I’m planning Works.
God willing, Aug/Sept will see the start of major building works at Soilman Towers. A single-storey extension will, theoretically, double our downstairs living area and magically transform our lives into ambrosial, dreamy perma-bliss.
Well, that’s the plan.
In reality, of course, it will be Purest Hell. Having no kitchen and choking on builder’s dust for 6-10 weeks will not be amusing.
The prospect of the actual works, though, isn’t the worst bit. The worst bit is the state-sanctioned extortion of the building ‘industry’. With the exception of our excellent architect, everyone is on the take, take, take. From the structural engineer (£1,000 for a 10-min visit and ‘plans’ which he hand-drew in no more than 5 mins) to Thames Water (£343 for an ‘application to build within 3m of a sewer’ – aka daylight robbery/blackmail bribery) to the ‘Environmental Assessment’ insisted on by the council (£200 for a grubby rent-a-moron to peer into a dying fern and declare it a natural habitat for bees).
Next to the professionals and public officials you encounter, the actual builders look honest. I swear to God.
I’d never encountered this before. I knew, of course, what to expect – in theory. Seeing the outrageous official scams actually play out in front of my eyes, though, has been a depressing shock. Al Capone would learn a thing or two.
No wonder no fucker can build anything in this country. If you doubt me, try it some time.