The Roofer and me…

My roof had been leaking for some time but gently enough for me to ignore it. Early this year – as I am sure you will recall we were struck by a virtual deluge that went on for weeks. I had great sympathy for the people in Somerset and the Thames valley and all the other places suffering the horrors of floods. I transferred my sympathy to myself when a great deal of the stuff entered my bedroom via the ceiling. Not too dramatic but consistent it dripped down the wall & the ceiling bulged dangerously.

I cast about for a likely roofer, phoned a few and asked around including on Facebook and a friend recommended a sterling chap who had worked with her dad and was completely reliable.  I cancelled the expensive sounding guy who had promised to come & give me an estimate and this little bantam cock of a middle aged man came along to look at the roof. I liked him immediately and as he had come with the glowing recommendation I trusted him. He reckoned that £500 would cover the cost and I, foolishly, gave him a cheque up front (I shan’t be doing that again!)

The first time he came to do the work he was on the roof a half hour at most. I rang him and he came back and spent as similar time again. He also tore a whole lot of wallpaper down explaining that the wall would never dry out with  wallpaper in place. Half a ton of plaster came down with the paper and spread itself liberally on the carpet.  The roof still leaked and I sent him a letter of complaint.  He came back complaining bitterly – I drew his attention to the fact that he had promised to clear a gutter and it was merrily pouring the wet stuff down the wall. He went up on the roof and when I went outside to speak to him I spotted him on a roof a few hundred yards away.

I realised that he was definitely not prepared to rectify the job and I lost sleep in frustration. A good friend suggested that I should report the roofer’s lousy workmanship and to this end he got another roofer to go up on my roof to take photographs, the pictures of my roof were pretty surprising and I realised I had been ripped off rightly. There were gaping holes in a firewall and the work he had done was exceeding rough, even the nails he had used had rust traces adorning each one and the concrete hanging down in clumps.


I emailed him to say that I would report him to his association and publish the photographs on Facebook and name him. I sent copies of the photos. He got back to me almost immediately and after a haggle he agreed to pay me back £400.  He brought round £300 almost straight away and promised to bring the other £100. When it didn’t arrive for a week or two I telephoned him daily until he brought it this week.

I am a pensioner and though I certainly don’t see myself as an old ‘lady’ (more an old broad!) however I think that he felt that he could get away with a diabolical liberty like this because I seemed helpless, powerless and clearly anybody giving money upfront was a mug. Well mister roofer I am not  a total mug and I reckon you were overpaid for the ‘work’ you did but I am glad to suggest that this is a good scheme for anybody who feels that they have been ripped off. I won’t name you and I think you got off lightly. I do hope it will make you reconsider your practises as a roofer – alleged!

I have to thank a good friend who was instrumental in organising the photographing and with his invaluable advice. He has asked me not to name him but he knows who he is – thanks mate!

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The Outpatient Experience

I thought I had heard it on the radio or perhaps I had read somewhere that the backless cotton gown in hospitals had been banished and that something more decorous had replaced it, but no, it seems not, it still rules. I am sure that any woman knows which ones I mean: they are starched flat things that lay in a heap ready to be grabbed and donned by any female patient. In my latest encounter with the X ray process there was a sign telling any female patient to remove her clothes from the waist up ( I have the mere vestige of a waist so I used my imagination) and put on  a gown.

I have my own theories about these garments: namely that they are part of a ritual humiliation process. Mainly to stop any woman arguing the toss about her treatment. It is near impossible to take yourself seriously while thus disadvantaged and frantically attempting to retain a vestige of decency.  If you have never come across these garments –I use the word loosely – there are two short sleeves through which you thread your arms while the back flaps wide to expose your derriere. A concession is made in that there are a couple of tapes to tie round your neck so that the gown doesn’t sink spontaneously to the floor. I found it impossible to tie this so asked another woman to tie it for me. There are some tapes lower down which I defy anybody to tie for themselves. So the entire rear flaps open. In my latest exposure to this phenomenon I had my trousers on but it is not uncommon to see withered ancient buttocks parading past – NOT a pretty sight – and even nice bonny buttocks don’t appeal when they are inadvertently exposed as you wait on a hard chair feeling vulnerable.

After a brisk nurse raced me though my X-ray I was told I could go. Next my blood test. Several hours later of course. So I went home and came back to be greeted by a stern young man with a built in frown. We marched briskly down a corridor and met another nurse – they went into a huddle which gave  me a chance to catch my breath. ‘I just turned another two away for being ten minutes late!’  from the second nurse who sounded jubilant and they shared grins while they spoke of too many people being booked in by ‘them’.  We reached a room and stern nurse asked me to take off my clothes above my waist except my bras and he put wires on me. Briskly. Then he was very effective at taking half an armful of blood popped into various tubes and I was dismissed. That was my Thursday itinerary taken care of and I had only gone to the doctor because I was short of breath! I began to worry. …



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WORD RANT Some time ago I wrote a poem called Jargon it went like this:

We speak jargonese with a consummate ease

that has to be heard to be disbelieved

we witter away but what do we say ?

At this moment in time and basically too

we try to convey new concepts to you

dressed up in a blanket of complex verbiage

concealed from the mind,

obfuscating sense

Why do we do it ? we really don’t know

It makes us feel smart in an idiot show ….

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The Roofer & Me

I have been muttering about my experience with my chosen roofer for weeks and now I shall relate the story in full: I appealed on Facebook and to friends for the name of a reliable and honest roofer, a couple of names came up but then a woman who I like told me about this excellent bloke who had worked with her father and was a very nice man – kind of super – roofer ! I had spoken to another roofer who I now cancelled and put my roof in the alleged capable hands of Phil – roofer extraordinaire.

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I always listen to ‘Sunday’ at 7.10 a.m on radio 4 (my aural safety blanket) and usually turn the radio on earlier and listen to a  person herding sheep in the north of England, or dairy farming in the West country. And my rural self makes a brief but fervent appearance – only in my mind of course.  I think ‘Ah that’s the life close to the earth in touch with reality’. And I straighten up from my computer and do a couple of exercises in preparation for my rural being. I feel sentimental about sheep – even though my only experience of them was very smelly indeed and they seemed cumbersome beasts with little charm or sense – I remember not caring for the bullying tactics of the sheep dog either so perhaps I was having bad day.

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