Grumpy Old Man Part 5

October 16, 2007 at 8:32 am Leave a comment


A Grumpy Old Man On Holiday 

It is 07.40 in the morning. A Tuesday morning. The day after Spring Bank Holiday and, I am on holiday. Everyone else is at work. But, I am not. So, what the hell am I doing up at twenty minutes to eight in the morning? Waiting for a bloody tradesman. ‘Scuse my French, but I am not good in the morning. 

Actually, the tradesman that I am waiting for is the exception that proves the rule. To start with, he is not Polish. Secondly, he is punctual. And, he is trustworthy. He is competent. And, yes, he is very expensive. But, you can’t have everything. And, today, he is doing me a favour. This morning, before he goes to his paid job, he is helping me to refit the wooden worktop in my kitchen. For nothing. He’s a nice bloke. 

The kitchen worktop was removed because the boiler broke down and needed repairing. And, because the worktop was fitted over the boiler it needed to be taken off. It needed to be removed just four months after our very expensive kitchen had been fitted, tiled, and decorated. Decorated by the very man who is coming to help me this morning.

He is helping me this morning because I have been let down by the kitchen fitter who should have come to refit the very expensive beach wood worktop that he fitted in our very expensive kitchen just four months ago. Can you sense my frustration? Now I know that the more handy, savvy, do-it-yourself-knowledgeable types out there are saying that you shouldn’t have fitted a solid wood worktop above a boiler. I know. We knew that at the time it was fitted. We didn’t want to. But, we had no choice.  

Planning a new kitchen is worse then any global system implementation project I have managed. Worse than planning the invasion of Iraq. Not that I did that. And not that there is much evidence that the invasion was actually planned at all. No, synchronising the arrival of the kitchen fitter, the units, the skip, the electrician, the plumber, at the prescribed “windows of opportunity” is a complicated nightmare.  

People of Stoke, Staffordshire and South Cheshire beware of plumbers named Stuart. It was Stuart that let us down. He let us down badly.  We had agreed with Stuart to hand over large amounts of dosh in return for which he would move the boiler. He was going to move the boiler literally next to itself. Half a day’s work. Half a day’s work for five hundred quid. This was going to enable us to cut the worktop in a place that wouldn’t be aesthetically unpleasing. So that a small piece of worktop could be easily removed to get at the top of the boiler. 

Stuart, the plumber from Stoke, had one whole day in which to move the boiler. He knew this. He knew that if he missed this window then the whole fitting would be delayed by at least two months. Now don’t get me wrong, we knew Stuart. Stuart has been servicing our boiler for about five years. Stuart had fitted at least four radiators in our house. We had recommended him to at least two of our neighbours. You would have thought that we were considered to be good customers. That he may have wanted to keep us sweet. And, if not, you would have at least thought that he would have relished £500 for half a day’s work……. 

Stuart turned up late. Two hours late. Stuart was grumpy when he arrived. In retrospect, Stuart was always grumpy. Stuart declared that it was “stupid” to move the boiler. Stuart walked off the job. Never to return. Over my dead body. And he can whistle for the money that I still owe him.  

The boiler is still where it was. As a result, we could not cut the worktop. So, our very capable kitchen fitter designed it that, in the “very rare event” that something went wrong with the very modern, ultra-reliable boiler that we had had serviced every year and had absolutely no problem with ever, then the whole top could be removed to give access to the boiler. The boiler broke about six weeks ago. True enough, the worktop was removed as designed. The brand new sealant was cut and removed. Three bolts, a dozen or so screws. All were removed, and, amazingly, I managed to do it without breaking any of the very expensive, brand new, Fired Earth tiles.  

The boiler was fixed. But, I couldn’t get the worktop back. Not so it fitted in such a way that it would not warp. Not in an aesthetically pleasing way. And, the tap had developed a very irritating wobble. But not to worry. The kitchen fitter promised to “pop back” to help us in the event of us ever having to remove the worktop. Yeah right. I have been awaiting the “popping back” for six weeks now. Fortunately (?!?), Mike the decorator popped in yesterday to measure up for some decorating that we need doing. The study, the landing, the hallway, the skirting boards in the lounge, a picture rail, a new heated towel rail in the one-year-old bathroom to replace the one which fell off the wall at the bloody weekend! An arm and a leg. A small fortune no doubt. I sometimes wish that I had forsaken an Oxford education in favour of a plumbing or plastering course.  But, Mike is a top bloke. Totally professional. Perfectly punctual and reliable. Trustworthy. And Mike offered to come around this morning before going to a job elsewhere to help me out. So here I am. On my day off……….  


Entry filed under: poor service, rant. Tags: , , , , , .

Grumpy Old Man Part 4 Crash, Bang, Wallop!

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