Hey! I can do that!

Writing, writing, writing

I’m sure there is a song out there, that goes ‘riding, riding, riding’ but could I find it?

However to move away from the previous posts about language, I thought I would write about, um, writing.

Over on a writing blog, I read a guest interview where the author told people to learn grammar if they wanted to be a writer.

This probably jarred with me because over on ruftytuftyseas, I had a request from someone who wanted info about Gib so they could write an article. He is setting up as a freelance writer, although describes himself as a history and politics teacher.

And that sums it up in a nutshell. Everyone thinks they are the world’s next best-selling writer/journalist/author.

So can I spend some time telling him what I know about Gib in order for him to make money as a freelance. Sure. How much? Because I was caught once, spending five hours or so on a Sunday for absolutely nothing.

No, the rule now is, if you want something from me, that involves my knowledge, you pay. Animal charities are negotiable.

Seriously, I couldn’t believe the cheek. I want to pick your brains so I can write an article and get paid for it? OK, I did believe it, but asked how much.

No more free lunches here. [For anyone who hasn’t read the post about how I ended up being sick, and the promised free lunch was cancelled anyway is here].

Meanwhile back to the blog post I read, about how people should learn about grammar. There was a comparison between surgeons, mechanics and construction workers, and how they all knew their skill. Writers should be the same.

So would-be writers should browse around the internet a few times a week to learn grammar. I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t be too keen on either a surgeon, a builder or a mechanic relying on the odd internet browse to carry out their work. Without training.

‘I’ve looked up appendectomy on the internet, I think it goes like this.’

Two weeks later…

‘Gangrene. Need to open that one up again. Sorry and all that.’

Trust me, that happens. It happened to me 40 something years ago. Before the internet.

So not really a valid comparison.

Writing is not going to lead to bodged operations, housing disasters (eg Aberfan in Wales) or vehicle problems.

It may well lead to lawsuits, which in these days is potentially worse, because that costs money.

Doctors, mechanics and tradespeople in the construction industry do actually spend some time learning their skills.

My partner had a five-year apprenticeship, went to college, learned on the job. At college they learned practice and theory. He passed exams.

I had a much shorter apprenticeship. I also went to college, learned practice and theory, and passed exams.

Years ago, all this was run very sensibly and thoroughly by the Joint Industry Training Boards. His was construction, mine was print and publishing.

Another good blog post I read talked about paint falling off. Paint falls off for a number of reasons.

1) You have bought the wrong paint for the job
2) You have bought cheap crappy paint
3) You haven’t prepared and sealed the surface properly
4) You don’t know what you are doing
5) You are too tight to pay a professional painter who knows what s/he is doing

because after all, anyone can slop on a coat of paint, yes?

It’s ironic that my partner and I ended up in similar jobs. For those of you into star signs we are both the same, given that our birthdays are on consecutive days.

But, we both carried out our apprenticeships, in craft trades. Ones that everyone else thinks are easy to do and don’t need to pay for. Everyone can write and everyone can paint.

That’s why our block is currently better decorated than it has ever been since we moved in, why there is a noticeboard informing people about on-going work, and why our board papers let everyone know how and where the money is being spent.

Sure, everyone can do that as well as writing fiction, journalism, travel articles and cookery books (don’t even start me on the cookery one).

To me the issue of advice, is not to encourage amateur writers, rather to say, that unless you have something original to say (unlikely) or can say it very well, don’t bother. Because otherwise you are wasting your money employing people to edit and publish your books. Or your articles. Or whatever.

I read a lot of different blogs. They include fiction, poetry, travel, political and personal. How many of those do I think write well enough to even consider paying any of them to write? It’s in single figures.

Blogging has spawned a whole new world of would-be writers, of which most are, um, crap at the best.

The best bloggers are the ones who are not looking for fame and glory, who write interesting posts.

I haven’t published as a fiction writer or a cookery writer (thank goodness). I have achieved travel articles, news journalism, corporate publishing, publicity material and much more etc etc.

I wouldn’t encourage people to write when they can’t tell their it’s from their its. Even I get it wrong on screen.

I think to encourage people that they can really get their work published and earn money is deluding them at best, more likely trying to get money out of them for tidying up those really tacky drafts. I’ll do that πŸ™‚ But I can’t in all conscience look at something and say, this is good, just needs a few tweaks. I’d end up re-writing it, and believe me, I have done that loads of times.

So people, life is not so simple as to give up the office job and earn a living from the computer, and dabble around to find out what a dangling participle is and a misplaced modifier is. [Terms used on how to write good grammar blog post]

Quite frankly, I have no idea about either, and I think getting hung up on such terms is ridiculous. Learn spelling, basic punctuation, and simple active sentences is far better advice. Well, it’s my advice, so it must be better.

If you can’t write or spell, then maybe you don’t have a promising career ahead of you as a writer.

And if you don’t know your alkali-resisting primer from your undercoat, you may have problems with your paintwork.

About roughseasinthemed

I write about my life as an English person living in Spain and Gibraltar, on Roughseas, subjects range from politics and current developments in Gib to book reviews, cooking and getting on with life. My views and thoughts on a variety of topics - depending on my mood of the day - can be found over on Clouds. A few pix are over on Everypic - although it is not a photoblog. And of course my dog had his own blog, but most of you knew that anyway. Pippadogblog etc
This entry was posted in blogging, journalism, life, musings, public relations, thoughts, wordpress, work, WPlongform, writing. Bookmark the permalink.

37 Responses to Hey! I can do that!

  1. cobbies69 says:

    Am i the first today……Your points here are really why I do not show my over all stories,[ novel length ones] I can handle short stories and love my poetry, I feel it is as good as any. [Not all] Because I personally write the way I talk, not always very good. But I do know how to spell, on my computer [laptop] I do have a small problem with American spelling and grammar. I am gradually teaching my computer to learn English and not American. Kj I do love your writing as well as a few others, I love the variety in this blogging world. Keep it up. πŸ˜‰


    • pinkagendist says:

      You love your own poetry? That’s hardly biased πŸ™‚
      I love my dogs. They’re the best dogs on the face of this planet! That’s also entirely unbiased.


    • Gerry, yup first. Gold star hand out.

      This is not a criticism of people who can’t spell or who don’t have correct grammar, it is about people telling you that with a quick few little corrections, you will be a best-seller. The only one who wins out from that is an editor. Btw, my offer to you for free still stands if you still want me to take at look at it. Your writing I mean, obviously.

      Writing how you talk is underestimated. Don’t provoke me into another blog post!!

      I loathe American spelling and grammar, I am British and I want to use English. Simple.



  2. cobbies69 says:

    PS: a couple of errors,,, I do not show my work, novel length stories stay on my hard drive….


  3. pinkagendist says:

    Dissuasion is a difficult task.I sometimes have jobs (research/consultation) where I know the client is pursuing a pointless endeavour. I can even tell them, I can research this painting for the next ten years, and still it won’t be by ______. Yet, they insist. “But my grandmother said”. Or worse, “I had a friend who was a dealer who told us it’s worth a fortune”.
    I think this divorce from reality is a symptom of modern life. That fame and fortune are just around the corner. People create whole narratives based on the delusion that anyone can be or do anything. Americans started that misguided fantasy. No, I cannot be a tenor. I cannot be a runway model. I cannot cook like a professional chef. I cannot. I can probably tell people something about the history of (some) art. The sooner we understand our limitations, the better life we can actually lead because we’re not holding our lives up to unreasonable expectations.

    Most courses and advice concerning writing try to create/promote formulas. Unfortunately that leads to a paint-by-numbers scenario. Instead of communicating, which is the real point of writing or speaking, people end up with an exercise in futility. Hollow, meaningless text that does nothing but fill empty space, that should probably have been left empty in the first place.


    • Dissuasion in your field and ours is/are different.

      But even so, people still think they know best don’t they? Have to say I am the same. I don’t want someone telling me what I *should* have done to my house for example. I know what I want, and I know that I am happy to live with my decision over that of some oiky tradesperson. Which is a laugh when I live with one. But I do not want to be told what is ‘better’. I want matt finishes, and very plain anything, mostly white, or dark oak stain, or the natural oak furniture that I designed, but I know exactly what I want. I know what taps I like, what sinks I want etc etc.

      But that’s not about how to do something, it’s about a matter of choice. We were asked to hang some vile purple shiny wallpaper in Ocean Village. Totally tasteless and tat in my opinion and also not an easy job. 1) They didn’t want it lined (we only hang paper if we line it first) and 2) there was a shed load of cutting. Nightmare job that they wanted doing for a few hundred quid. But Greg Butcher didn’t get rich for nothing.

      As I say, different fields of work. I can write to any style, and will, but I would probably be picky, ethically, about what I wrote these days. That’s why I like blogging.

      I have no idea what writing courses promote. Please don’t start me on lack of communication – I suspect that is a blog tease and it is almost working.

      Too many people are encouraged that they can write when they can’t. Check out ten random blogs on The Daily Post. You don’t need to because you know what the result will be.


  4. Nope. French paint does not last. You can prepare all you like, you can read the contents and instructions on the tin, and a year later it’s peeling off your shutters.And if you employ the artisan francais to do it you can have the privilege of paying for it to peel off your shutters in under a year.
    You may have noticed that I am obstinate….not to say opinionated.

    But I do take your point about learning a skill – a trade.
    Years ago a group of us used to buy direct from the farm – a bullock, a pig, sheep…and have it portioned by a local butcher.
    Then, Scots blood being what it is, I decided to check the prime cuts and discovered we were usually short a rib or two.
    I signed up for a City and Guilds butchery course at the local tech: a brilliant instructor who used to work in a firm supplying top London restaurants who would not tolerate the slightest waste.
    We did the lot – checking the animal you sent to the abattoir was the carcass you received…transport and lairage practice to reduce stress…buying at auction, and only then did we get to the cutting up part of things.
    He taught us English and French cuts and I can still, after a bit of head scratching, do them today.
    I am very proud of my C and G pass…and must still have it somewhere….probably with my school photographs…

    I know a woman who contributes to a sub fusc foody magazine – her daughter is an editor. To call it trite rubbish would be a compliment, but she regards herself as a ‘writer’.
    I had never thought that someone who sees a recipe elsewhere then changes one ingredient – usually for the worse – and describes it in a sloppy context of life in rural France could be a ‘writer’….but clearly I don’t see things through her eyes.

    I’ve had the ‘pick your brains’ experience. I used to be happy to give advice where I knew what I was talking about but I noticed that free advice was usually disregarded, so stopped, except where it was a case of helping some unfortunate to escape from the clutches of the local expat ‘helping hands’.

    Writing? That’s when you have something you want to communicate – and you can’t communicate unless you can use the language. So I can’t communicate with people who only texting know….

    Published writing? Unless in a professional context it seems to me to be a case of the old Persian art of arslikhan….pay for a ‘creative writing’ course or masterclass and be prepared to wash your nose at frequent intervals.


    • French paint doesn’t last? Cheap French paint doesn’t last? Or French painters don’t last?

      Akzo Nobel is available in France. I’m sure there are others. We have worked in UK, Spain, Gibraltar and Australia and managed to find good paint.

      Eg. A firm painted shutters down the road and they were rubbish within months. Partner’s firm did some five years ago and they are still good.

      I just don’t believe you can’t get decent paint in France or decent painters. Partner tells me there is an old adage.

      If you can piss you can paint. Some people can piss better than others.

      I’m sure we could paint your shutters in Spain or France and they would last longer than a year. Actually we have never revarnished our Spanish ones since we put them in ….

      I’ll pass on the C&G in butchery. I’m pretty good about sides of pigs though.

      I am genuinely happy to help people for free, but not when they are getting paid for my contribution. Why am I doing this? Wake up.

      Communication says it all. We all think we are great at it and yet ….

      Anyone can be a published writer these days. Self-publishing – I’m a real author. Well, so am I. Produce your by-lines darlings. I’ve got loads of them. How many newspapers or annual reports have you published?

      Few weeks on a course? Go for it. And after those few weeks you’ll know as much as I learned in 30 years. See, that’s why I’m laughing. Except I really should market myself a little better πŸ˜€


      • Akzo Nobel? Not in my area of la France Profonde…not then, at least.
        And as far as the artisan francais is concerned in all my time in France I only came across two that I would employ twice. Short cut merchants, most of them.

        On the advice front I came to the conclusion that if I were to spend several hours on listening, researching and advising then I would prefer it if the person seeking help would at least consider doing what I had suggested rather than listen to the know it all ‘helping hand’ and end up up a gum tree.
        They could have ended up there without hauling me out of the garden for hours….and to add insult to injury, while I would not dream of asking to be paid – it’s supposed to be help, after all, not a job – the ‘helping hands’ would be asking for expenses, and getting them! That’s why I think that people don’t value advice they don’t pay for.

        The purpose of these courses does not seem to be to learn anything…but to network and once successfully networked you don’t have anything more to learn.


        • Hey I just googled an international brand that I figured would be around.

          Can’t remember the later versions, think it is part Dutch, not sure. Originally permoglaze which was a very good brand when it was rather more independent. We had tins of the stuff around our houses.

          With VOC regs we have found Dulux to be the best at the moment.

          I am equally obstinate and opinionated. I still think we could find a) decent paint in France and b) do a decent job that wouldn’t fall off in a year.

          Our recent experience with a customer in Dec was illuminating. I thought our price was too high, and I try and price tightly. He wanted the full estimate. I’m not into wasting my time (see post on everypic if you want to know why).

          Turned out we were cheaper than everyone else, they didn’t provide any details of what they were going to do, apart from paint flat and replace *some* damaged woodwork.

          Spain is interesting. Spanish colleagues of Partner claim a trade rate for the job because they have been doing it for a few years. No college, no theory, no apprenticeship. Just years of doing the same job not very well. Does that describe your artisan francais?

          Back in the UK we had endless repeat clients, well, he did, I was too busy battling the health service. Hand on heart, we don’t know anyone working or living in Gib with the same skills, quals experience as Partner. There is a laugh there but I will save it for when I get back to roughseas.

          Ha! I did the advice too. Did they take it? Did they f***. But to be fair, I think she was stressed out of her head with a stalker and didn’t know what to do. But my advice was very sound and my time was valuable. There we go, I would still do the same again in those circumstances.

          Networking! The key to everything! Knowledge? Experience? Skills? No. Just network


          • When I was first in France there were suppliers who would not sell to the general public…and when I left there was still a local plumbing supplier paying the same game.
            It is perfectly possible that paints were available to ‘professionals’ that were not on general sale.

            And your description fits the artisan francais perfectly…..

            They have problems with the tax man currently – the estimates have to include every nut bolt and jambon/fromage baguette that they propose to use as opposed to the global figure they used to produce so optimistically.
            So they charge it all out at the rate of their major suppliers and buy it in Bricodepot for considerably less which is still advantageous to them even if they have to renounce their ten per cent discount as given by the major supplier.

            Networking! It must account for all the dumb stuff in the newspapers and magazines as clearly no knowledge, experience or skill is involved…..


          • There have always been suppliers who would deal with trade customers only even in the UK, but with the ever-increasing competitive markets, they have all ended up selling to everyone, the only difference being that you can get trade discount.

            In the UK, I think we got 20-30% discount depending on the product, in Gib *sometimes* we get 10%, depending on the product and the store.

            Do we pass that discount on to the customer? Do we hell. You want to go and buy the paint yourself, fine. Otherwise, we buy materials, we collect them, spend our time, our fuel because we need the truck to pick up however many pots of paint, and we get that discount because we are a recognised legitimate business.

            We always offer the customer the option of sourcing their own materials. Happy to provide a list of all consumables, and if what they buy isn’t adequate then we will still have to buy it and charge them extra. And my time for writing out the list will get included in the price too. Most/all let us buy everything.

            I actually did a breakdown for the job I referred to before, he wanted separate prices for decorating and repair (joinery and electrical) work. But the prices included materials. I am not prepared to itemise materials. It is ridiculous to itemise every single rawl plug or sponge, or roller sleeve or paintbrush or whatever. And they go on our tax returns as consumables. Any extras requested by a customer are always priced first and done in writing ie emails. Anything unforeseen is also notified eg you really can’t tell in an old house if you strip wallpaper whether or not the plaster will fall off too. You just can’t.

            We do a price for a job because we can gauge that pretty accurately after 40+ years. (Him, I’ve only been doing it for nearly 30).

            I’m surprised about the artisan francais who clearly isn’t remotely an artisan. I would have thought they might have been skilled, a bit like it is rumoured that in northern Spain they actually have trained decorators. Down here, Partner describes them all as brushhands. Because that is really all they are, no technical knowledge at all, and even their practical skills are lacking.

            I really find it sad that we don’t treat education in trades (of whatever type) as worth our investment in time and money. Here in Gib, the have a government scheme. Te college component consists of learning maths and english !!! Shouldn’t that have been covered by school? When Partner went to college he learned spraying (actually he had learned it at a garage at weekends before), they did different paint finishes and they did all the theory around chemical reactions. When I went to college, we learned law, public administration, practical journalism, and passed our 100wpm shorthand.

            But you don’t need education when you can network instead.


          • When we finally found the Turkish firm that worked for us for years we sourced materials with firms he knew who gave us his discount and paid the labour cost…but this was because the boss was worried about going into another tax bracket if his turnover went up too much and as most of his business was with heritage bodies we and other private clients were the obvious ones to use to reduce the figures.
            I remember reading about how the artisan francais was so skilled, etc…and then met them! Bunch of bodgers! When you have a plumber telling you the pipes will be exposed for ‘when’ there is a leak….not ‘if’ but ‘when’…..and I wouldn’t mind them brazing joints if they could do it properly.
            You know they are dodgy on the money too when they burn the cement sacks at the end of the day.
            And as for getting them to stay on the site until the job was complete – forget it! You had to hunt them down…..at that time I had a little dog who was first class at burrowing under the ends of ladders – that got the buggers to come down to speak to me!

            And Americans here moan about Costa Rican workmen!

            The thing that got me was the Britpack solemnly recommending these French bodgers to each other despite the disasters and cock ups……..until the Channel trained British artisan began to turn up at which point networking took over and the Britpack had a different set of disasters and cock ups to cope with as Channel training seems to consist of sitting on the ferry and deciding to become a brickie, carpenter, electrician or plumber…

            Ah well, networking vincit omnia….


          • Nationality is no guarantee of good work. We know a top Moroccan joiner who was sacked because he didn’t fit in. We would employ him tomorrow if we had enough work.

            We know a welder who is fantastic who can’t get work. What is with the world that good skilled people can’t get work?

            I actually got a kick out of our last job when the customer wrote to say they were pleased with the job. Not just because of that, but because he said a) he was picky and was still pleased with what we did, and b) everyone else was quoting more for doing less.

            But it is hard. I wouldn’t have a clue who to employ if Partner wasn’t in construction.

            Your last comment merits splutter (of cava) of the evening award.


  5. I think he song you are thinking about is Rawhide, the theme from a Western by that name and also covered in the “Blues Brothers” movie.
    As for the content of the post, I believe we are of one mind. The only thing I would add is that if you wish to take wide liberties with grammar, do so carefully. In the right hands it can be poetic but that is not generally the end result.
    As for painting I have three rules:
    1. Always use good tools and paint.
    2. Follow the directions on the paint can.
    3. If it’s something you have never done before, get good advice before starting or hire a professional.
    Didn’t I read a post on Roughseas indicating your post frequency would be diminished?
    But don’t stop on my account. I love a good read.


  6. Shit! That was well guessed. You know me too well. It’s rolling rolling rolling in fact, although they are riding riding riding. But that is exactly what I had in my head. You star. I’ll have to look up the Blue Bros next.

    And Clint Eastwood looks gorgeous in that. Droolworthy.

    I used to hate starting a sentence with And or But, But, I learnt to do it as a journalist. And, used with discretion it can have impact. And then there is ending sentences with prepostions, but seriously, I never learned about how to dangle my modifier and I think that is just going over the top.

    Expressing yourself clearly would be far better advice.

    Some people can do a decent paint job. Most people can’t. Most people can’t tell the difference.

    You did. But that was on roughseas where I normally upload piccies which takes longer than whacking off a quick rant on here. I could write a post a day on here which I think would bore the pants off people which is why I try to space it out.

    Trouble is, once I have started on something, another post pops into my head 😦


  7. That’s the song, all right.
    Learning any craft takes time, practice, mistakes, recognizing mistakes, learning to fix mistakes, doing a job with pride, slowly gaining recommendations and recognition…people are just too impatient to do all that now(and they all think they are winners – having been told so for so long) – so there’s a large amount of crap. (and people asking you do find their information and be happy do their job for them…what’s with that?)
    The apprentice system has a purpose.
    (and I somehow love “grey” rather than “gray” and hate people saying “No problem” instead of “You’re welcome.” Raised in a barn – not by wolves. Wolves are more clever.)


    • It’s a good song. Rawhide started before my time, but I obviously heard the music from somewhere. Love it. Don’t like the whips but that’s a different issue.

      You have a thing about this ‘winners’ society don’t you? πŸ˜€ Me, I figure you win some, you lose some, and you accept what happens. Partner had a mate who was doing a Masters degree in Environmental Health. He expected to get a pay rise when he passed the degree. In fact he had business cards printed with M Env Sci or whatever it was before he had even sat the exams.

      I did my masters to keep up with everyone else/surpass them and make me better at my job and add to my CV for when I applied for new jobs. And I did it in my own time, evenings and weekends. No idea how I managed it, but I did. I was up until 2am writing essays, and then Partner would drive me in (I was a bit whacked by then) to catch the late post in the city. We both did the MBA. He didn’t just do the chauffeuring but would also patiently sit and discuss the concepts eg just-in-time and car plants (he’d worked in one).

      When we had a public consultation to close a hospital, I was in the office until after midnight, as was my superb secretary, writing papers for our board of directors, and then delivering them by hand that same night so they were on the doorstep for when they woke up.

      I worked on Saturdays in my parents’ business from age 12. I went back every weekend from university to work for them. When I was married I still went back at Christmas (busiest time of the year) to work for them.

      Partner had a paper round from some illegal age. Got up at some unearthly hour, laid the fire, made himself some toast, and went in to mark up his papers and carry out his round before school. Sometimes he was late for school and the headteacher commented on it, so he had to use his paper round money to buy a bike. He did an evening round too. If someone didn’t turn in, he did theirs. When he got a job as an apprentice, he kept up the paper rounds as they were more money. At some point he also fitted in karate teaching in the evenings for free.

      People expect too much on their plate for free and whinge too much. (As do I :D)

      That’s why I’m not working for free any more. Simple as that.

      I like my English. I like tyres not tires (which is when one is tired not something on a bicycle or car), I like jewellery, I like colours. I don’t like computer defaults to American English. Or that to find something in English one has to look for ‘British’ English as though it is some strange variant. We invented the language and I would really like that to be acknowledged. America may now rule the world, but a little bit of courtesy wouldn’t go amiss.

      I do say no worries, but that’s my time in Australia coming out. Or de nada. “You’re welcome” is very American. I would say no problem before saying that but would choose no worries.

      Throw them to the wolves?


  8. EllaDee says:

    There are exceptions and luck of course. But, I remember many years ago a conversation with my art teacher about abstract art as I had heard someone say “oh, anyone could do that”. And my art teacher explained before an artist can produce the type of work that earns such a comment they need to put a lot of work and usually years into learning and honing their skills-talents.
    It think the same applies for Crafts, professions etc. People who have done it long and well make what they do look easy.
    For everyone else, there’s YouTube.


    • Easy is an interesting concept. I have fallen into the trap of saying what I do is easy. ‘What I do is easy, anybody could do it.’ Partner pointed out that it wasn’t easy at all, I was just good at what I did. But when it comes naturally, it is actually easy to do, so therefore you end up undervaluing your skill.

      Both are trades are craft trades even though they are very different. He also makes his work look easy, and he is fast, very fast. The downside of that is that because he is fast, and makes the work ‘look’ easy, when working on a private job, people expect a cheaper rate for the job. They would be willing to pay more for someone to take longer and do the same or inferior work, because people think on a ‘time-taken’ basis. It’s infuriating. The whole idea of being good at your job is to make money for yourself, not to save the customer money. Harsh but true. We’re not a ****ing charity service. When I price up jobs, it is a price for the job. Not an hourly rate. The only hourly or daily rates we do are sub-contracting work or directly employed when the rate is set by the union (and is abysmal)

      We’ve had people perfectly happy with the standard of work, and yet annoyed that we don’t spend always eight hours a day on the job. Sometimes we might spend ten or more. It’s not an office job, and there are two of us when we do paperhanging. There is no way I am going to measure up and lay out one type of paper (costing more than fifty quid a roll) and then move onto another paper with a different pattern, width and drop the same day. I spend a long time, ie a couple of hours or more, looking at the paper, working out the best layout, measuring up, double checking, and then cutting. Because once you start cutting, like a tailor, that’s it. You can’t turn back. And in one case, the supplier measured up the rolls and got it wrong, so we were working without enough paper. We had one customer who said ‘I can hang wallpaper’. So what? Why aren’t you hanging it yourself then?

      He’s off to look at a job tonight, a) it’s a house in Gib which means serious money as most of us live in flats and b) it’s another paperhanging job. Almost certainly the combination of large expensive house and paperhanging will mean person will want dirt cheap price, and they won’t get one πŸ™‚


  9. Totty says:

    I have a rule of thumb for pricing up sewing jobs; €12 per hour (easy maths for the 10 minute jobs) for those that canΒ΄t do the job themselves, and €24 per hour for those who claim they could…


    • Of course most people would charge a minimum of the hourly rate (ie €12 rather than dividing it up into minutes). We have one colleague who charges a dΓ­a completo of 100 euros regardless of how long he works, can be four hours, can be twelve. Everyone prices differently. What is unacceptable is customers telling you what they are going to pay you for the job. Well, they can try but they don’t get it done by us. I like your logic though for those who *claim* they can do it theirselves.

      Partner managed to get me an hourly rate of Β£10 for gardening. I don’t have a horticultural qualification but I am a pretty meticulous weeder and pruner. Yet the same woman griped about paying Partner the same rate when he has 40+ years experience and trade papers in decorating. Where is the logic in that? Anybody can weed FFS.

      Incidentally any idea where I can get an electric treadle (Very old Singer) repaired? Think the motor has well and truly gone.


      • Totty says:

        Is it a converted treadle? The type of conversion that has an electric motor fixed to the table top and with a leather belt linked to the fly wheel in place of the original that was run from the treadle wheel? Those old motors are great workhorses, and if partner knows his way around an electric motor, he may find it just needs new brushes. If he takes one out he should be able to get replacements. Plan B would be to look in yellow pages for a shop that sells sewing machines and ask who they recommend; my experience in our area is that repairmen are peripatetic and will come to the house. Plan C is to get your local cobbler to cut you a new drive belt, and then start treadling!


        • That’s shit hot advice I’ll tell him. I’m better on land rover brakes than sewing machine complexities. It was never an original wheely treadly thing ( my nana had one that I wish I had got my hands on ), it’s the sort of hybrid phase thing. I’ll take a pic and post on roughseas next time I am finca bound, Ta though, that’s great. πŸ™‚


  10. Vicky says:

    A think a lot is down to a persons personality. Arrogant extroverts think they can do anything, whether they’ve had training or not, quiet introverts who are often lacking in confidence are more likely the total opposite.
    There are plenty of things I feel I am very capable of doing but certainly not professionally for payment.


    • Haha. Quiet introvert sums me up beautifully (seriously). Do any sort of personality test and I always come out introvert eg Myers Briggs and I am INTP. I’ve done it loads of times and it’s always consistent. At university a friend called me cerebral so I was quite impressed that she thought I was brainy. She didn’t. She told me I was inward thinking. Oh well πŸ˜€

      I know I can write. I even have bits of paper to say so. But I hate trying to sell myself. I really admire A for running his own business for so many years. Psychology, I would take every rejection of a job personally. Luckily he’s pragmatic and just shrugs his shoulders. I certainly took the rejection of the big job we didn’t get personally as you well know (I wrote about it on everypic for the last challenge post – that reminds me I must do a treasure post).

      I’ve gardened for money, and I would sew for money (like Totty above) if anyone would pay me enough which I doubt. I make very good curtains. It’s not just running up the joins and the hems, most of it is hand done, the linings are invisibly handstitched down the curtain every 12 ins or so, and I put dinky little pockets at the top for the strings. I asked for a price for making up curtains once in Newcastle and it was a silly price for doing far less than that. No quals in either gardening or sewing, but maybe the sewing is in the genes as two of my great grandfathers were tailors. And laying out and measuring up curtains and wallpaper is exactly the same.


      • Vicky says:

        Do you think the quiet introvert is something to do with being an only child?
        Someone who is happy with their own company, knows they are capable of doing things doesn’t need to prove themselves to others.
        I know I can take good photos (when I put my mind to it), I have a distinction in City & Guilds photography, which if I’d chosen to, would have allowed me to join the Royal Photographic Society at the time, but for what benefit? so I could brag about it? I don’t need to do that, I know what I’m capable of, and that’s all that matters.

        I must try that personality test, I’m sure mine would come out similar.


        • That’s a very valid theory. It could well be. No need to compete with siblings for attention and all that.

          Bloody hell! A distinction. I knew you were good but didn’t realise that. Would I have joined? Yes to put all the posey arses noses out of joint, but no, like you, because just why? Who needs it? You could always write a shameless self-promo line on your blog somewhere about it though πŸ˜€

          If you can’t find a free one on-line, I’ll see if I’ve got my MBA one kicking around. The other one to try is the KAI test, for adaptors/innovators. I think that is equally as accurate. I came out well high on the innovator (basically creative and looking for new ideas) side of it. The theory is that adaptors and innovators don’t get on in a work situation together. But when I was on my MBA summer school, I spent a lot of time with adaptors (we talked about that sort of thing), and got on really well with them. OK, they were all men I should also add so maybe that had something to do with it! Try KAI too though, again, think I’ve still got that at home. Might be harder to find for free.


  11. Kev says:

    I like the way you used your craft and painting knowledge in a metaphorical way to carry on your article about not doing anything for free. A very interesting approach. πŸ™‚


    • Shit! I hadn’t met you when I wrote this so you can’t say I was aiming it at you as a writer. Both A and I take our craft trade qualifications seriously and we are proud of them. They are also the two classics that everyone thinks they can do without any training or experience. I was racked off with the Sunday morning episode because the planning and timing was abysmal, piss up in brewery etc, and the promised lunch never came to fruition due to the late running of the whole event. Not that I could have eaten anything as I was busy vomiting in the toilet (no bath). I do things for free, but I am not spending half of my Sunday or anything else for nothing again when someone else is getting paid.


  12. disperser says:

    Do you mean “rollin’, rollin’, rollin’ “?

    That would be “rawhide”.

    Also, I take it I shouldn’t learn grammar? I ask because that’s gonna save me a ton of time.


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