It’s whinging time!
First whinge, builders.
Wow, what a few weeks. I’ve been looking for a builder to do some work on my house. I live in ex-council semi-detached house. Now ex-council houses are well known for being well built, if a little lopsided in places, but this one was a bit weather worn when we first bought it. That was 21 years ago.
What I initially required was a simple repointing of the chimney and some of the gable end, the pointy end of the house, and a bit of rendering to cover over someone else’s botch job at the back of the house.
So far I have had three builders give me a quote. One I had to chase on the phone just to come look at the job, a second told me I needed lime mortar, a third told me I didn’t. One told me the whole gable needed doing, the whole front of the house, most of the roof too. One told me it couldn’t be done yet because it’s too wet and cold, March at the earliest, another said he could do it next week. The prices ranged from £3800 to £5500. The most promising neglected to say that his price didn’t include the scaffolding, which should cost about £300 (his price, not mine) but has yet, after a week, to get back to me on that. He’s supposed to be calling me today, but hasn’t so far.
Just what the hell am I supposed to make of all that? Do builders have special phones that only work at random intervals? Do they all wear special contact lenses that show different things?
Admittedly they do all offer pretty long guarantees, ranging from 10 – 20 years, and none of them want any money upfront, which is a good sign I suppose. I’m just not certain what actually needs doing.
Bearing in mind that, at the moment, I can afford to have the work done, and that it should never need doing again in my lifetime, in the end I have decided to have the whole front and gable end done, along with the chimney, that bit of rendering and the bottom course of tiles re-bedded on the roof. I have another builder coming today to give me a quote, that will make four. I await with bated breath what he has to say.
Second whinge, Energy Companies (and other profiteering parasites in general).
I got an email from my energy company (who shall go unnamed, like hell! It’s Scottish Power, who are about as Scottish as Napoleon Bonaparte), telling me my fixed tariff is coming to an end and that, to avoid being having my first born child eaten alive by rising energy prices, I should agree to a new tariff right now.
Well, I had a look at their new tariffs. There were four available, all pretty much the same, two green, two not, two for 24 months and two for 12 months and all two and a half times what I am paying now. After swearing at their website for a while and then finding myself unable to get through to their customer services, I decided to ignore it. My tariff doesn’t run out until the end of February anyway.
I got another email from them yesterday. This time it said if I didn’t choose a new tariff I would be put on their standard varaible tariff, which they helpfully listed alongside my current tariff, so I could see just how horrible it would be. It is indeed more than I pay now, by about 20%, much less than the 250% on their fixed tariffs. It could go up by perhaps 50% in April, but is capped at that and would still work out much cheaper.
People, including governments, are calling this an energy crisis. In conclusion I can only think these people are the profiteering parasites they resemble.