Monday, 11 March 2013
The Great Fence Debate
On some days at work, I lose the will to live.
For well over an hour, I’ve been subjected to a cyclical debate about the pros and cons of fencing versus brick walls. In summary:
A brick wall should take 2 weeks to build. But it might take 3 weeks, and if it takes 3 weeks it’s going to cost more (£550 a week don’t you know, plus materials) and the person commissioning the wall doesn’t have a never-ending pot of money and can’t afford that much, especially as she’s going on holiday soon. A ‘gardener guy’ has warned her that the 2 conifer trees in the neighbour’s garden may, over time, damage the wall, either with the roots or by hitting it when swaying in the wind. This could be a problem, because she obviously doesn’t want to erect a wall, only to have it knocked down by a wayward tree, or have the roots push it up so that it bulges in an unsightly manner. No-one wants that.
Although the ‘builder guy’ advised her that he would need to dig a foundation trench and pour concrete, he didn’t also advise that he would have to wait for the concrete to set. Logic be damned, she evidently assumed that bricks could be laid on wet concrete. Give it a go, you never know, it might just work! So the question now is, will she be paying him for the day that he’s sitting in his van, drinking tea, waiting for the concrete to set? Because it’s not about that. What about wooden fencing, I hear you ask. Well, that’s another story. She’s not all that keen on wooden fencing, because cats can get into the garden under the fence, and she doesn’t like cats. It would be a lot cheaper to go with fencing, and it wouldn’t be so difficult to replace if there were problems caused by the trees. But it’s not the same. Maybe she could amalgamate the two mediums, and have a brick base and brick pillars with the wooden fence posts in between. She seems to have forgotten that one of the major reasons for not having the brick wall is the tree roots. Although maybe I’m forgetting that tree roots would only push through the base of a brick wall if it was 6ft tall or more, a 2ft wall just isn’t worth the roots’ time. But how would the fence panels be affixed to the brick pillars? Maybe she could contact a fencing company to see if they could work with the brick pillars. Or maybe she could ask builder guy if he could install the fence panels at the same time as building the pillars. But then he may try to charge her more again. Plus, if you have a brick base, you’d still need a concrete foundation, so someone would have to dig the trench for it. That’s ok though, she could do that herself, the soil in her garden is quite soft. Apparently a wooden fence would also need a concrete foundation, so that will have to be done either way. Now the tape measure has come out. What kind of PA has a tape measure at work? Maybe the question should be what kind of a PA am I that I don’t have one? A bad one I’ll wager. How long is a metre? Is 2 metres 6ft? No, no it’s not.
Now Google has been consulted on the ins and outs of fence erection, and the laws concerning dealing with a neighbour’s tree roots. Did you know that it’s illegal to cut tree roots if the tree itself isn’t on your property (even if the roots are)? Apparently it’s trespassing. So now she would have to consult her neighbour Pat, and she doesn’t think he’d want to have his trees cut down just so that she can have a garden wall built.
I have to admit, after 40 minutes I was on the verge of screaming in the faces of these two god-forsaken women, so I have had to insert both my headphones to block out the inane drivel coming from them (normally one will suffice, but the lone bud just wasn’t cutting it today). Sadly, this means I have no more details to impart, although I’m pretty sure it will consist of rephrasing the above points, at least twice. Incidentally, they are still talking. It has now been an hour and 15 minutes, and counting, and as yet the various aspects of the issue are still not satisfactorily covered. I’m not sure I could talk for an hour and 15 minutes solid about something that really, really interested me, let alone something as banal as fencing. Fencing. Please stop. Please, I implore you.
*10 minutes later* Oh thank the lord, his disciples and all the angels, she has gone back to her own office with her conversation counterpart, presumably to repeat the discussion with a new audience. However, I don’t think the debate will be settled so easily, so I’m mentally preparing myself for round two. I will also remove all possible projectiles from my desk, just in case I’m tempted to launch something at one of their heads.
Who knew that fencing and walls could be such an interesting, engaging subject to pass the time? Oh, that’s right, no-one. No-one in the history of ever has given so much time to so meaningless a thing.
A couple of weeks ago I had a job interview for a job with the National Trust, which I don't mind telling you is a job I really, really wanted. Well, it turns out I didn't get the job, and at the time I was, to say the least, a little peeved. I didn't ask for feedback straight away. I had a proper sulk on, and I didn't want to hear all the stuff I'd done wrong in said interview. Anyway, after a couple of days I got over my little paddy and asked for some feedback. You see, I do still want to work for the NT, so if I could find out what I'd done wrong I would be less likely to repeat the faux pas next time. Well, I had the feedback today, and it turns out that actually I did really well! I didn't get the job because one of the other interviewees had direct experience of the job (which I did not). He also commented that I had the best sense of humour of all the interviewees (who knew!?) and that I should keep trying. Well sir, I will keep trying! And one day someone there will give in and hire me!