The BBC seems to have been rife of late with home improvement programmes. And when I say rife I, of course, mean it has broadcast 2 whole programmes whose format is based around the idea of rescuing the average Joe and Joanne Public from the scourge of cowboy builders.
On the one hand you’ve got Cowboy Trap which deals with the hod humping horror of incompetent builders who promise to rebuild your home in the image of Olympus only to leave it looking like Hiroshima after the bomb had been dropped. In the process these rogue traders have also usually cleaned out their client’s bank accounts to the tune of many thousands of pounds. £150,000 on the last episode I saw and the clients had little to show for their expenditure but plasterboard on the floor, dodgy wiring that could kill and a great deal of heartache.
On the other hand you’ve got the same stories given the Walt Disney Treatment via DIY SOS. This offering from the Beeb sees Nick Knowles – the chubby, stubbly, housemaid’s favourite – diving into the UK’s chavviest suburbs to rescue sundry families who suffer from various diseases and disabilities from half completed DIY jobs and projects that ran out of money and / or enthusiasm half way through, leaving the unhappy family living in a single bathroom while the rest of the house resembles a mediaeval carpenter’s workshop with no wheelchair access whatsoever. If you love a happy ending and a well erected stud wall then Nick Knowles is your man.
Anyway, the point of the post isn’t to titillate the ladies with some male TV totty (though maybe I should restore the balance a bit after my Dr Alice post) but to say that all of these “look what happened to them” programmes really put me off the idea of ever allowing any kind of contractor anywhere near my home let alone into it to put in a loft extension.
Not that Karen and I are about to install an Olympic sized swimming pool or anything like that but every now and then we do begin conversations with the words “If we won the Lottery wouldn’t it be good to...” You know what I mean, I’m sure. If money were no object we would all of us add rooms, refurb basements and extend lofts to the point where every family member could have so much space and privacy they would never have to have contact with or even look at another family member ever again.
Pipedreams for the large part. But the idea of a loft extension is one that keeps coming back to Karen and me. To the point where I think that one day, when the kids are through school, the mortgage has been worn down to a mere nub and Karen and I are at last realizing our full earning potential, we might actually go for it.
But who the hell do we get in to do the job?
Because according to the BBC none of Britain’s builders are up to it. Half are incompetent and the other half are just plain dishonest. You couldn’t trust them to referee a football match between two peas (which is one of my dad’s favourite sayings). I’ve seen Nick Knowles brace the walls of more Victorian semi-detached death traps than I’ve had fantasies about Dr Alice Roberts.
Yes. That many.
Which brings me to my point.
Eliminating all the cowboys, all the scheisters, the tinkers, the tailors, the gypos, the pikies and the Poles, the only person I’d ever trust to do any building work around my gaffe is Nick Knowles himself.
And that scares the living bejasus out of me.
It might be safer just to buy a bigger house.
P.S. For those of you that have actually read this far. Happy birthday to me, happy birthday to me! 41 today and still thinking like a 16 year old. I just love being male, I do.