So there I was just before 9am on a Saturday morning having a nice cup of tea and watching a bit of morning news when there was a ring of my shiny new doorbell…and there were five big men of various eastern European extractions on my door step.
Apparently I was required to hand over a large amount of money to these men and in return they might consider actually making my door the correct shape and size for the frame (obviously I was foolish in initially believing this might be done as a matter of course) and might actually come up with a solution for the broken panes of stained glass they caused when they were building my porch. Except at first they wanted to try to shift the blame for the broken glass – AGAIN. Allegedly my painter might have broken them with some wild dervish-like ladder dance. Except the glass was broken before the painter turned up.
Feeling quite brave I said the door needed to be fixed first and actually what were they doing here uninvited on a Saturday morning? Apparently the job was ‘in the book’, good of them to make the appointment without letting me know.
So the door got lengthened and came back, this time with just two men. But these were not two ordinary men, they had been to the ‘extracting money with threats’ charm school. They were going to take the door away unless I paid them then and there. Now I don’t know about other people but I am not in the habit of just having £1000 about my person on a normal Saturday afternoon. So I phoned their office and explained that as they had turned up unannounced on a Saturday I did not happen to have access to large amounts of cash and I was feeling rather uncomfortable about their non-customer friendly attitude. Eventually (and it took a lot of persuading on my part) we agreed that I could pay this morning – what with Monday being a working day when access to cash is a tad easier.
So now just the repair of the stained glass to go. Apparently one of the solutions to this is taking away my front door. Yes, because not having a door on your house in deepest, darkest London is actually a marvellous idea encouraged by the Met and insurance companies wholeheartedly. According to the illustrious builders it doesn’t matter because I now have a porch door. Yes, a glazed porch door which would obviously provide ample camouflage that there’s a big gaping hole in the front of my house.
Why is dealing with any type of builder person fraught with stress? I asked myself this quite a lot at 3 o’clock last night when I was mulling over getting completely worked up about the situation. This morning I have paid some of the money but I refuse to pay it all until everything is the way it should be (ie unbroken and working properly). Obviously I may return home this evening to find they’ve taken all the doors off the house.