Tag: <span>BAD</span>

When we bought our house we knew it would take some time to modernise. It’s not been kept in the greatest of care, and we are slowly working our way through the required work. The next big job is a new kitchen, which is getting installed in March, and as we had a little money left over (getting a very good deal on the kitchen) we thought we’d see if we could afford updating the bathroom (the mushroom coloured suite has always been a bugbear).

I’ve phoned 4 or 5 different bathroom places, asking each to come out, have a look and a discussion about what is possible. Two of them never showed up, and didn’t phone to say they wouldn’t make it, so they are struck off the list. Two more have yet to call me back to confirm when they are visiting, which left one company who arranged to send a salesman out yesterday.

Lo and behold he turned up!

I just wish he hadn’t.

Maybe we were spoilt by the guy that sold us our new kitchen (as much as ANY salesman can ever spoil you), but this guy was just… I dunno, BAD.

It started out fine, he turned up, was pleasant enough and asked some good questions when I was showing him the bathroom and talking about what we would like. Now, I made it quite clear that I wasn’t sure what we could afford what we really wanted and that we were looking for some help with the pricing and were more than willing to alter our ideas a little. Basically I was trying to get say that we wanted X, when in reality we expected to be getting Y, and letting him ‘manage’ to get us a good deal for Y.

So he seemed to be playing along and suggested we price up the most expensive layout option (new shower unit, moving the sink, boxing in under the window and the WC) first and work from there.

He spent some time measuring up, talked through the usual brochures and choices and then he jotted down some notes on a pad, totalled up and gave us his quote.

It was about £1k over our budget (we were keeping a few hundred back for negotiation). I told him this and he started humming and hawwing, rapping his pen on his notepad, tapping more figures into his calculator, scratching his head, writing more figures down, and eventually said that (ohh it’s a miracle!) he could come quite close to our budget. It was right at the top of the budget we had told him, and I made some general “not sure” noises to see if he would sweeten the deal.

Now, at one point he had asked us to pick floor tiles to which I said that we weren’t going with tiles so to leave that out of the budget, I’d handle that later.

So when his deal sweetener was to throw in a set of floor tiles for only £100… well I said no.

He then spent a further couple of minutes tapping away whilst Louise and I sat quietly, letting him break the silence first. No, he couldn’t get us a better deal, he was cutting this and this, ohh and this. I asked him to remove the shower option, and his reply was “well yeah, but you want to get it done properly”. My response of “but there is a perfectly good shower there already” was, seemingly, ignored.

He again pointed out that this was a great deal, and that his craftsmen were the best.

And to be fair, it was a pretty good deal so I told him that yes, I thought it was a good deal. To which he replied:

“Ohh ok, so when do you want to get things moving?”

Ummmm. Hello? I asked for a quote.

He looked a little befuddled at this point, and I wonder how many other people he has bullied into taking things they don’t want. I was quite firm, saying we had other people still to come in, but if he left the figures with us we’d call him this week. At that, he all but ran out of the door, leaving no figures behind. He will not be getting a call from us.

Why are good tradesmen so hard to find?


Most of you probably know, by now, that my day job is writing software documentation. Actually it’s a hell of a lot more than that but that’s a discussion for another place, which nicely brings me round to my topic du jour.

I’ve been blogging for so long now that I easily slip between “work” writing mode and “blog” writing mode. One is conversational and prone to grammatical faux pas, the other is what I use when I’m blogging… These two writing modes are joined by a third mode, which is far more eloquent. Alas it doesn’t deign to hang around with the riff-raff too often and spends most of its time offline in various documents and files.

Over the years my “blog” writing mode has developed into what you see today. I’ve stol borrowed several style ideas from others, obv, but that DOES NOT MAKE ME A BAD PERSON (although I hope that content offers me some leeway). Thanks to anna (obv), heather (CAPS) and Lyle (italicised emphasis used for side thoughts), all of whom, I feel I should point out, trump me on content everytime. And no, I’m not being modest, and no I’m not hunting for platypus.. titudes..

Since starting my other blog, I am finding myself developing yet another writing style which is part way between “work” and “blog” modes and, whilst it’s still very much a work in progress I am enjoying the experience. I’ve mentioned before that it is a bit odd to be starting a new blog, from scratch, after all this time, and I am doing my utmost to remember all those things I wish someone had told me when I started out this esteemed tome that you are currently reading.

Am I allowed to call my own work esteemed? Probably not.

The evolution of a writing voice is best achieved by, you know, writing a lot. It doesn’t always have to be good (refer to my bulging archives for evidence) but the more you do it, the better it gets. Of course the audience plays a part as well, pitching your content correctly isn’t always easy, but some educated guesses will get you pretty far, certainly far enough for most hobbyist bloggers.

And therein lies the crux of the matter. THIS blog is a hobby, THAT OTHER blog isn’t. Not really. It’s self-promotion, it’s open to my peers and so the content comes under more detailed (or at least more consistently detailed) scrutiny. I’ll quite happily concede that I’m using it as a way to find my professional voice with the aim of writing an article or two for publication. It goes hand-in-hand with the reasons behind the move to the “oneman” brand, and with the upcoming re-design of said websites. It may even become part of an MA in future years, but that’s a fairly big decision which can wait for now.

As for the other kind of writing, the more eloquent prose that occasionally spring on you, that will continue to burble away in the background. I do enjoy writing it, and whilst I don’t find it particularly hard, it usually gets a couple of edits before it gets published. Alas it’s wholly dependant on my mood, time available and ultimately it’s not something I can sustain for more than the length of a blogpost.

In other words, no, I am not writing a book.


Friday evening and as my family drive away I open the fridge, and crack open another beer. A quick check of the TV and I decide to finish that book I’ve been reading (review to follow). One page of text later and I’m done. Nice ending.

Upstairs to the computer, a quick check that I can just “copy and paste” tracks from iTunes to Louise’s new MP3 player (I can) and I start surfing. Blog after blog I realise that my interest is waning, so many, too many, time for a cull. Something in the air?

Tomorrow and we start planning for the week in Spain, teabags, square sausage, haggis, sweeteners and more to be bought, and packed amongst the few clothes we’re taking. A couple of books, the iPod and I’m all set.

Not sure how it will be, it’s the first time we’ll have been back in Spain since the funeral, and emotions will be running high. Just have to wait and see I guess, little else for it. We do have the company of Louise’s Granda who, on the grounds that his bus pass is free (he’s 80-odd) , is steadfastly refusing to accept a lift home from the airport when we return. No doubt which side of the family my wife gets her stubborn independant streak.

So apart from some shopping the weekend stretches out in front of us, a few chores to attend to but little else that must be done. I’d like to draft a few articles that will get posted whilst I’m away, but aside from that I’m looking forward to picking up a book, watching some movies and generally starting the wind-down to Wednesday. Pity I have to be in work on Monday and Tuesday.

If you haven’t yet, be sure to catch the recording of Peter’s interview with Alan on Leith FM, delivered by the rather snazzy Castpost system, first time I’ve used that and quite impressed. You can find the recordings on Alan’s site. You should also catch up with mike’s adventures in hangzhou, find out what Stuart thinks of Trivial Pursuit (and find out what “handies” are), and nod along with Hana’s post about the recent debacle surrounding George Galloway (although I’m sure someone will trot out the old “no such thing as BAD publicity” line soon).

In fact it’s annoying me so much that I’ll chip in my tuppence on Gorgeous George as well. I’ve said before that he seems self-serving but so far he’d managed to deflect any real ire directed his way, even if it was by walking out in the middle of a televised interview.. I agree with some of his politics but the more I listen to him the more I realise he’s just saying what some people want to hear, and what will get him press inches. And now he’s in Big Brother and I’m sure he’ll wonder why people don’t take him seriously…

Anyway, enough of this. My beer is finished, time for another! Diet? what?


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Well Peter and Lyle have already answered (correctly) my question – I guess I should’ve banned certain people from answering…

So why the Gilbert and Sullivan quote? Well for some reason I got that song into my head yesterday, as all I seemed to be doing was adding, deleting, editing and creating lists. I’m sure I’ve read something somewhere about people like me who love the planning stages of things but loathe the actually ‘doing’ of things (admittedly it does depend on the topic, the sexual power that can be transmitted in a text msg is quite startling at times. I digress.)

The song – They’ll be none of ’em be missed – is about the first victim of the new Lord High Executioner… although I’m not sure why I’m telling you this as it’s not what I was going to talk about.

Hang on, time to change the music.

Ahh that’s better, John Coltrane – Blue Train.

Right, what I WAS going to mention was the memories that most Gilbert and Sullivan songs dredge up. My Dad was very active in the local operatic groups (he’s a tenor, I’m a bass) and usually ended up in various lead roles, including the one for which he shaved off his beard of some 15 years, you can guess which one. My memories of being dragged along to these shows as a young teenager are surprisingly welcome, almost fond. But then I already know I’m turning into my Dad so why fight it?

It’s almost a comfort zone I think. Presuming you are happy that you inherit some of your parents traits, which I am (some of them!) then it’s all to easy to fall back into them as a reminder of childhood, into an almost blanket-like comfort. If I really don’t know what type of music to put on, I find myself reaching for Paul Simon, Billy Joel and the like (I have no Neil Sedaka in my collection I’ve just realised, must remedy that). The familiarity of the songs and the times they represent are unique to me.

This is turning into a ‘the power of music’ waffle. So I’ll pause here and move on to another topic – briefly though.

I have a gay friend. He’s been my friend for years, even before he realised* he was gay. I’m thinking he’ll be my friend for many more years to come. I don’t particularly bleat on about the fact, although obviously accompanying him to a known ‘gay bar’ (great, that damn songs in my head now – fight back Mr. Coltrane!!) does raise the fact when people ask what you did at the weekend.

One thing that DOES annoy me is the ‘points scoring’ that some people seem to.. I dunno.. enjoy? Counting how many ‘gay/black/muslim/other ‘minority’ group’ they are friends with. Obviously too insecure in themselves. Bugs the crap out of me. That is all.

* OK, BAD choice of word but you get what I mean… “before he came to accept” may be more accurate but I’ve never discussed it in great detail with him.

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And finally… Good news and bad news.

My sister is happy. This is good news.

The bad news; A friend of mine recently had some distressing news concerning a car getting broken into, the guy who did it cutting himself and bleeding all over the interior over the car. My friend then drove the car home only to receive a call from the police helpfully informing her that, as the man himself stated when he was arrested minutes after breaking into her car (thanks to a chance police van that happened to be passing), the blood did have traces of HIV+ and Necrotizing Fasciitis (also known as Flesh-Eating Disease). I have struggled to find the right words for both here and when I speak directly to my friend. I’m not sure I will find them. My thoughts and prayers are with you K, as are many others, it will be alright.

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