Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Bringing Out Hartfield

It would be simple enough to just pack up and move into Hartfield without much ado. After all there's ample space even for a burgeoning young family, what more a couple of swinging singletons! But I simply cannot tolerate the presence of an absolutely hideous staircase banister. Not only is it a garishly blinding metal monstrosity that reeks of the Chinese towkay nouveau riche, it comes with a multitude of knobs, pulleys and various curious metal attachments that I find impossible to fathom.

So it has to go. 

Replacing it with a simple wooden banister without any frills would suffice - not to mention far more tasteful - but there would be few aspiring workmen who would deign to find time for such a simple task. Thus was born the idea to extend Hartfield to almost twice its current size, effectively giving me far more space for my designing ideas. There are even thoughts of expanding the bathroom giving more space for a tub and such. 

Unfortunately being transferred across the Big Puddle to the back of beyond comes with its distinct disadvantages - one of them being the deplorable inability to call up reliable workmen when the need inevitably arises. Back home, we had an entire list of manual workers from plumbers to electricians readily contactable on speed dial. Over here, all I could depend on was the clearly unsound personal recommendations of friends and colleagues. Helpful though they try to be, most of them - having never had a domicile of their own - have never even acquired the services of said workmen. 

Even Charming Calvin who hails from here found it difficult to drum up some names. 

Hence the dilemma. 

And the difficulty of hiring a worker when there are hardly any portfolios of their previous endeavours to peruse at length. Sure they all can spin a convincing sales spiel but would they actually be able to translate all my fanciful castles in the sky into brick-and-mortar reality? Always the niggling fear that my personal dream of a Neuschwanstein would transform into a horrific New Swine Estate instead. 

So I took on several bidders for the commission, trying to see which would be the best fit. Thus far none have actually managed to impress me with their skill and knowledge. Even less with their looks. Seriously, do hunky muscular manual labourers only exist in gay porn? 

Sadly they don't all look like this. 

Contractor : Here's my quotation. 
Paul : And what makes you different from the other two? 
Contractor : Well I can always throw in some extras. 
Paul : Oh really?
Contractor : Maybe do the tiling at the patio? Some extra power sockets?
Paul : That's all good but could you flex for me a bit? 
Contractor : Umm.. yeah sure? 
Paul : That looks really good. Maybe unbutton your shirt? 
Contractor : Not sure what difference it makes but sure. 
Paul : Oh yeah it looks like you could handle plenty.
Contractor : Really, I assure you I can handle the job. 
Paul : There's a dirt stain on your chest, lemme get that for you. 

Now if that were to actually happen, it would have been so much easier to choose. Maybe just sign off if the price is right? 

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