Downsizing in the Cotswolds: #2 The Builders

Time to activate that transitive verb, downsize, so enter Fred, a “local” builder, with his own firm who can call on an array of self contracted plumbers, electricians, carpenters, bricklayers, roofers, decorators, singers and dancers. Okay, that last bit isn’t true! His son works for him too and was taught by Dr C at school, as was almost every other person in our village, especially the males over 6ft.

“Looks simple enough” he said, “you want that arch closing off, a new window putting in, the toilet expanding to become a shower room and the utility room door to the garage closing off. Is that right?” “ “Yes”, I said “and all done by Christmas so there’s a case of Port thrown in for your wife as a bonus!”.

Fred arrived with Pete on December 4th, but the plumbing supplies didn’t, despite all of them being ordered on November 1st! “Not to worry” said Fred, “you chase the plumbing supplies, we’ll make a start on the new window and a doorway through yon’ arch”.


The plumbing supplies for the new shower room arrived on the 7th. “I’ve lost Craig, the plumber now till the 11th” said Fred, “not to worry, we’ll make a start on closing the garage door off”. Craig the plumber appeared on the 15th and discovered that the pipes for the toilet fittings were incorrect sizes, “not to worry” said Fred, “I’ve got Gareth the electrician coming round tomorrow so he can get on with your new bedroom lighting and the shower room electrics!”. Gareth was in and out the next day like a flash of lightening, l.e.d lighting in the bedroom, shaver point etc in the shower room plus correcting something in the kitchen that had gone wrong since his last visit.

“What yer gonna do about decorating Dr B” asked Fred the next day. “Er, isn’t John your son doing it” I asked. “No, he’s in hospital in Barcelona, and we need to get someone else Dr B”

You couldn’t bloody well make this up! The substitute decorator wanted over £1000 so I told him to stick it up his paint pot and got Lee to do it for £250 over a weekend! Just don’t ask who Lee is …… the life in a Cotswold village at times fluctuates between hilarity and complete idiocy! But having an ex school teacher as a wife gives you lots of contacts and leverage.


We returned from Budapest on December 28th to find everything finished, something we hoped for but feared the worst on since we set off on our Christmas holiday and left Fred with a key. All we have to do now is to track down Craig the plumber to plug the nefarious leaks around the shower and keep Fred at bay regarding his brown envelope!

Next week, Part 3 Moving In


Categories: Philosophy

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2 replies

  1. LOL. Sounds more like getting things done in Spain but I guess it’s the same all over. At least it was done when you returned home.


  2. I shouldn’t have read this, my building work begins in February!


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