Thursday, 27 January 2011

Home Improvements. Do not do it, especially in the garden

I am not going to bore you generally with my fencing problems because I do appreciate that the bathroom was boring enough. I am going to bore you with them in this post, though, so, feel free not to read.

The problem:
Our garden has a surprising amount of fencing which is all falling down. What would I do if it fell on the big white cat from two doors down while he is doing his acrobatics on the top of it and squashed him, or, even worse, the small and incredibly well-behaved child who rides her tricycle down the passage? Then everyone would hate me. So, I am trying to get someone to replace the fencing at a price which does not necessitate my selling a kidney (ha!). I am also trying to get someone to move two bushes from our front garden, which will hopefully make the whole thing look less as if a witch lives here. (Although, come to think of it, a witch does live here).

Now, I have learned many things during this exciting time of home improvements, one of which is that, getting estimates is like drawing teeth. I ring people, I leave messages, they do not ring me back, I grind my teeth, I fall out with Partner. This is before they have even seen the horror that is our fencing. I don’t know if this is because we live in a slightly questionable area, but I do know that if I say the words ‘in the most economical way possible’ in the message this increases my failure rate. Once they have seen it, however, they trot off, brightly, promising to send me a quote, looking nervously from side to side, and then they do not.

I do not begrudge these people, but I have become cynical, and I now factor in a certain amount of natural wastage. So, whereas I started off by noting carefully down in a small book who I had rung and what their name was, now I adopt a scatter-gun approach, and I pick people at random from the Yellow Pages and leave them clipped and unhopeful messages while I am having my coffee in the morning and am half asleep. Well the joke is on me today, because everybody I rang this morning is coming tomorrow, along with the man from the Salvation Army to pick up an armchair and the City Ranger to repair my green dustbin. I do not know their names because I didn’t write them down and I won’t know if they are expecting to see a bush, a fence, an armchair, or what. I have tried to schedule them at least half an hour apart but what if they all come together? It will be like a French farce involving garden contractors, with me in my furry-hooded Parka intoning briskly ‘who are you, and have you come to assess my bush?’ at the man from the Salvation Army, and a City Ranger trying to repair a green bin while competing men with tape measures measure up for palisade fencing under his feet. I will have to adopt a more organised approach in the future, and indeed you may see me next year in House Beautiful looking smug, under a caption which says ‘I acted as my own project manager and saved £xxxx on our renovation project!’. The caption never says, and I alienated all my friends, upset the dog and gave myself an ulcer in the process, but, we know.

On a brighter note, here is my stool which I had upholstered:
Rhapsody in beige
The man was the Henry Ford of upholsterers: I could have any colour I wanted but on the other hand he did have a beige remnant. I think it’s come out quite nice, though, don’t you? Yes, that might be yarn on the top. It might be Ethical Twist. I shall tell you more about this another time, when I shall also rant about the fact that the pattern for the Corrugated Asymmetrical Sweater in Loop-d-Loop just doesn’t work. There is a reason, as I often ponder, why I am so fond of the top-down raglan. There is a reason.


Denise said...

I like your upholstered stool. It looks like it's sitting on shaved chocolate. You don't have shaved chocolate for carpet do you?

Marushka C. said...

Yes, mentioning that you are on a budget or want a plan you can do in increments will scare off most contractors, landscapers, and all interior decorators. I hope your big day of estimates went well.

And weren't you lucky you had yarn to match your new upholstery?