The free diy home improvement guide with answers to your questions on a wide range of do it yourself projects.


Scary Thought

What do they say about it never raining, but it pours... or whatever the saying is. Well this week has been one quote after another. It was the first week that my advertisement was back in the local rag and every man and his dog has been calling me. I have done four quotes in as many days and have been sitting up late into the night to get them done.

I think it is already starting to wear thin with Claire and the kids though. I am leaving the house at 7pm each evening and out until at least 9pm. Then I get the laptop out and immediately start writing up the quote, which takes at least an hour. I like to do it while I still have all the detail fresh in my mind. Meanwhile Claire has put the kids to bed and made me a cuppa and I ignore her for the rest of the night.

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Shoddy Electrics - Time for a Re-wire

I am finally back at work after a whole week doing pretty much nothing. To be honest I felt like I could go back to work straight away, but Claire wouldn't let me. She said that she knows I would ignore the pain or if the wound got wet, so she wanted to keep an eye on me. Probably a good idea.

So I have been catching up on some of the unfinished jobs from the previous week. This includes the job where I got hurt. The woman who lives in that house was so apologetic. She honestly felt like it was her fault. I had to admit to her that it was my own haste and lack of care which got me into the state I am in. Luckily it has rained since the accident, so all the blood has been washed off her patio....

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So where is all this supposed growth to come from ?

Spending review....well, I have been sitting around home this week due my enforced holiday, (my arm is healing nicely, thankyou!) and I have had the time to think about this latest round of cuts which have been announced.

One thing strikes me as strange, if not impossible. 500,000 jobs are to go in the public sector and my guess is that the private sector can expect to get rid of the same number of people. At the same time there are cuts to benefits. So people will have less money to spend and this can only impact on the economy. So where is all this supposed growth to come from?

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So Why Aren't I Rich Beyond Belief

This week I have been considering my options as a kitchen and bathroom fitter, come electrician/ jack of all trades. I wonder if I am spreading my skills too thinly, or if I could make much more money doing something related, but more targeted.

The reason I was thinking about this was because over the last week I have had six quotes to do ! Yes count em...that's S-I-X! Best of all four of those have come back to me already and accepted. I am now booked up for the next 10 weeks and there doesn't seem to be any real let up in interest.

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Sorry to be Blunt but...

It is effing freezing – I am sorry to be so direct, but this weather has been a complete nightmare. It is like the UK has turned into Greenland overnight and we are all so ill prepared that it is causing something like a coronary every time a snowflake hits the ground.

One of the joys of working so close to home this week has been the fact that the snow hasn't really affected me. I did the sensible thing and left the van at home. Yes, I walked – an alien concept to most, I realise, but the safest option when you have a three ton van and a hill to negotiate. But try telling that to the delivery driver I had to help out on my way home yesterday.

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Spiral Staircase – What a Pain

Still working hard, as ever. I am so used to jobs which take two or three weeks at the most, that this one feels like it is dragging on already. And we have hardly got started.

The builders are still on site and have moved to the upstairs. Turns out it will be slightly more complicated to put the stairs into the loft than we thought. Chris decided on a spiral staircase to make the most of the downstairs space and it fits all the building regulations and so on. But it is going to be a pain in the rear to fit. It has to go in one corner of the room downstairs, but that means that you pop up in an awkward place in the loft. Clearly the architect didn't think about the fact that the loft was to be used as a bedroom. It is now going to be a very limited space and you will have to bend over to avoid knocking your head every time you go up the stairs.

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Stress Free? - Not a Hope

Well it has been a busy week but such a rewarding one. I can say without a doubt that I made the right decision to walk away from the work I was doing with Chris. I feel less stressed and happier than ever. I know they say that a change is as good as a rest and it must be true because I feel like I have had a holiday!

The little house (as it shall be referred to from now on) has been having a bit of a poke and probe from a number of experts. We got a damp proofing expert in and it does look as though it needs that particular work done. A nice little expense we didn't bargain for. Thankfully the guy who does it is one of my mates from down at the pub. He says that if I give him a days labour to help out with the work he will do it cheap for me. I am more than happy with that because next time I will be able to do it myself!

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Thank Goodness It's Over

Phew, thank goodness that is over! The in-laws have moved on to wreck havoc in another house, Christmas is over and the turkey is almost eaten, our lovely night out was ruined (more on that later...) and we just have a night at home to celebrate New Year to look forward to. Oh, and I am half a stone heavier. Roll on 2010, I need to get back to work!

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The Christmas Spirit Has Finally Arrived

This week I was roped into helping my daughters nursery with their nativity play. They needed backdrops made and painted and the stage needed a bit of work to make it look Christmassy. I found myself up till all hours getting it looking perfect, while some of the other Mum's were busy sewing costumes and sticking tinsel to every available surface. As I was the only bloke, it was me who was up and down the ladders and hammering the nails. Whatever happened to women's lib?

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The House of Dogs

Autumn has well and truly hit round my way and true to form, I have come down with a rotten cold and to be honest I feel like death warmed up. The problem is that I haven't been able to take any time off as I am booked up this week. Chris has asked me to go round lots of his properties and do a few odd jobs. So it has been a case of a few hours here and half a day there. It makes life interesting I guess.

But feeling like this and having to work through it just makes it last that much longer. Claire has been telling me that I should just spend a day in bed and get over it properly, but I do always tend to carry on. I guess it serves me right if I end up really ill. But isn't that what they invented Lemsip for?

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The Joys Of Being Self Employed

Things are going pretty smoothly for me at the moment...touch wood. This is a good saying for a builder as wood is pretty much everywhere I go! But to be honest I could say that this week has been pretty much perfect – work-wise.

I have been doing a series of little jobs, which are right up my street. There is nothing better than being paid for a days work, when the job only takes three or four hours. This week I have had three of these, so far. One more to go and then a day off... the joys of being self employed.

So on Monday I did a cat flap for one of my neighbours and fixed her outside tap. I was finished by 1.30pm and didn't feel in the least bit guilty. I did a good job, got paid a fair amount for a tradesman of my considerable skill and went home early to be with my kids. There was no stress, no having to go out and buy materials, no having to leave jobs unfinished and having to try and clean up at the end of the day. Done and dusted and there you go – easy!

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The Money Is Good - But Is It Worth It ?

This week I have had to work all hours once again. I am trying to claw back the extra week which all the problems of last week incurred. There is no choice really – Chris has set up tenants to move in for next week.

It wasn't until two days ago that I received this interesting piece of news. Chris called me up and said he had arranged tenants already for the flats. I congratulated him on his efforts and then he let slip that he had promised them they could move in before the 24th Sept. I can't believe it.

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G L Smith and Sons