Saturday, December 29, 2007

Normal Service has been Resumed

Slowly the fingers of heat found their way through the cold frostbitten pipes. From the pipes the heat danced through the air replacing the cold with fabulous warmth, for so long missing from this poor house. Oh yes, many hoorays I now have a new boiler!!

The two chaps who came to fit said boiler could have been a double act although Laurel and Hardy they were not. More Good Cop, Bad Cop. In a display of stereotypical nonsense that you just could not make up we had a cheery happy bloke and a miserable bad tempered fellow. Cheery fellow would attempt any feat of plumbing or electrical bravery with a kindly smile and a pleasant word while bad tempered fellow just looked on in disgust. Attempts at pleasing the customer were far from his priority. Bad tempered fellow informed me with some pleasure that he could not fit the thermostat to my new boiler while cheery fellow managed the simple task without problems. Bad tempered fellow was not amused, but regained his bad tempered ground on telling me that I was going to have a large hole in the wall to fill. With glee he took me to the kitchen to show me the rather disturbing spectacle of daylight forced through a large rough hole in the wall. A hole large enough that a window could comfortably have fitted into its circumference. However, the hand, and Pollyfilla, of cheery fellow was in on this, as when I next looked the hole was miraculously filled in. If you hold a light object up to it there is a slight motion but I’m not going to let that worry me.

I had been told that all you need to do to ensure happy workmen is to offer them tea/coffee and lots of biscuits. This I attempted to do, but both workmen were not interested. Perhaps with some food and drink inside them things would have been very different.

My dad came over and we tried a new trick. He asked me to hold my head over the gas hob (on but not lit). This could be seen as a) Child Abuse or b) Testing to make sure that I could smell any potential gas leaks. I’m kind of hoping it was b). Scarily the upshot of it was that Cheery fellow could smell it but my dad and I couldn’t. Should I be worried?

Come the end of the day’s work and cheery fellow was dispatched to the van. I felt that things could now get difficult with my erstwhile saviour engaged removed from the house and currently lashing the ladder to the roof of the van. Bad tempered fellow probably felt the same way and he loaded his final bad tempered bullet, took aim and fired. All he needed was well over £1000 there and then, cash or cheque only. I looked at him and laughed. He didn’t return the laughter. I tried a smile but the effect was the same. Eventually I persuaded him that, as the invoice I had signed stated 30 days to pay (I had checked this before I signed) that that is just what would happen. He tried to tell me that the “30 days to pay” didn’t mean anything. “It’s just what we put on our invoices but you don’t really have 30 days to pay. We just get the money right away.” My dad came in at this point and laughed even more. Bad tempered man remained bad tempered. There was a moment (only a moment but it appeared to last) where we stared each other out wondering who would be the first to flinch, to back down, to capitulate. I actually wondered if he would attempt to dismantle the boiler. Fortunately he didn’t and we were able to negotiate. Reasoning with him that we simply did not have the money and therefore we would have to get the money together before he would see a penny of it seemed to do the trick. We did reassure him that we would get it to him soon but you can be sure that “soon” will be 30 days!!! He seemed to believe us on the subject of the speed of his receiving his money and left, still bad tempered. I wondered if, in fact, his bad temper is what his customers know and love him for and, probably come to expect from him. If he started being cheery would they not be a little disappointed? Added to this, what would cheery fellow do? Would he be forced to adopt the affectations of bad tempered fellow?

Once he was gone I moved through my newly warm house. It felt strange not to have to be moving large electric heaters about with me and thinking about where best to put then to gain the best heat advantage. A small part of me actually missed the security of the newly abandoned routine.

I sat down and sighed. Then, just because I could and they were there, I demolished all the uneaten biscuits.

14 comments:

Tom Foolery (TF) said...

Just popped over from Auntiegwen's blog. Like your humour. We had builders in for a few months during the summer, blood suckers! TFX

Omega Mum said...

I am so pleased to hear about your boiler though bad/good cop sounded bizarre. Not British Gas, I take it? Schizophrenia Fuel?

Gwen said...

Thanks Tom Foolery. Please call again. Builders/workmen of all sorts - all the same eh. I feel for you.

Thanks Omega Mum. It was not BG - just a local heating engineers firm. Now Schizophrenia Fuel would be a good name for them.

Crystal Jigsaw said...

Dear me, Gwen! Fancy being without heat at this time of year - your post made me shiver just reading it. Good on you for not paying. These men really know how to try it on don't they. Who do they think they are? Hope the biscuits made you feel better!

A very happy (and warm) new year to you and hope all your dreams come true.

Crystal xx

Gwen said...

Thanks Crystal. I am now cosy and warm thankfully despite these money grabbing plumbers. Happy New Year to you to.

Gari said...

Happy New Year. Hope it's warm and toasty with the new boiler.

Gwen said...

Thanks Gari. I hope so to.

Happy new Year to you to.

Kelly said...

Delighted that you are not going to an early grave with hypothermia....a great start to the New Year!

Ishouldbeworking said...

A belated Happy (and warm) New Year to you, Gwen. Make these swine wait their thirty days for their money. Threaten them with the Trading Standards office if they make so much as a peep.

auntiegwen said...

I wonder if lady plumbers would be different ?

Gwen said...

Thanks Kelly and ISBW. Any problems and I will be straight to Trading standards I can tell you.

Auntiegwen - I would like to think that Lady Plumbers might be a lot better. You never seem to hear of ladies plumbing though do you?

Andrew Collins said...

I've noticed the same trend among tradespeople re: biscuits. I've had quite a few through the house over the past year or so, and I always get milk, sugar and biscuits in, but although they take the milky tea gratefully, they rarely eat the biscuits.

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