Demarcation

Or, that’s my job, not yours.

Those days have gone. For the most part.

Oldies like me, who grew up before Thatcher destroyed the trade unions for good, may remember it though.

There was no multi-tasking or crossing the boundary into someone else’s skill, trade or profession. That’s one of the reasons why the print union, the NGA (National Graphical Association) had such a hold on the newspaper industry. If they had a dispute about terms and conditions, newspapers didn’t get published. No-one else could do their work. Us clever journalists have never had half as much clout. Not so clever eh?

Australia in the 80s had fine demarcation. Partner worked on the dockyard in Sydney painting ships where he was in the pro-painters union. The other painting union was the painters and dockers. They did totally different work and never the twain should meet apart from when they wanted to collude about working practices.

For example:

Partner: ‘Hiya mate, can you bring your boys out on strike for a few days while we sort out a problem with ventilation in the ship?’

Head of P&D: ‘No worries mate, we’ll back you up. Just before the weekend eh, and then we can all get double pay for some overtime?’

You get the idea.

Life was easy. You all had your own little box to work within and nobody touched yours.

Now life is very different. Working in shopfitting in Gib, Partner would do whatever was required, plastering, tiling, putting up plasterboard, taping and filling etc etc as well as his original skill of painting, decorating, and glazing. (When he learned his trade, glazing was included within his remit). Working for himself he does even more. Add on plumbing, joinery, rendering, minor electrics, and changing locks. He won’t, and never has done, labouring.

Demarcation has become a relic of the nicely organised trade union days of the past.

Yesterday while I was dozing away on the sofa after lunch, and Partner was enjoying his weekend with a can of beer, there was a knock on the door.

Some new tenants had locked themselves out. What they had actually done was leave one key in the door and, they couldn’t use the other key to get in. We had a go at knocking out the key. Wouldn’t budge. We could have drilled out the lock for them. Cost of drilling out, cost of new lock, cost of fitting new lock …..

We know a good locksmith who would make a fantastic burglar as he is superb at picking locks, and, cutting new keys where necessary, by using the existing lock. Good bloke.

I offered to call him. Bear in mind this is Sunday afternoon when most people don’t want to do anything apart from enjoy themselves.

When I rang, his wife answered. He was at a party. I said I’d ring his mobile. ‘I’ve got that too,’ she replied.

‘Any idea how much?’ I asked.

‘A hundred pounds.’

I went upstairs to ask the tenants if they were willing to pay that. They were a bit short of options, and she had enough money in her wallet. I went back to ring the locksmith’s wife to ask him to come out. He rang back and we gave him the directions. He lives in Spain, so obviously has to travel and cross the frontier.

Meanwhile, another neighbour is interfering. Still in jim-jams at 4pm!!!! Having got up before 7am to take out Snowy I couldn’t believe it. I should have done, she is a vampire after all.

‘What you need to do is get a ladder and get in through the window.’

No. This is a second floor flat and would need a triple extension ladder. Where do you get that from on a Sunday afternoon? And how do you get it into a small patio down a narrow corridor? You can’t. The angles are too tight.

‘My neighbour above got me in when I locked myself out,’ she said. (This was when she tried to kick the door in and ruined the plasterwork of the block next to the frame when she failed). ‘Someone could just crawl across and get in.’

Who? You? In your jim jams? Hanging onto dodgy pipework? Like spiderman/woman?

The window wasn’t even open!!

Next bright idea she came up with was to get the fire brigade to get the tenants in.

Really clever idea. They would just break the door down. And the tenants would then have no door at all and be liable for the cost of the new door.

Some people have shit for brains. I said I had called out the locksmith and I wasn’t going back on that commitment.

‘I’m just trying to save her money,’ added Interfering Neighbour. Sure. And get somebody killed crawling around the walls. Or wreck the door, frame, and plasterwork to the building. To save £100? And incur more?

‘Nobody told us not to leave a key in the lock,’ whined the locked-out tenant. Nobody told us that either when we bought our flat but we managed to work it out ourselves.

I went downstairs to repeat this riveting convo to Partner. He then went up and told Interfering Neighbour – ‘You. Shut up.’

So then the locksmith turned up. Locked-out tenant had been invited in to Interfering Neighbour’s flat. She came out with a bottle of Heineken. We all stood there, me, Partner, locked-out tenant plus Heineken and her daughter, and IN and her flatmate.

Steve picked out a piece of plastic from his burglar’s bag, swiped it up and down the gap between the door and frame and it swung open.

Just amazing. I was stunned. Locked-out tenant was pleased to be in and handed over her cash. We walked downstairs with him, and said in a low voice, ‘Good one mate’.

What are the issues here?

Firstly, this guy has a skill and got someone into her home. The alternatives suggested by the interfering neighbour were ridiculous and would have cost more, let alone risking someone’s life crawling across walls and hanging onto rusty pipework. They could have gone to a hotel for the night, but the following day they would still have had to pay the locksmith. Less money on a Monday yes, but add hotel cost onto that and it’s far more expensive.

Partner had heard their conversation going up the stairs earlier.

‘Where are we going to get a locksmith from on a fucking Sunday afternoon?’

After hearing that, he was waiting for the knock on the door.

Secondly, is it a fair price for the job given that it took a minute or two? That’s not exactly accurate though is it? He had to travel from Spain on a Sunday afternoon, travel home and also made a couple of ‘phone calls to us on roaming. It all adds up. Say two hours or so? Most call-out charges over weekends are around £50. For the first hour.

He did a job for us, when Partner lost the keys for one of our vehicles while I was in Spanish exile. Key sorted easily – and then the barrel for the ignition fell apart. Another two hours to repair that. No extra charge, just the initial price he had quoted.

To give a price over the ‘phone without seeing a job on a Sunday is pretty reasonable in my opinion.

Thirdly, why do people want to interfere when they know stuff all about the issue at hand? The window to their kitchen was not open. We could see it quite clearly from our kitchen window. It was closed and the handle was down. We have a double extension ladder in the patio. It wouldn’t reach. A triple would be needed and you couldn’t get it into the patio anyway. We’re looking at the height of the top of a very tall gable roof here.

What is the problem with paying £100 to someone who knows what they are doing and does it quickly and easily with no damage? Or risk to property or life? (I put property first there because we all know money is more important than life).

Coming back from a dog walk shortly after we bumped into another Interfering Neighbour.

‘The new people upstairs are locked out.’

‘No they’re not. They are in now.’

‘No, I’ve just been speaking to him in the pub,’ (says it all) ‘they can’t get in.’

‘Fine. If you don’t believe me, let’s go upstairs and see.’

‘I think I’ll just go home and not get involved in this.’

Why do people want to interfere so much when they can’t add any value?

Finally, back to demarcation. Having seen what he did, we could easily do that as well. We can’t pick locks. Yet.

But would people want to pay us £100 for getting them into their flat with a bit of plastic in two seconds? Of course not, we live downstairs and it would take a few minutes max. We could do it for less money but they would want it to be done for free.

We have no intention of stealing someone else’s work and devaluing what they do.

A couple of posts back I wrote about people thinking they could pick up a paintbrush and become a painter, or pick up a pen and become a writer. Or these days, pick up a laptop.

But the other aspect to professional skill and expertise is about speed. When you have been trained in a job and have done it for years, you can do it faster. Simple as that. I type/write very quickly. I have in my head what I want to write and the fingers fly over the keyboards. Partner can paint, plaster, and hang paper quickly.

Why should we be disadvantaged because we do jobs quickly? Whether it is us or the locksmith who sorted the problem in minutes? Why are we so selfish that we don’t want to reward people who have worked for many years at their job and are fast and proficient at it?

As a society we have developed a very nasty mentality that says:

‘We must save money at all costs. We must earn more than other people. We need to know exactly what they are earning per minute, and then we can barter with them and find someone cheaper. We need to keep people down because that way we will feel better about ourselves.’

We priced a job (labour only) the other day at slightly over two grand (pounds sterling). They live in a large old house in Gib, worth well over a mill, maybe two.

Their through sitting rooms are bigger than our one-bed flat. The cost of the wallpaper is nearly a grand. Whenever you are pricing a job you have to take into account the cost of the paper. It wasn’t just papering and lining and sizing the walls, it was also stripping the paper, possible repair work to walls and damp/stain proof treatment, painting of walls below dado, all woodwork including fiddly Georgian windows, ceilings, cornices, dado rails and whatever else. They probably wanted it done for a few hundred quid when there is a month’s worth of work there. Would you work for a month for a few hundred quid?

Another workmate was asked, some years ago, to paint a flat in an up-market block in Gib. He charged two grand. He took a long time over it. They paid him three, because the logic goes, if it takes a long time, it must be worth more.

Why do we no longer wish to pay for quality work? Or did we ever?

We want to see people earn less than us, be socially and intellectually inferior, and not rise above themselves so that we can boost our own insecurities, lack of confidence and, most importantly, power and wealth.

With which I shall leave you with a link to Robert Noonan Tressell’s classic – published in 1914 – The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists.

In a hundred years, nothing has changed regarding our attitude to employing skilled tradespeople.

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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 communal living - flat life, journalism, life, work, WPlongform and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

24 Responses to Demarcation

  1. davidprosser says:

    When I was working I’d been a benefits Officer for some years. Before I moved to work for my last Local Authority I lived on an estate where everyone knew what I did. People would come round at all times for help and advice rather than travel the few miles to the office for the same advice. As a public servant I was to make myself available at someone’s whim. It wasn’t paid help / advice and the labourer wasn’t worthy of his hire.People will always try to get something for nothing if they can. Thanks are a good thing but even they don’t always follow.

    When I moved to my last Authority we also moved house to be closer. Julia insisted no-one around us be told what I did for a living. Even so, when people found out I worked for the Council I was asked to sort out planning problems, car park fines, disabled permits and even dog fouling fines none of which I had control over. Many people are basically lazy.

    The best person to deal with a tradesman is another tradesman who knows the value of a days work. There’s no argument about a quoted price or about time taken.For anyone else these days I’d say a written contract so they can’t get out of paying.
    xxx Huge Hugs xxx

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    • My uncle worked as a benefits officer but he’s long dead so no idea if he had the same experience.

      As a journalist on a local paper though, I did have people ringing me up at all hours with totally unexciting stories. Why couldn’t they wait until the next day and ring the office? I wasn’t paid to work in the evenings unless on an official job, and even then it wasn’t always paid, it was TOIL and maybe a meal allowance if the job was long enough or late enough.

      We’ll both help people, but there’s limit. The demarcation in fact. I don’t see why people shouldn’t get paid a good rate for a good job. We were both pleased that he came out on a Sunday afternoon and it was a simple job for him. He knew what to try first, and it worked. Had the key been at a slightly different angle, he could have been there for hours. That’s someone who knows their job and I’m not willing to take their work from them.

      Many people are basically not just lazy. Many people are mean and greedy and don’t value the work of others. And yet they will pay out for flat screen TVs and meals out and new clothes and smartphones and expensive holidays and and and.

      Sadly we know too many stories where tradespeople in Gib have been ripped off when working as sub-contractors. Or private customers dictating the price. Harsh world.

      My estimates (unless I do a fixed-price quotation) are very specific. But even so, what can you do if someone doesn’t pay up after the job? It’s not even worth taking them to court. A linky to a work story here: http://wp.me/p2c8OG-oA

      Gib is a strange place. It is also very much a cash economy. We would do estimates in the UK with payment on completion written on them. Did we get paid on completion? Very rarely. Completion means today when the job has been done, as specified, to your satisfaction. Not when you get paid at the end of the month. We waited a year for one job!! and he was a friend!!

      In Gib, many firms won’t even come out to do work unless you have the cash ready when they walk out of the door. They want to see your money first. That’s why I do material money up front and stage payments – or the job gets stopped. Sadly you can’t trust anyone these days. That’s why I wanted to know that the tenant had the money in cash and was willing to pay before I called out the locksmith. We all had a disrupted Sunday afternoon, and I didn’t even have the foresight to load the bill with anything for me 😀

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  2. Ai yi yi — climbing through the second floor window!!! The fire Department???
    You did exactly what should have been done, as did partner.
    And don’t get me started on dealing with people who want things done for next to nothing.
    In all fairness to all (except PJ person who was just interfering) nobody involved seemed to have a problem with any of this, did they? As for the charge, a deal is a deal so all’s well that ends well.
    Now, as for unions, best leave that for another time. Far too complex an issue for the “comments” text box 🙂

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    • Yup. Call out a public service because you are stupid enough to leave your keys in the lock and you both go other together? Um. No. Ask people to risk life and limb – hey you find a triple extension ladder on a Sunday afternoon, and climb across. See how much you think that is worth.

      It isn’t even our responsibility. I should have shut the door and said, sorry not block management but idiot soft touch answered the door in the first place. But it gets beyond a joke.

      If I’m providing a concierge service I want concierge money.

      PJ person’ mother is a loan shark. So PJ is slightly spoilt and used to getting her own way. Money, money, money it’s a rich shark’s world. (Not in Australia though).

      The tenant agreed to pay the locksmith for the correct way to deal with the problem. As you say.

      As for unions, and demarcation, we will try out the plastic card technique, but only for our own use, and not to undercut the locksmith. I think people should pay the going rate for a service. Lock yourself out. Pay.

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      • Once, a few years ago, I used the card technique to open a lock for a friend. I had heard of it and gave it a go. To my great surprise it worked. 🙂 It doesn’t always work as many locks now have a second bit attached to the latching slider that moves independently and specifically stops carding from working. As for paying for service–no argument here.

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        • I’ve always heard of the credit card technique, but who wants to wreck their card? I’d actually forgotten about it. This was a large piece of flexible card which is more sensible.

          This key wasn’t deadlocked. It wouldn’t have worked. But there again if it had been deadlocked from the inside, someone would have been there to open it. As Steve said, it depended on the angle of the key. He was lucky 😀

          While we like to do things ourselves, we never argue or haggle over prices.

          Having said all that, we used to have a sign on our front door saying KEYS!! because he locked himself out twice, but we have ladders, mates and open windows ….

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  3. EllaDee says:

    Sometimes, as many in healthcare professions would experience I imagine, it’s just not worth disclosing your occupation to people… and obviously even sharing information about your skills-trade-business offerings, risking tyre-kickers and people shamlessly wanting freebies. Even I, unqualified in law simply employed in the sector have been asked so many legal questions, often prevaricate when the topic arises. Does my firm do divorces, wills and conveyancing? No. And, I’ve lost count of how many times the G.O. has been sucked in loooong conversations with people on various earthworks matters. Dad is a motor mechanic, which I think is almost as bad as being a doctor.
    At our previous apartment we had the most hilarious neighbours, who would regularly go out with a single key between them, have a very good time, get separated and occasionally show up, requesting access to our balcony so they could climb over onto theirs. (At least the first time it happened it provided an explanation for the previously inexplicable occurence of footprints on our wall where they’d climbed over via the roof from a courtyard wall, only a two storeys up.) And they always thanked us with a bottle of wine 🙂
    As for the interfering neighbour – those who can do, and those who can’t…

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    • I was lucky in health that I wasn’t a clinician, so therefore my opinion/knowledge couldn’t possibly value and no-one asked me about cancer services or screening in my personal time. The fact that I happened to be in charge of monitoring the quality of the services and chaired a few groups so therefore needed a little knowledge never occurred to them. Same with the civil service and working in health and safety.

      Partner on the other hand does get asked endless questions and people wanting either cheap prices or freebies. It’s a difficult balance when you have a practical skill. To what extent do you help people out? charge them a cheap price? charge them the going rate?

      One of the easiest non-dilemmas is working on Land Rovers. We have a mate who is an electrician. He did some rewiring on one of our houses so we paid him. He did some rewiring on the Land Rover and didn’t charge. We did some work on his LR on the same basis. We have a friend here in Gib, and that’s done on the same basis.

      Far more difficult is neighbours who want advice and/or cheap work, and you have to balance out that you need to keep on good terms with them while working out what’s the quid pro quo.

      Partner has got into someone’s house for her in the UK, ground floor window, so not too bad. He ripped his new sweatshirt in the process though, so she promptly paid up for the sweatshirt. He mended it (extremely well I might add) and we were £25 better off. I”ve climbed in too, many years ago. My parents’ bedroom had a balcony. I forgot my keys one day, so climbed up one wall, across the top of a gate, and up onto the balcony. Then up the window to the top light which was open (we weren’t very security conscious obviously) and launched myself headfirst down into the bedroom. These days, I can’t believe I did that. It was a different Roughseas back then.

      Why didn’t your neighbours just leave a key with you? Neighbours in Spain and Gib both have keys for our properties. We’ve always done it and we’ve been keyholders for half the street at one point. These days, we have a conversation on the lines of:

      ‘Have you got your keys?’

      ‘Yes, you don’t need yours.’

      ‘What happens if we get divorced while we are out?’

      ‘OK, you take yours as well.’

      You never know what’s going to happen.

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  4. £100 sounds quite reasonable to me. Much better it seems to me to pay the going rate to someone who knows what they are doing rather than bodge it up yourself! Years ago I bought myself a Haynes Workshop Manual for my Hillman Avenger and attempted to carry out some simple servicing procedures – points, plugs, filters etc. and after a weekend of endeavours ended up having to have the car towed to a garage to get it done properly. I have still got the manual but I never used it again.

    I just read that other post about writing and painting – I’d missed it somehow. I thought it was a bit harsh – just because I haven’t been Freshly Pressed doesn’t mean I can’t write or haven’t got something to say!

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    • Sunday afternoon? What else are you going to do? I would have paid it. Idiot Features aka Partner Who Lost Keys for Santana paid £60 during the week.

      We could have drilled it out, bought a new lock and fitted that on Monday at a vastly more expensive price. Why? Let someone else take the money who knows what they are doing. Less is more in fact.

      Haynes eh? 😀 Their manuals are notorious in the land rover circuit. You need to get the proper workshop manual and parts cat. And I MUST sort out some parts today for one of ours. Points plugs filters? We’re replacing a water pump and other bits. Points and plugs and pretty easy really. Haynes just isn’t clear.

      Harsh? Me? No idea what you mean. Do you have a piece of paper to say you can write? Why does everyone in the world think when they give up their boring-as-hell job that the easiest thing to do for a) office workers – is write and b) for unskilled workers, to take up painting?

      Actually you need another blog. One where you can put together all the comments you write on mine 😀

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      • Is writing a skill that you can learn or a natural talent? Oh, how I wish it came naturally to me, how envious I am when I read the writing of a wordsmith!

        Of course it is both but did Shakespeare have a certificate to say that he could write? or Tolstoy or Cervantes or Hemingway? or even Jeffrey Archer? All of these people could write (well, 3 of the 4 anyway) but would you discourage them from doing so because they don’t have a diploma?

        I have an English ‘A’ level certificate, does that count? I do not however have anything that says that I can think, or speak, or dream or love or feel emotion.

        Everyone should be encouraged to try putting pen to paper or tapping a keyboard, if the results aren’t very good then people will not read them! – “What you say is trash but I defend to the death your right to write it”

        Writing is a combination of words that come from the soul put together in some sort of logical order by techniques of grammar. The first comes naturally, the second is acquired through learning.

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        • Stop taking the piss. I earned a living as it.

          I don’t think there were apprenticeships back in Will’s day. Or Leo’s. Etc. You mentioned five, not four. Do you have numeracy skills too?

          I don’t have a diploma, I have a certificate in journalism. I also have English A level like you. For what’s that worth.

          My point is merely that people who have a skilled trade should be able to earn money from it. Whatever trade that is. Without people who are unskilled or unqualified undercutting the rate and producing poorer work. You want examples? I can give you them.

          People can do what the hell they want. But setting up as a writer, or a photographer or a painter when laid off from other jobs gives them no rights and quite frankly they don’t know what they are doing. Just tell me what you know about defamation? Or criminal/civil law?

          Irrelevant for most blog posts apart from defamation.

          Writing should be coherent, proofread, and remotely interesting.

          Name me five blogs that fulfil those criteria that you would consider paying money to read.

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          • Taking the piss? Me?

            Actually I studied law for a whole year at University so (unless I have forgotten it all) might have a bit of an understanding of the issues that you draw attention to.

            I wouldn’t pay to read anyone’s blogs as it happens but it doesn’t stop me enjoying them. Yours, if you don’t mind me saying, is among the best on here that I am familiar with (no bullshit!)

            Look, I agree with you. No one becomes Isambard Kingdom Brunel overnight, or Christian Barnard or James Lovell – that takes training but just maybe someone with latent potential may become a great writer (e.g. Jeffrey Archer) or a painter or a photographer and we really shouldn’t resent that or dismiss a talent on the basis that they don’t have a certificate to practice?

            I am worn out thinking now!

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          • Course not.

            Law? for a year? did you swap? I don’t know any history degree that includes a year of law.

            My law is solely related to how it can affect journalists, defamation being the biggy. But it’s a good enough understanding of some general and important issues. Some of it might even have got covered in olden days under the topic of Civics at school. I liked Civics. In fact come to think of it, that was my first visit to court as we went to the local County Court just down the street.

            I’m not suggesting either of us should pay to read blogs, heaven forbid! but the point is, is that writing good enough to merit even considering buying a book/article/whatever based on the quality of their writing? There are very few good writers out there, as well you know.

            Haha, but thanks. Appreciated. Depends on the day and the mood as to how good the posts are.

            Archer? I’ve read one of his books -because it was given to me – and thought it was crap. I certainly wouldn’t go back for more. A bit like Rowling. Sometimes people get the publicity and the sales for whatever reason. Occasionally they may even be able to write.

            I like Andy McNab,Chris Ryan, Jack Higgins and recently a book called Blackout – no not all the new ones – an old one, but I can’t remember his name and it is currently hidden under a pile of papers. But I think writing novels, based on experience eg McNab and Ryan, or Fleming with Bond, is very different to someone starting an amateurish blog and saying, people will pay me to write. Will they?

            Regarding painting (ie decorating rather than artists) and photography – they both have a technical side to it. Whether you frame your pic correctly, know how to develop your photos using chemicals, or know how to treat a damp problem on walls and apply the correct (and best) finish. Having a latent talent (same letters there – just swap two around) isn’t always enough.

            And quite honestly, unless someone knew the basics of their trade, I would dismiss them. I’m not paying for someone who doesn’t know what they are doing. That’s also why the job we didn’t get a while ago, ended up their wallpaper hung upside down.

            I see you have taken to the American spelling of practise for the verb?

            I was worn out with your monkey/monkee suggestions!!

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          • Year one – three subjects. I chose history, classics and law. I preferred Homer and Vergil but it was quite interesting, we did criminal law and tort. I was determined to study (read) history so ditched it at the end of the year but have often wondered what different path I might have taken if I had carried on.

            Jeffery Archer – I was joking – the inside of my cheek is still severely bruised!

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          • I nearly read law. It was touch and go between history and law. I don’t remember any choices in my first year at all. It was single honours but spread across three schools – classics, history and archeaology. No law though 😀

            One of my former chairs of my health authority was a partner of a law firm. He earned less than me. He was a darling. We established a small and select luncheon club. Me, him and his mistress. I suspect I was their cover although it took me a while to work it out.

            You mentioned Archer before, when you couldn’t count, and I was wondering why is he suddenly great when the obvious joker in the previous pack was Archer? Stop being clever!

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          • I like the three wise monkey post!

            Interestingly Lincolnshire was also divided into three administrative areas pre 1974. Kesteven, Lindsey and Holland and these were further sub-divided into ridings, wappentakes (what a great word, we should certainly bring that back) and hundreds!

            We also have sausages, stuffed chine, Isaac Newton and Henry IV but also, to our eternal shame Margaret Thatcher!

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          • Well it was all your fault 😀 Once I’d started on the Yorkshire monkeys, so to speak, the threes kept coming. I didn’t know any other county had ridings. Ours were clearly the most important ones of course. We had wapentakes too. Ours was Agrbigg. Another post for the future about my home town! which is actually quite interesting. Current claim to fame being biggest town in England without a railway station!! (used to have a few as I recall but before my time). Could you have hundreds and wapentakes at the same time? Can’t remember. Should abolish all local reorganisation and go back to what people were perfectly happy with.

            We had chine of beef from time to time. Better than neck of lamb. Or ox tail. I’m surprised any of those are allowed these days after BSE.

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          • Well, Lincolnshire is the second largest County, just ahead of Cumbria and Devon, but I think that includes Grimsby and Scunthorpe or South Humberside if you prefer. It is an interesting fact that when I ask Grimbarians about county affiliation they all claim to be from Lincolnshire.

            Largest town without a station. I thought Dudley made that claim but also Oldham and Preston? That is one of those statistics that you have to be careful with because there is always a counter-claim lurking in the background and ready to pounce! Of course if you were being more specific you would say that Wakefield is a city whilst Dudley only has a town status!

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          • City? That is an easy one. I just go with cathedral city definition so therefore, no catherdral = no city.

            Fuengirola got upgraded to city status a while ago due to its size. That started to be the argument in the UK as I recall too. Big = city.

            Gib = small. Two cathedrals 😀 Well one’s Catholic so that probably doesn’t count.

            Much easier to use older definitions, but if you wanted to add extra criteria, how about county court, prison, (legal, civil rather than religious), theatre? football stadium? no everyone has those.

            Wakefield always had two stations, Westgate and Kirkgate.

            My home town is the largest town in Yorkshire without a station. I’m thinking Yorkshire at the moment so the rest of the world is irrelevant!!

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  5. Vicky says:

    If you want a job doing properly, get the professionals in.
    A job on the cheap may initially be good on the pocket, but how does the saying go? ‘pay cheap, pay twice’
    If after attempting various means of getting in myself – our old door was a piece of wood through the letterbox to lever the latch up – I wouldn’t have had any doubts of calling a proper locksmith.
    Didn’t quite work for us while in France though, after one of my daughters locked the car keys in the boot.
    After trying ourselves (we removed the rear seat only to find the fuel tank blocking out way into the boot), we called a local garage, hoping they’d have a set of master keys……..they arrived with a hammer and chisel.

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    • I’ll be the first to admit though, how do you know who is professional? Plenty of people set themselves in various businesses without knowing even the basics. Word of mouth? Someone else’s idea of quality might not be mine or yours. And price isn’t a guarantee either eg the job I wrote about earlier somewhere (!) which we quoted for less to do more than other firms. And we still came out with a good profit, and paid our subbies a decent rate.

      I think pay peanuts, get monkeys applies here in Gib 😉 In fact the monkeys could do a better job.

      We all try to get ourselves in. No problem with that. Which is why A will hunt out a good piece of plastic, but we’ll be telling other people to call the locksmith 😀 And suggesting crawling across high walls is just ridiculous. Actually we discussed after the event whether we would even get involved again. It’s not as though they have come down with a couple of tinnies as a thank you, and given his comment to her going up the stairs about ‘where do we get a fucking locksmith?’ I suspect they might have been a bit stuck without us having the contact. Huh. The Tyke in me is coming out there but I’ll mail you about it 😀

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  6. A good craftsman is worth their weight in gold – especially a trustworthy locksmith.
    (Climbing walls or crashing down doors? Seen too many movies if you think those are a great idea)

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    • I think there have been at least three attempts in this block to get in by knocking in the door judging by the damaged plasterwork. We did get one neighbour in by taking off the frame and replacing it, but that was an easier job as it was straightforward and an old door and frame. Newer ones are impossible to do like that.

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