There’s nothing more annoying than builders and subbies who just don’t turn up. Especially when they get distracted by a sex shop on the way to your house.

If you are of a mind to drop by my home for a cuppa, let me give you new directions. Or if you are the builder who was supposed to turn up the week before last or the plumber due six weeks ago, let me give you directions.

Just travel north on the main A1 until you get to a big yellow sign – it used to say “Happy Eater” but now says “Happy Lovers”. The former home of two rashers of crisp back bacon and two griddled eggs is now a sex shop. Honest. You can get all sorts of paraphernalia at the “Happy Lovers Pit Stop” but traditional black pudding and hash browns are not on the menu. Incidentally, I have no trouble with the carpenter. He turns up when he promises.

If anything is a good foundation to falling out, it is when the builder and subbie simply don’t turn up. Marginally better is to turn up, do a bit and then disappear for days.

And even if you get the bloke on his mobile, or more likely his missus, the promise to come tomorrow hasn’t an ounce of truth in it. And, I tell you this, in all the years of hanging around the building business nothing has changed. The felt-roofer, the plasterer, that confounded floor-layer, always says: “Yes, yes I’ll be there on Monday”. But which Monday?

So, why not phone up and explain that despite the best laid plans, they can’t get there as promised? “Well it’s easy really,” said a pal of mine. “I wouldn’t dream of phoning my wife when I’m going to be late”. “Why not?” said I. “Well, she’ll give me two roastings instead of one – the first when I phone to apologise, the second when I get home.”

Do me a favour. Plans always, always go awry. For heaven’s sake, tell the customer what’s going on. It is a disarming piece of management to keep the customer informed.

As for the carpenter being no trouble, that’s because Happy Lovers is nicknamed “Knobs and Knockers” by the locals – the chippy is convinced it’s his new ironmonger. He spent hours rummaging through the shelves looking for my new letterbox …

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