You’d think it would be quite an easy task to get someone to do a bit of gardening. Not a bit of it. I looked in yellow pages and made a list, easy I thought. A dozen phone calls later and a lot a wasted time waiting for people who never turned up, or didn’t ring back as promised, I turned to the local free paper. I spoke to a man who said he was interested and would visit at 2pm. Curbing my scepticism, I agreed to be there waiting. About 10 minutes before he was due, he rang to say he’d be about half an hour late. Fair enough. When he arrived more or less as promised, he looked around and said, ‘Sorry don’t do this sort of job, I’m more of a tree man. But I know a man who will!’ He rang him and the ‘man who will’ said he would come in about an hour. Very promising.
The ‘man who will’ arrived as arranged. Very good start. He turned out to be an Irish gentleman in his fifty’s. After a quick look round, surveying the weeding that hadn’t been done for weeks, he listened to my plea to get it done before the coffee morning an the Saturday and said, ‘Not a problem, sor, just you leave it to me. I can do it for sure by Saturday and it will be £260. Realising at once, that for that price he was planning for more than one day, I asked which days he would be coming. ‘Well, sor,’ he said scratching his head. ‘I would t’ink we can fit you in T’ursday afternoon.’
Wow! Even my maths told me that, at about 4 hours for an afternoon, this was sixty pounds plus an hour. When I told him that was rather a high rate, for an afternoon, he laughed. ‘Well bless you sor, there’s not just me, there’s two of us.’
I’m afraid I gave a rather disbelieving laugh and told him that was still thirty pounds an hour and I usually paid about ten. He just touched a knuckle to his forehead and said, ‘Well good luck to you sor.’ Then turning on his heel, strode off up the drive shaking his head sadly.
Being a cheap skate, bad knees and all, I tidied up myself with the help of a willing friend and made a donation to the coffee morning instead.