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NTU Sustainability in Enterprise

A Canadian on British craftsmanship

1 October 10 words: Rob Cutforth
illustrations: Rob White

Our Canadian in New Basford prepares for the winter months by returning to his favourite subject: appallingly cack-handed British craftsmanship

I swear this column is cursed. Seriously, it’s not even funny anymore. I write about Jo and Twiggy, then they split up. I go to the Tales of Robin Hood, and it closes down weeks later. I write a piece about working in Nottingham, and then I get made redundant. Then I write a column about being made redundant and get a new job before it was published, making me look a right idiot.

I wrote a column last autumn on how amazing the beer festival was, only for it to run out of beer on the Saturday. My mate John doesn’t speak to me any more over my “Metal Karaoke” column and my Fantasy Football teams have been junk ever since I wrote about how easy Fantasy Football leagues are to win.

Want more examples? Take my last three columns; one about how good the Robin Hood movie was going to be (when it turned out to be a massive turd), a oh-isn’t-this-summer-amazing piece (which has brought about CrapWeatherGeddon 2010), and my World Cup column extolling the virtues of being an English footy fan (which...well, Christ on a bike, I can’t even finish that sentence).

So this month I’m going to go back to basics; I’m going to whinge about Limey builders. Why tempt fate, you ask? Two reasons: firstly because writing about builders is a safe bet and, short of blowing my house up with a bazooka, there isn’t anything more they could possibly do to make my life any worse than it already is.

I’ve had shocking luck with builders in this country. There were the plasterers who plastered over the damp-proofing, causing hundreds of pounds worth of damage. There was the alarm fitter who simply didn’t show up. Ever. There were the bricklayers who buried the deposits from their Portaloo in my front garden, left tons of industrial rubbish in my back garden and slathered a retaining wall with indoor latex paint. Now my garden has a lovely prison yard feel; all it needs is a poster of Raquel Welch over the entrance to a tunnel dug with a rock hammer to finish it off.

There were also the builders who installed pipework so close to the floorboards that simply walking on the floor caused them to burst and flood my downstairs living room. There was the painter who thought unpainted pieces of plywood made for quality skirting boards. Finally, there was the builder who thought a plastic bag was all it would take to hold two sewage pipes together. The pipes broke shortly after and flooded my front lawn with human excrement. Do you know how difficult it is to have a sociable conversation with your neighbour when you’re standing in a pool of your own filth? Bloody awkward, I can tell you.

However, these boys have nothing on the mental defectives who installed a new boiler while I was away in Canada over the summer: it just might be the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever seen since 2 Girls 1 Cup. Words simply cannot do it justice. Just look at it, over there, too the right.

This photo is not doctored in any way (well other than Robs scribbles). This is the actual, final result. What kind of a person does this to a kitchen and thinks, “Yes, this is ok, I’m sure the client will be happy with this.” A rabid monkey with hooks for hands and a haemorrhaging brain could’ve done a better job.

Let me just take you through that photo step by step, shall I?

1. First of all, the boiler is crooked. You can’t really tell from the photo, but believe me, if they had put a spirit level on top of it, it would have exploded.

2. You see that greyish/brown area around the top of the boiler? That’s where the wood that boxed the old boiler in used to be. You know, because (call me crazy) maybe the world doesn’t need to see that bit.

3. The cupboard door. God, where do I start? Obviously, this boiler is bigger than the one that was in there before, but surely there is a better solution than this. Maybe using a tape measure beforehand and, oh I don’t know, suggest another boiler that would actually fit?  

The thing that annoys me most about the cupboard door is the fact that you can still see the pencil lines where they marked that cut. Let me say that again, They couldn’t even be bothered to erase the effing PENCIL MARKS. The pencil marks are an unnecessary slap in the face, like a burglar who robs your house only to come back a week later to wazz on your dog. See how perfectly the cuts follow the boiler; this means that the moronic douche made CROOKED cuts to allow for the CROOKED boiler. Then, because (obviously) the cupboard door is no longer functional, he’s used two tiny clamps to hold it in place. I had the audacity to walk past the cupboard too quickly, which caused the clamps to give way and the door to come crashing down into the counter top and on to the floor. Only some seriously fancy footwork on my part (thank you Tae Kwon Do green belt) avoided my getting a toe-ectomy.

From now on, I am only writing articles on things that can’t possibly burn me later. The next one is entitled “Butterflies, Moonbeams and Unicorns”, so watch out for that. (I should say that my gothic plumber, Tony Napleton - pictured right - had nothing to do with this boiler install. Tony is a great plumber, one I would recommend highly. If it weren’t for him, my house would be under twelve feet of water. He is a godsend).

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