9th August 2006

As this build draws to a close, accounts departments across the Highlands have started to circle above me...

I have now officially entered the Twilight Zone of overdraft limits and maxed out credit cards.

And I'm in a bad mood for another reason.

The 'three day guaranteed' courier company (who I suggested would take eleven days to take the worktop template to Leeds), have informed us that they have "lost all records of the order". I was told this by a chap who sounded like puberty was a distant dream and whose conversation was accompanied by some very poor (but loud) rap music in the background.

Six days into the lost order, If we would like to resubmit the lost order, it will take another seven days to move the bits of wood into England, as they need three days to get a van this far north and a further four to get it to the remote area known as 'Leeds'. This will mean the guaranteed delivery of three days taking eighteen days.

[deep breath] So the granite company won't get the template, so they can't cut it, we won't get the granite when we need it, the fitters can't fit it, the tilers will have to cancel, the valuation will be canceled, the mortgage won't come through, I won't get my money and the house won't be ready when we move in [/deep breath]

And here's the best bit. This company have the front to refer to themselves as 'logistics', which (incidentally) is defined as:

The management of both inbound and outbound materials, parts, supplies, and finished goods. Includes such activities as; production scheduling, forecasting, customer service, order entry, inventory control, and product allocation among customers.

Well guys, I make that ten points. Out of ten, you score zero.

But at least I can be comforted by the fact that they really know what they are doing as "City Link is the carrier of choice for high-value services, consistently exceeding customer expectations through service reliability and accuracy, specialising in time-critical services"

That'll be the eighteen day, lost order, time-critical option then.


11th August 2006

We've had to bite the bullet. To keep the build on schedule I'm paying one of the joiners to drive his Transit van down to the place known as 'Leeds' to deliver the kitchen worktop template by hand. An 832 mile, two day round trip.

I'm paying by the hour, by the mile, plus expenses. (I'll let you work that one out for yourselves).

Meanwhile the plumbers have gone missing (again) timing their absence perfectly as we have found that the pipework to one of the en suite showers has started leaking - leaving pools of water on the new wooden floor, soaking the newly painted plasterboard and neccesitating the destruction of the living room wall to get to the leak.

I managed to speak to the boss of the company (a minor miracle itself) to ask where the plumbers were, why my house was wet, and to poilitely enquire as to when his plumbers might be there to sort the problem. He informed me that his team leader was on holiday, the replacement team leader was off sick and that the 'plumbing team' should have been on site.

He wasn't sure why they weren't. He would try and find out where they were. He would call me back.

That was two hours ago.

As it's now lunchtime, I would (just off the top of my head) hazard a guess that they will be in a bar - with mobiles turned off.

I think I'm becoming plumberphobic.

Edited to add: I have written to the plumbers (cc my lawyer) informing them that they are entirely responsible for all repairs (including suitable alternative accommodation if needed). Hell If my lawyer and I can bash the Bavarians a bunch of plumbers from 'In Venice' has gotta be a cinch.


13th August 2006

Leaks & floods apart, the removal firm is booked, but presumably as they have slow vehicles and because it's uphill, it will take them 40 hours to get the first van to the drop, and a further 24 hours for the second.

The point is; we will leave the Lake District late on Tues 29th, but won't have a bed until the evening of the 31st.

So we need a hotel / B&B. Preferably half way. Having torched Google for a few hours (and every hotel south of Reykjavic being full, it being August) we even considered the Gleneagles Hotel, as it's half way and they take dogs.

They did indeed have a room. £500.00 per night ...and a dress code - and I don't own a tie, and the last time I saw my jacket it was being used on the school playground as a goalpost.


14th August 2006

I just realised it's three years ago this week that I bought the CAD software and designed the house. We were still living in the Cotswolds and hadn't even considered a move to the Lake District. If I'd had known then what I know now....


17th August 2006

This is how the last week (or so) of the build SHOULD pan out.

F 18th   Heat pump / solar panels commissioned by a firm who arrive from Stirling, joiners fit downstairs skirting boards & doors, plumbers test undefloor heating system and complete final fix, BT connect line for telephone & broadband, decorators repair damage after leak.
M 21st   Carpets delivered and fitted by firm who arrive from Inverness , kitchen worktop delivered and fitted by firm who arrive from Leeds, joiners build and fit staircase, decorators finish painting. Broadband system arrives.
T 22nd   Tilers arrive from Beauly and tile the kitchen, joiners fit banisters to staircase and spindles to balustrades, decorators start varnishing wood floor, electricians' final fix (kitchen).
W 23rd   Electricians' final fix (external), outside decking constructed, decorators continue varnishing floor, joiners fix doors, windows etc.
T 24th   Joiners' final fix - door facings, locks, cabinet doors to kitchen & bathroom. etc. Floor left to dry.
F 25th   Sky fitters arrive from Skye to install HD system and dish, final decoration completed, outside decking constructed, electricians' final fix (living room, study, bedrooms). Valuation by independent expert from Portree so we can get certificates of completion & habitation. Postal re-direct activated from Cumbria.

The following week, the removal firm arrive from Newcastle, transport our endless clobber, and we move in.

If you have any free fingers. Cross them now.


I think I might have boxed my dog in!






19th August 2006

Hello BT, can I ask why you didn't turn up and install my telephone line yesterday?

We have a note on our system that you cancelled your order.

Um. I didn't, Why would I? I want a telephone in my new house. You'll see I have also ordered broadband.

Yes... I can see that, but you apparently cancelled the order for the line.

I ordered a telephone line and broadband. Why would I not want a telephone line?... the broadband won't work without the line.

All I know is what I read on my screen.

That doesn't surprise me...

...but nonetheless, I didn't cancel and would like my telephone line installed as ordered. Yesterday if possible.

Can I put you on hold?

(12 minutes of Mozart with the most annoying loop half way through a bar)

Mr Carter, eveyone's gone home for the weekend, can I give you a reference number?


21st August 2006

I think I may have just broken a world record. I phoned BT, gave my reference number - asked them when they would be fitting my line, and was put on hold... for 1 hour 47 minutes!

He actually spoke to me twice in that time, once to say that he was in a queue, and the second time to say that the last queue was the wrong queue, but he was pretty sure he was in the right queue this time.

End result. Bugger all. They can't get anybody to connect the wire that is coming into my house to the socket that is waiting for it. Why? Because their computer won't let them 'build' the order.

I told them I knew the bloke that would do the job... the same bloke that disconnected the wire from the old house - his name is Sandy... just phone him and tell him to pop down next time he was passing. This was SO FAR off their radar that they honestly didn't understand that I was serious. I might as well have been asking HAL* to turn himself off for the night.

They're going to phone me back. (Allegedly).

On a brighter note - I've got pizza for lunch. Open the oven door please Hal.

* the computer from 2001 - a Space Odyssey (as if you didn't know)


22nd August 2006

We are at that stage (gulp).

This may well be the last entry before we move (I have to pack up this damn 'puter and the rest of my life into small boxes with labels).

I'll post a bunch of pics from the move and of the new place whilst empty when we are in, and then (a wee while later) more once the furniture is in place.


I have to say I'm pretty tired, very poor, and a bit excited, but mostly poor. No... make that tired.

I look forward to the next post, as we'll hopefully be in

...and if anyone is interested where we have been for the past two years... it was here


31st August 2006

IN!... and I've just time to post some photos of the empty house before the removal vans start arriving.






I'll post my LAST* entry once we are settled in and I get broadband working. For anyone interested, lots of numbers to do with the build HERE

* It's probably time to get a life instead of a blog.



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