During the high winds some ten days ago that whacked much of the west and north parts of our fair isles in their green faces, our fence nearly blew down. As we tried to find someone to fix it, it as clear that fences all across Oxfordshire were suddenly in need of repair, all at once. Such is the nature of a heavy storm’s aftermath.
It wasn’t entirely blown over. Of the four panels, one had long since half-decayed behind the shed; a post between two of the remaining good panels had snapped at its base, dragging two panels down towards next door’s garden. This state of affairs wasn’t urgent in one sense, but next door’s chickens couldn’t be let out with the waney-lap of Damocles hanging over them, lest they were scratching away at the wrong patch of turf when the end finally, disastrously came.
In the end, K. did all the necessary ringing-around to arrange a fence-mender, and an excellent job she performed (the weird and slightly uncommunicative ways of your average workman notwithstanding.) But it’s events like this that remind us that we’re still slightly at sea when it comes to commissioning someone to fix something the house: where do you begin, when you don’t know what you don’t know?
Still, this homeowner’s burden is still a million times preferable to the rigmarole we used to have to go through when we were some idiot’s tenants. At best, you would ring the agent, who would then communicate with some Preferred Building Maintenance Service Provider, but frequently not tell you when they were going to stumble and bang their way through your own front door; at worst, the agent would have to ring a landlord, who would then reluctantly start getting quotes, assuming that they weren’t themselves slowly succumbing to Alzheimer’s (I’d like to say pointedly “you know who you are,” but the irony is that she probably doesn’t.)
Better dealing with the massed ranks of the county’s bodgers, chippies and nail-thumpers – and occasionally finding the gem we ended up with – than rental properties. And better rental, than mental.