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.
Happy birthday... though somehow, I expected a slightly less homoerotic image to celebrate. Ah, perhaps all that "fit bird" talk has been a cover all this time...
Rol: thank you, and also for the insinuation that I might be a bit Roman in my tastes... though were that the case I think I'd aim a little higher than Nick Knowles. Still, if he'll do my loft conversion for free I'd be happy to put up with his hairy nip action for the duration. See, I'm more mercantile in my outlook than bi. ;-)
Speaking as someone who ripped his kitchen to bits 4 years ago, and has since lived with what is essentially a draining board balanced on a warped sliver of MDF, my heart responds to this.
It's not the mess, or the hassle, or the decision making or the cost... it's the pant wetting terror of letting one of those MONSTERS into my castle. And I am sure they are all really nice blokes, but I am believing the anti-hype, and visions of cracking brickwork and faulty RSJ's haunt my dreams.
I also salivate at Moben adverts.
Happy birthday there. And on friday the 13th as well.
Keith: totally with you. I view most contractors with extreme suspicion and mistrust... even though 80% of my working job entails me working alongside them. Sometimes it's not better the devil you know, believe me. I shall have to buy myself a DIY book with my birthday money...!
Happy Birthday Steve. I have made you a virtual cake in the shape of Nick Knowles. Knew you'd be pleased.
Gappy: aw thank you. Just one question: where exactly did you stick the candle...?
Living in the countryside has its advantages as most companies are so well-known that any nonsense from them and their names would be mud. We had a kitchen put in about 12 years ago by a very friendly painter/tiler nicknamed Splasher and his mates. I fancy an updated kitchen now but they did such a good job we haven't the heart to pull it apart.
Happy Birthday Steve!
Trish: thanks! Do you think your recommended builders would be prepared to travel to Leamington Spa? ;-)
Very many happy returns of the day, Steve. Not sure if Simon would've approved bare-chested Nick Knowles, at the top of your blog, either. Good thing he's on his hols for the week!
Beware inviting "professionals" into your home. Can't say it too often!
TimeWarden: thank you kindly good sir. And I take your point regarding "professionals". Sometimes I think we'd be better off with a half decent amateur than a completely crap professional.
Who do you get in to do the job? I shouldn't expect it will really matter by then, will it, for who knows if you'll actually still be able to even see the final outcome?? No, 'sokay, you don't have to thank me, I know I've been most helpful in solving your dilemma.
Happy birthday to you, Steve!
Being Me: I'm only 41 you know! Not 81! ;-)
Who's going to give you the 'bumps'?..happy birthday!
Libby: is that a euphemism? ;-)
Wow. I haven't even bought my new house yet but I'm already thinking I need a well erected stud wall.
Happy birthday. Still so young!
Wanderlust: thank you - you are too kind but I like you.
Talking about cowboys, a so called friend of mine has quoted me £2850for re-pointing the roof on one side and my house is not Buckingham palace! A non-friend has quoted me £370 instead...I'm a bit confused about friendship now! Hope you're having a lovely birthday...Ciao. A.
Lunarossa: is the friend using genuine Roman tiles removed from a freshly dug up 1st century Roman villa? If so his price might be reasonable if not... well, I'd be of the mind not to mix business with friendship and go with the professional non-friend quote...!
Happy Birthday old chap!
Hope the day went good and you don't feel those bones creaking with age...
Oh you! Happy Birthday. Quite frankly though, I would rather see a picture of you with your top off than that nick knowles !! Any chance??!
LöstJimmy: the day has been fab - good company, good food and good presents. That hat-trick that makes a birthday perfect!
Selina: certainly. But only if you go first. ;-)
Thank you for the totty - appreciated it - how unselfish of you on your birthday.
I'm with Trish. All the neighbours round here have used the same guy. Lovely man, good prices. It's electricians I struggle with. Where are all the electricians?!
I plan to pull a hole in my ceiling and lean ladders up. Rip out a few pipes and wires and then call Nick to come and sort me out :0)
Kelloggsville: you are very welcome to the male totty. No really you are. Please take him away (normal service will be resumed next week). I think you're idea is brilliant. I think I may pull down a load-bearing wall in the kitchen over the weekend and put myself into a wheelchair. I bet Nick will have a new kitchen fitted and a new mobility scooter parked outside the house for me by teatime Monday.
Happy birthday...and whatever DIY you're planning...don't.
Mark told me it is called Don't Involve Yourself...and he is right.
And if that photo is supposed to be male totty...forget it.
Give me Geoffrey Boycott any day.
With or without the hat.
The fly in the web: thank you - you're obviously a fan of hard balls that hit you for six...! ;-)
Hope you had a great birthday.
The fly in the web: it must be something about the crease...! ;-)
Ally: ah, but he slots in a nice fitted kitchen.
I was going to say ask a friend to recommend a builder but then I remembered my friend recommended a builder to me who she said was 'really great' and he was not too bad in that he rehabbed my bathroom in a week but then he later ran off with my friend's $40,000 and didn't finish the job he was working on at her house. So I'm actually more tempted to say you should strip down don an apron and do some thorough DIY on your loft extension yourself but that may be going one or two double entendres too far so I'll keep it buttoned
Emma: keep it buttoned as opposed to unbuttoned? ;-)
Oh, a happy birthday to you! Congrats on joining the ranks of the very elite 41 year olds! Welcome...
Myself it's more thinking like a 19 year old, but the body isn't really keeping up
TheUndertaker: I know what you mean. The spirit is willing but the body is slow.
Happy birthday indeed! We had cake and everything at the weekend but that was more to do with my 'baby' turning 13 on Saturday than it was you getting crunchier toenails!
Amanda: happy birthday to your new teen - may their toenails be crunch free for many years to come!
I couldn't concentrate after seeing that picture of Nick Knowles. But all the cowboys in our midst are rife indeed.
CJ: you'll have to join the queue I'm afraid. Nick is sorting out my basement refurb first!
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