All you need to know about General Builders
This esteemed writer was a general builder. Now, I’m very pleased indeed to say I don’t build any more. I’m too old and have been ground down by “the public” (you) for far too long to be trusted to behave myself properly in other peoples homes, without kicking their dog and punching the budgie.
When I was practicing the dark art though, just like every other general builder, I had a trade, but I preferred not to practice it in isolation but indulge myself instead, in imagining I could organise myself and everyone else enough to mastermind a complete project from start to finish.
So, I built extensions and refurbished people’s houses by using my own blokes, plus any others I decided were human enough to be trusted in your home, under strict supervision of course! I was the front man, the one who came round to look at your plans on your kitchen table. The man who sucked in air through his teeth, who shook his head very slowly in contemplation and then put the fear of God up you when I eventually came back with a price.
I did this for 30 years give or take. 30 years of slowly, very slowly, trying to stop myself hating the public (you). At this point I must assure you that I do know that I am also a member of the public and do not behave in any way differently from anyone else. But when I talk to other old “dog” builders the conversation is always the same. We don’t mind the building bit, but it’s the clients who foul the process up. (We don’t say “foul” of course)!
We do have short memories though. How many times did we not phone you when we were going to be late, or leave a pile of rubbish in your hallway, or let a labourer put the mixer in your flower bed?
But you see, despite what that TV bloke on the motorbike would have you believe, it’s not always the builder who is responsible for any problems that crop up during the average job in your lovely home. You are just as capable of driving us mad!
What about when you meet us at the door in the morning of the third day with “the list”. All the things you thought of last night that you suddenly want changing, which very often completely foul up the very first thing we were going to do that day. So…while my 4 blokes settle down to a nice cup of tea, you describe how you really want the new kitchen to look, and expect me to do it for the same price, or go mad when I tell you that will cost another £600. Christ, it’s just cost me £75 to stand there listening to you, (the 4 blokes are sitting down of course, earning me absolutely nothing).
That’s enough of that! Most people are lovely, me included. The vast majority of jobs went without a hitch, we arrived on time, you paid on time and recommended us to your friends and even got us back in again, when you, (and by you I mean the lady of the house) had thought up yet another scheme to relieve the household coffers of an unwanted 5 grand or so.
And so the process continues…healthy young thirty something tradesman, decide to “go for it” and spend the next lifetime slowly turning into callous, cynical old buggers just like yours truly. What the heck, you’ve got to do something between breakfast time and going to the pub!
Bye the way, the other day I thought I’d try and “go for it” again, but….”IT” had gone!
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