Category Archives: Housing

Scenes on Sunday ~ Tiny Trailers

size isn’t everything
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jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

It would take me about a week to build one of these things

well, maybe two

 

 

 

Ecological Thrift

save money and stop trying to save the planet

consider living in a smaller place

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walk don’t drive

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drive something smaller

cheaper and more fuel efficient

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stop driving like an idiot

too fast, breaking too hard and too late

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quit your addictions

drinking, smoking, gambling, shopping, promiscuity

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don’t buy stuff you don’t need

never, ever, go shopping without proper list

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sell stuff you don’t use, wear, or has no purpose

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turn your heating down and your AC thermostat up

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jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

learn to cook

Some Signs of Being Poor

it’s no sin to be poor
but it’s no great honour either

working down the pit was the only work to be had

Out on my walk today something got me to thinking that, despite the misery imposed upon us by all the COVID crap, my life is so much easier today than it was when I was a boy.  Back then most people were were poor, life expectancy was short, and nobody cared about foreign travel because only the ‘jet setters’ could afford it.  Hardly anybody owned a car, all the men in my village worked at the coal mine, and all the women were housewives.

Some things from back then that the youth of today would not even believe;

  1. Winters were cold, and we only had one open fire to heat a Victorian 3 bedroom house
  2. In the winter, ice formed on the inside of my bedroom window
  3. The toilet was a brick outhouse down at the end of the yard
  4. There was only enough hot water to have 1 bath a week
  5. I went to Bog Row Junior Mixed and Infants School
  6. The best meal I got all day was the ‘school dinner’
  7. I walked to school from aged 5 until the day I graduated aged 18
  8. I got no ‘pocket money’ until I got myself a paper round
  9. I only had one change of school clothes, and one pair of shoes
  10. There was only one channel on our tiny black and white TV

All of the above are true for me, and not necessarily the worst of it.

The worst of it was being so hungry I’ve chewed newspaper.

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jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

just a boy in short trousers

 

The Artisan and the Lady

tradesmen are not good at listening

‘it’s finished…..’

Yet again I’ve been faced with examples of men who work with their hands treating female customers badly.  I’m never surprised when I hear that some garage mechanic hasn’t done whatever it was a woman has asked them to fix on her car.  Nor am I shocked if a car shop has done something very badly, half a job, and then charged their lady customer three times the going rate for a proper job.

I have heard tales of half-assed plumbers totally flooding a female friend’s home, making the place uninhabitable for months.  I’ve seen electrical work done so badly that a woman was lucky not to have her home burn down around her, and building work that was an utter joke.  The same goes for bathroom and kitchen fitters, gardeners, roofers…..  all of them do shoddy work for women and then overcharge them for it.

The thing is that the average tradesman learns a trade, (if you’re lucky), but never learns interpersonal skills ~ they do not listen.  Most tradesmen are very bad at their jobs ~ face it, most car mechanics are only car mechanics because it’s a step up from flipping burgers.  Almost all tradesmen learn how to do one thing, and never learn anything else.  In general, men who work with their hands are lazy, goof off at every opportunity, are sexist, misogynistic, and lecherous.  Add in to the mix that many so called ‘tradesmen’ are immigrant casual day labourers, who have never actually learned a trade, and you have a recipe for disaster for any woman who wants anything fixed, serviced, repaired, fettled, or built.

All women should be suspicious of mechanics, plumbers, electricians, roofers, gardeners, builders, kitchen and bathroom fitters…..  and you should never, ever leave them alone in your home, not for an instant.  Always ask to see their appropriate qualifications, on paper, there are trade associations for every single damn trade.  For example; here every gas fitter is obliged to be ‘Gas Safe Registered’ and show their customers their registration number.  Never ever employ a tradesman or use a garage based solely on the recommendation of a friend ~ look them up on the internet.  Always thoroughly check their work, or better still get a competent male friend to check their work before handing over any money.  Better than that, learn some basic trade skills yourself.

Some say that they trust their gardener / plumber / electrician / car mechanic.  And that it’s impolite to think they might have done a shoddy job.  All I know is that I don’t trust tradesmen, and I’m a very competent guy.

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jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

this isn’t finished

 

90% of Contractors Suck

do not ever pay for work that isn’t done right and completed on time

what the Arc would have looked like if Noah had used a contractor

Stop letting contractors screw you over.  There is NO excuse for work that isn’t done right, finished on budget, and completed on time.  I’ve heard it again and again that some contractor totally fucked up a job, or charged far too much, or did work that didn’t need doing, left an utter mess behind them after they finished, caused far more damage than they were asked to come in and fix, never finished the job at all, didn’t do the job they were asked to do, or didn’t even turn up…..

This is not a new story for me, so why am I bothering to flog this comatose horse?  Well a couple of friends of mine, and another couple of nice people whose blogs I follow, have all had problems with contractors in the past few days.  In my expert opinion 90% of contractors of every ilk from decorators, to plumbers, to electricians, to garage mechanics, to moving men et al, are utterly useless, partly skilled, dishonest, lazy, misogynistic jerks.

So how to avoid being totally ripped off?

  • Do not hire a contractor based on somebody else’s unsupported recommendation.  Especially do not hire anyone recommended by another contractor; say your realtor.
  • Do not ever, ever hire a friend, or a friend of a friend, to do ANY work for you.
  • Do not ever hire a contractor without first having a totally clear picture of the work you want doing, when you want it done by, how much you are going to pay, and when.  If you don’t know any of this stuff, GO AWAY AND FIND OUT!
  • Do not ever hire a contractor who can’t show you a current copy of their appropriate certification, and customer references.  Check these out, and never just by making a phone call.
  • Do not hire a contractor who can’t give you a firm written quote, on a proper letter-head.  If possible get three quotes, (if it’s a big job then you must have at least two firm quotations)
  • Do not ever pay a contractor before they have started work, and never ever pay them in full until the work is completed to your satisfaction.  Agree stage payments if appropriate.  Go over everything your contractor has done with a fine tooth comb.  Your word is the final word!
  • Do not ever, ever allow an unsupervised contractor into your property. And, ensure they are watched over 100% of the time thereafter.
  • DO NOT hire day rate illegal aliens under any circumstances.  And don’t hire anyone who isn’t fluent in your language.
  • Learn some DIY stuff.  Learn a hell of a lot of DIY stuff.  It is always easier, cheaper, and better to do the job yourself than hire some utterly useless, partly skilled, dishonest, lazy, misogynistic jerk to do the work for you.  And if you have some idea about how to actually do a bit of say; decorating, then you are in a far better position to control your idiot contractor.
  • Finally; do not be a woman.  All contractors think women are easy marks.  If you are a woman then follow the suggestions above with the utmost regard.

This is your job, your money, your home, your safety.  If your plumber floods your home, your electrician sets fire to your home, or you home just blows up……  then ultimately it is YOUR fault.  Do not let ANYONE tell you how you should go about dealing with a contractor.  (except me)

Some say that they have had a really good contractor.  And that not all contractors are bad.  All I know is that anyone who says they have had one good contractor will also have had three utter disasters.

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jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

some decorators can’t even varnish a floor without making a mess of it

Stupid DIY Mistakes

you’re only human, it’s all right to make mistakes

If you do most things for yourself, eschewing messy decorators, useless contractors, and rip-off garages, then every now and again you are bound to commit one of the classic howlers.  Mistakes you could kick yourself for.  Really stupid mess-ups that leave you thinking; ‘how the hell do I get out of this one…..?’

I might admit to being guilty of some or all of these;

  1. Painting yourself into a corner.  You can either walk on it or wait until it dries.
  2. Touching a spark-plug lead while the engine is running.  If you’re healthy you’ll just get a terrific jolt, if you have a heart pacemaker you might get dead.
  3. Opening the radiator cap on a hot engine.  Getting scalded hurts.
  4. Over-tightening a nut so the bolt / stud snaps.  That is likely to be expensive to repair, unless you know how.
  5. Sawing off the branch you’re sitting on.  The fall hurts.
  6. Sawing off the branch your ladder is leaning against.  The fall hurts.
  7. Taking off the bathroom door handle and closing the door while you’re inside, with no way to open the door to get out.
  8. Putting up a picture / shelf by hammering a nail / drilling into the wall, and going right through a water pipe.  Flooding is expensive to repair, so is the big hole you’re going to have in the wall.
  9. Ditto an electrical cable or gas pipe.
  10. Not learning how to use a spirit level and putting up a shelf.

Today I was guilty of #7.  Just as well I took lessons from a master locksmith.

Some say that we learn by our mistakes.  And that necessity is the mother of invention.  All I know is that I can now build, decorate, install, make, repair….. just about anything ~ and I have the scars to prove it.

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jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

I didn’t build that,

but I could

 

Scenes on Sunday ~ Cool Homes

wherever I hang my hat is my home

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jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

outdoor living is an option in sunnier climes

Random Jottings #18

the fire inside isn’t something to share lightly

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but who knows what he’s thinking about?

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nothing makes a log fire so good as a storm outside

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there is something about really bad weather that makes inside a good place to be

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the worst thing about very bad weather in England is that we insist on talking about it

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life as a cat is mostly about things that go squeek crunch in the night

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jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

a storm outside, a wood burner, a rug, and a lover

The Lockdown That Never Was

one day, surviving lockdown will be a badge of honour

It’s not a matter for applause Boris

Here in England it’s day 44 of the official lockdown, and around the country there are many people still suffering self-isolation.  You want to know something, solitary confinement constitutes a ‘cruel and unusual punishment’, and yet the British Government has inflicted this torture on it’s entire population, for no very good reason at all.

Of course this lockdown does not apply to them, not to the British Government, not to the great and the good.  All the swines at the trough, all the government ministers, politicians, health officials, civil servants, the scientists, the intelligentsia advising the government and National Health Service through multifarious committees, none of these people either believes in lockdown or think it applies to them.

Among the dozens and dozens of scandals around the self-important, sanctimonious, and stupid people who have cheated the whole lockdown thing we have Catherine Calderwood, who used to be Scotland’s Chief Medical Officer.  She had to resign her post after breaking her own rules and visiting her second home in Earlsferry, Fife, which is a hell of a long way from Edinburgh, the Scottish capital.

But that pales into insignificance if we consider the case of Professor Neil Ferguson, who happens to be the bastard who told the British Government there would be 500,000 avoidable deaths here if we didn’t have lockdown.  Mr Trump was persuaded to impose lockdown in the USA after Ferguson told the President there would be 2,000,000 deaths in the USA if lockdown wasn’t imposed.

Well, it seems married with kids Feruguson (51) has been having his amoral slut, married with kids Antonia Staats (38) travel all across London for a regular fuck while Ferguson’s own lockdown was in force.  I’d like to bet I know what kind of people these two are, since they met on an online dating site OKCupid.  You know what, the architect of lockdown having his slut break the lockdown rules so they could do whatever it is they do for sexual gratification is beyond contemptible disgust.

Personally, I gave up on lockdown on the first of May.  Today I took a 3 hour walk by the sea, in the fresh air and sunshine, and I feel a hell of a lot better for it.

Not many others around here seem to be much interested in self-isolation either.  Lots of cars on the road, lots of bicyclists around, and where I walk there were lots of other people taking the air and enjoying the sunshine and fresh sea breezes.

The supermarkets are open, although you may need to stand in line outside for a while.  Restaurants are offering take-outs, our local DIY super-store is doing take-outs for stuff like paint and tools, building and gardening contractors are working, and IKEA is opening its UK stores on May 18th.

Some say we are all equal, we are all in this COVID-19 thing together.  And that we should stay at home to protect the Health Services.  All I know is they can all fuck with whoever they like as long as they leave the rest of us alone.

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jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

meanwhile the rest stand in line

 

Health, Safety, and Security

we live in strange and disturbing times

These days, crime is endemic, and getting worse every damn day.  Sadly we are not allowed to shoot people here,

Years and years ago, when I was a boy, Health and Safety was never on anyone’s mind.  But then, in the recent living memory of most English people were the horrors of WWII, and we had the ongoing privations of post-war austerity.  So, things like the paleo diet, or obesity, or walking 10,000 steps a day would have seemed like something from a weird Druidic cult.  As a growing boy my main concern was getting enough to eat.

As for security; doors were only locked at night, we didn’t chain up our bicycles, and banks were for rich people.  The thought that someone would install a CCTV camera would seem like something from George Orwell’s 1984, (which I was reading at grammar school).

And yet, that’s exactly what I’m going to do.  Today I will buy a CCTV system to monitor my apartment, especially my front door.  I have a good reason or three.

Yesterday I had a rather unfortunate incident involving a drugged-up piece of shit banging on my door.  Of course I was stupid enough to open the damn door.  From there things went downhill, up to the point of my calling the police.  It seems that the young male concerned is well known to the local police, although he is not a convicted criminal.  The senior police officer made it clear that it was better that I hadn’t hit the disgusting drugged-up piece of shit.

I have to concur.  This isn’t Texas, or Arizona, or New Mexico where blasting holes in the guy would have been the thing to do.  Here in England we have very few rights when it comes to defending ourselves and our homes.

Hence the new CCTV cameras, which will be installed as soon as I can get them delivered.

We live in strange and disturbing times.

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jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

this is not the world I expected to live in

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