for about a week, so that's probably why ...
Eight grand?!?! How many windows do you need replacing? For that price they should be of the triple-glazed variety. How many quotes did you get?

'Scuse my nosiness, I'm going for D.G in a year's time.
Ack! Good luck with that. I hope it goes well. :)
Istvanski - ahem, the eight grand figure might be a bit excessive. It's still not cheap though. We only had the one quote from someone recommened by a work colleague of Geoff's, and compared the price they offered with the amount other people had paid when they got their windows done. We should've probably had twenty quotes and haggled with people, but think of all the time and effort involved!

Shelley - welcome and thanks. At the end of the first day things haven't gone too badly and they haven't caused too much destruction.
When I had my loft done the builder used to turn up regular at 11 with a bag of still warm Asda doughnuts and I used to make a brew. It was a fair exchange. It's true though, builders don't pee. How do they do that?
Employ some Poles. They're better than the Hungarians, which is amazing
given the amount of bison grass vodka they consume.

The local Ernies are only interested in tea, digestives, and J Lo's arse.

Not that there's anything wrong with J Lo's arse.
It's a million times worse having any kind of work men around if you're a bloke. I feel completely immasculated. They might as well tear out my genetalia along with the dry rot. I have no idea what to say to them being a big wussy media girl with Kylie albums and everything. It's highly traumatic. I over compensate by shouting loudly about the youth of today and the shoody quality of grout from Homebase.
Having to make my house look like normal and/or tidy people lived in it.
I'd be fucked.
Garfer - we've stuck with a local firm. The funny thing is hearing South London people who spend all their time saying "we're a soft touch in this country, we let too many foreigners in" telling you how cheap their Polish builders were! I tell you what though - these blokes are getting through the biscuits.

Del - there is a knack to having conversations with fitters and builders, but I haven't figured out what it is. I'm sure they view blokes who can't do a spot of DIY with suspicion and I've heard references made to "white collar types who haven't got a clue" before now. Gulp.

Cheesemeister - it's been hard work, and, even worse, the mother in law is coming round to inspect the work after. I'll have to remove every speck of dust in the house
Are you going to hang some frilly nets on your new windows?
Here's a mind-blowing fact for you: you know that stretch net curtain wire, comes with hooks and eyes? Can't get that in America. Nope.
Just as well us white collar types don't know Jack or else they'd be out of a job, I spose. I'm all for a bit of DIY, but it always ends up DIsaster.
Arabella - it's really tempting to do without nets because we actually get a bit of light in our dingey house without them up, but we're overlooked. I've not bought any jardinieres, though!

Del - the Reader's Digest DIY Manual is the single most terrifying book in the world.
Zigs, they've finished now - well, apart from having to fit a new door handle because the one they'd got was scratched.
Scratched doorhandle?

Ours are all metal. Aren't most doorhandles?
The handle's got a white coating which has been scratched off. God knows why it had to be delivered like that in the first place, but there you go.
Just for the record, and in case Vicus gets cross cos I have given the wrong impression, it was a very long time ago that we used to be out of our brains all the time. We are both committed clean living upright citizens of the community these days. In fact I just took delivery of a leaflet offering me the chance to stand for the pariah council (Fuck that).
And I used to be a builder, and any one who didn't offer us tea on a very regular basis had to put up with a continual barrage of comments along the lines of, 'corblimey, this is a dry job', or 'my, this is dusty work today'. They always always relented in the end, and I don't think there was ever one customer who we didn't train up perfectly by the end of the job.
parish council, sorry, genuine freudian slip.
Tom - pariah council is one of the best typos ever.

Well, building is very thirsty work, so we try to keep the cups of tea coming. I suppose this is a fair exchange for my advice to be polite to telephoists and receptionists then.
When the Dentist is administering the Novocaine into your mouth, jerk your head forward so that it penetrates directly into your brain.
That way you will be able to put up with anything for a couple of days.

Far be it for me to question the very existence of the alledged Royal British Dental Association..
but rumors persist that both of them are retiring soon and that means that 65 Million people will soon be forced to tolerate fluoridated Ale again.
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HE, my dentist doesn't even bother to ask me if I want any sort of painkiller, he just gets stuck in with the drill, managing to hit the most painful nerve like and expert. Grr.

Yeah, there don't seem to be any dentists left here. Our one is probably due to retire soon, so perhaps we will have to resort to DIY dental care.
Once again I'm posting here because you seem not to be allowing comments on the Comic Relief stuff.

I've just posted my review of the Blog-aid book (I've ordered 17,000 copies- made of *fecking* money me....)

For all those readers too *goddamn* lazy to follow the link, here's the gist of my post:

I've just finished it and, yes - it *really* is as brilliant as the blurb makes it sound!

Just thank *Christ* this annual upswell of concern for the undernourished and abused allows us to pat ourselves on the back via projects like this about how caring and concern-ed we are, is all I can say. I just hope those cadaverous African bastards realise just *how* much they should feel indebted to us - let alone the good old British banks into whose coffers the bulk of those well-intentioned donations will be going.

L.U.V. on ya - and here's to an even more successful Comic Relief 2008!!

Bob, I didn't activate comments on the posts about the book because it seemed a bit pointless really. Nothing sinister.

The initial reason I contributed a post to the book was as a "thank you" to Mike, because he's namechecked me quite a lot on his blog for some time - it seemed a bit petulant and "ooh, look at me" to do otherwise. Oh, and yeah, of course I'd get a buzz from the idea of being in a book. Who isn't actually attracted to getting a bit of publicity for themselves in a self motivated way? I would've done it if none of the money had been going to Comic Relief (at least then I wouldn't have to justify how morally corrupt I am ...)

Maybe some of the £1600 thus far raised for Comic Relief will go towards some worthwhile project that otherwise wouldn't have received anything. A few bloggers aren't going to overthrow capitalism's reliance on third world poverty in one fell swoop, and I don't think any of them are kidding themselves that they are.

I'll say one thing: I'm a working class oik, didn't go to university, always ended up in crappy low grade clerical jobs. This is no doubt the only time in my life that I'll end up in print. I'm not getting all gushy and self congratulatory about it but it is *quite nice*. There are a lot of other bloggers who're miles more talented than me who should be getting recognition, but that's another story.

Enough: I'm poorly educated and my debating skills are fairly undeveloped. Anyone else care to offer their opinion?
Ha betty. . .Tyr Pricedrop or Bid tv website. Clearence section you can get proper size manly mugs from £3.00 to £5.00 per six or 8 mug sets.

I bought some recently good quality for the price only thing is postage but the item is always so cheap and delivered within 2 to three days time. . .Enjoy x x x

p.s Our Kitchen needs doing (1 days work 2 max. Only a small kitchen) you are better off getting in a man who can. My boyfriend. .. the time he spends on the computer/internet he could paint Buckingham palace twice over.
Cheers. Hmm ... perhaps you could pile cans of paint/rollers/brushes up by the computer until he gets the hint? Failing that, you may have to resort to the "ooh dear, your internet connection seems to have disappeared and the computer won't come on ... I wonder what could have happened??" approach while holding a pair of wire cutters in your hand.
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