Friday, 12 November 2010


The connection has stopped working, maybe requiring men in yellow jackets, climbing ladders to the satellite dish, tut-tutting, as though the Fates had singled them out, cruelly forcing them to do the job for which they are paid, compelling them to remedy a fault which will surely be of my making, when they could more usefully be doing nothing.  It is a tyranny, this, of builder and mechanic and IT-Fiend and must  be a British disease, surely, it can't be this way everywhere. 


Radish said...

"..., surely, it can't be this way everywhere."

So that's what you think?
You should get out more often...BT still live a a world where "You've never had it so good".

Anonymous said...

I saw this attitude in a bookshop owner in Oxford when I went to sell a few surplus books. grumbling and 'dear-me-ing' as she examined each one. it seemed that the impression she was trying to convey was that well, yes, she would buy them, but it would likely bankrupt her. Then she offered me eight quid for the lot. You see, Mr I, it's our fault that we force these people to rip us off. We heartless, mercenary, soulless stand there at them, demanding to be robbed. It's enough to make a grown small-businessman bust into tears.

Woman on a Raft said...

That sealant, the stuff used for sealing concrete floors - yes, the big cannister next to the smaller ones labelled 'floor paint' - that goes on top of the concrete to stop it dusting and to provide a surface the paint can key to.

Otherwise, it's like painting a beach.

Still. Too late now. Yes, it does have the instructions on the side in big letters, with a pictogram of a little man brushing it on with a broom. That broom by the side of the cannister.


No, the shower room lot measured up and took the specifications. Not heard from them since.

My question to the panel is: Is it worth me chasing people who can't be arsed to give a quote?


When ever I see a termite mound or a beehive, I wonder: how did they do that? How come each little ant or bee seems to have a pretty good idea of what to do next and, if you are a bee, can even do a waggle dance to indicate where the stores of concrete sealant - sorry, nectar - are.

How come Brits are born with a t-shirt which says "Well nobody told me", which pretty much puts paid to any idea they might be communicating psychically with each other, let alone using any less advanced technology. What do they even have mobile phones for? Tits on a bull.

A young anglo-irish catholic said...

Mrs Raft...beautiful.

I was considering this not yesterday evening in a 24 hr Tescos in south west London. Was watching four late teenagers trying to communicate and make a decision.

The laughing and snorting was alarming and strangely unfinished comments made me think.

I decided that we have - and are gestating - some of the densest people in the western world.

And when I say dense, I mean true, deeply, unreflective and unable to have a quick thread of thoughts considering consequences of their immediate actions.

To watch people who couldn't think more than a minute or two into the future was very odd.

mongoose said...

And the boiler conked out last week. Now, yes, I am an engineer and I looked at the fault chart and it could be any of three things. Total cost of two of them - having access to trade prices - less than a hundred quid. Did those - wasn't the problem. Obviously. The third? You need to unblock the air tubes so that the pressure switch toggles. This is a very fiddly, fuck about task and a bit of experience and knowledge would help. Will anyone come around to do it? Will they buggery. Too busy, you see. Don't want the money. So I have it working - a bit of tube hanging out the bottom - blow into it, wait and then suck gently, forceps on and away she goes for an hour or so. "Too busy. Got eight more jobs yet today." And after the rugby I will dismantle the entire blasted thing and blow through the lines with some compressed air and all will be well. But just hopeless are you Tommies. The truth is, of course, that I have already displayed too much knowledge to the guy and he knows that he cannot fuck me over. And I've taken the parts profit out of the job and left just the work and the honest profit on the man's expertise. Can't be arsed, can he?

jgm2 said...

Mr Mongoose.

Much as I decry Fucking Scotland and the Pictish 'We're fucking great because we hate the English' attitude at large up there I have to say that, in general, they did seem far more prepared to actually show up when they said they would, give a quote when they said they would and actually complete any necessary works when they said they would.

By 'more likely' I mean about 50% of the time.

And the very first time I got the (oil) boiler and AGA serviced I spoke to the chap and asked 'Do you mind me watching what you're doing because I want to do this myself in future and save a few quid'? 'No fucking problem pal' he said and then talked me through everything he was doing. And tossed in a couple of yards of wick for the AGA to boot.

Now that's service. And when, in the next few years, I'd hit a one-off problem I wasn't confident enough to deal with myself who do you think got the business?

Down here in England though, if I'd asked a chap to show me how to service the boiler he'd most likely have tried to frighten me out of my wits with health and safety regulation or told me to fuck off and walked off the job. Can't have 'amateurs' doing these highly technical jobs.

What? Vacuum the boiler and change the nozzle? Piece of piss when you're shown how. As I've said before - most of this stuff is a piece of piss once you've actually plucked up enough courage to have a go.

It's just that we're all becoming increasingly risk-averse and kow-towing to 'the expert' to the point where I'm reminded of visiting my cousin in Canada 25 or so years ago. Kids my own age then (so 17 or 18) taking their push-bikes to the bike shop to get a puncture repaired. For fuck's sake.

Couldn't even fix a puncture on a bike. Hadn't a clue where to start.

I fear, as a nation, we're well on our way down that road to the bike shop which is why we're met with contempt from the great British 'workman'. When he can be arsed.

Dick the Prick said...

My boiler (peace be upon him) fucked up about 2 years ago and I swear the pikey who turned up was utterly useless, offensive and pig ignorant. Fortunately and with unbelievable serendipity (sp) the dudes &/or dudettes who owned my house before got a dog's bollox one so I just phoned up the manufacturer and the whole thing cost £200 nicker to fix it. Seemed to change virtually all the parts - blessed relief.

Now N-Power deserve a separate fucking book let alone chapter for blithering incompetence and fuck-you customer service.

mongoose said...

Well, that's it, Mr jgm2. Just come around and do the bloody job and you'll be hired forever for the times when I need help or speed. How difficult can it be?

And that waster who was going to shovel topsoil three weeks ago still hasn't turned the fuck up.

brassedoff said...

There is a downside to being fairly self sufficient.
I realised in my early twenties(well over half a century ago) that I had a pair of hands and a brain that were of the equivalant quality to most men (rather better than some since I was a textile chemist). I therefore decided that I would be a self sufficient as possible.

In the intervening years I built myself all manner of things from furniture to cars to even buying a derelict farm house and gutting it, replumbing, rewiring it and building a granny flat and garage block on the end of it to accomodate my parents.

Unfortunately in the process many people, knowing my capabilities, and what equipment I had accumulated, have asked for help. Since I was helped by many people to aquire my knowledge and capability I feel it only right repay the world as best I can so.....I have become a slave to many people as I have wandered through life that sometimes it seems as though I made a rod for my own back.

I am here welding a gate or mending an electric welder for a farmer friend up the road when I would be much happier watching some TV or reading a book.

call me ishmael said...

Just a rhetorical flourish, mr radish - sometimes it gets so hard to care, it just can't be this way, everywhere being one of the enquiries of outrage contained within the pharmaceutically-fuelled anthem for doomed youth When You Go Your Way and I Go Mine composed and recorded by my Highlands neighbour, Mr Bob Dylan, in his youth, and mine; these commentaries are littered with such, especially when the mongeese are on the prowl. But anyway, I do get out enough, rather too much, I suspect.

It is the digitisation of reality, its capturability, mr yaic, which poisons the imagination of youth, that and the assumption that skymadeupnewsandfilth is anything other than entertainment, entertainment of a very low order.

It was not any innate capability on my part, mr brassed-off, but just a fragment of an otherwise tedious lovesong - everything put together comes apart - which made me into a ManWhoCanDoThings, not as accomplished as yourself or others here but a walker on that road of planning and knowledge and tools; an if they can do it, I can do it autodidactic sensibility.

Agatha said...

Edgar said: "I saw this attitude in a bookshop owner in Oxford when I went to sell a few surplus books, grumbling and 'dear-me-ing'"

What is the matter with those people? Second hand Bookshop dealers. God, what a crew. They are probably required to gain an NVQ in contempt and derision before being allowed to open a bookshop.Whatever you have to sell is not only not what they are prepared to buy, but is also evidence of your appalling taste and extreme penury in that you are trying to off load it onto them. Our local secondhand book seller always closes for lunch between 1:00 and 2:00, presumably to deter employed customers, and has lots and lots of "stock-buying" breaks, when he puts up the lying "back in half an hour" sign and takes himself off to the charity shops to buy up any remotely valuable donated books. The charity ladies always charge him £2 more than they do the general public.