.......... ...Supplementary



The rollover link-picture is intended to signify the two principal aspects of work: the apparent ease and even beauty of construction (as depicted in Rod's shot of the building of 'Westfield' in Shepherds Bush) VERSUS the agony of effort and the tackling of obstacles (as so brilliantly depicted in Dali's 'War').

For an idler, work has no other real attractions - that is, genuine work (which I define as any process requiring effort that one would prefer to avoid and have done by someone else or a machine). As ever, there is an exception to this - which is when a relatively small effort can result in a relatively large cost-saving. If you're loaded, disabled, exceptionally lazy or stupid then this doesn't apply. Otherwise, most people are quite able to easily do most jobs that need doing around the house. They are almost all pretty basic and straightforward.

Last month (January) I completely renovated the bathroom. I more-or-less gutted the place: removed duff old wallpaper, old bath, toilet and wash-basin... then installed a fabulous walk-in shower, new toilet and wash-basin, instant-water-heater, fan heater... True, I'd done this kind of work before back when I was ~30 when it was either do-it-yourself or tolerate an inferior old-fashioned set-up, because there was no way I could have afforded to pay someone else to do it. A neighbour recently told me she'd forked-out £4.5K for her small bathroom, and still things weren't right and more work was needed. As indicated in the FEBRUARY update, renovating my bathroom cost well under a grand. And because I did the work, I knew it was OK... maybe not perfect to someone with a magnifying glass, but at least functionally sound for a long time to come: ie, no leaks, all appliances working as they're supposed to, etc.

People will say: but I'm no plumber, electrician, gas-fitter, painter... how can I undo pipes and pull a big old bath out, and remove a toilet from the soil-pipe then replumb a new one properly, and adjust the cistern correctly, and wire-up an instant-water-heater safely... and lay a vinyl floor.... how can I do all those things?

As I say, they are all basic and straightforward. Nothing complicated or difficult from the 'knowing-how-to-do' angle - most of which is blatantly obvious. The difficulty is solely in the effort - at least it was for me. By far the main problematic efforts I experienced were: pulling the old bath out, removing old wallpaper, fixing tiles level on an uneven wall... in fact, all the things that even a numbskull could do OK because virtually no thought or special skill is required. These were definitely the worst parts of the whole job and demanded the greatest psychological AND physical effort. Installing the toilet and wash-basin took a brief two or three hours. Remember, these days with plastic pipes and plastic joints these plumbing jobs are a doddle. There's no hacksawing of copper pipes, no soldering, no need for a work-bench and vice or any of that kind of clobber. Modern fittings make plumbing a whole bathroom a mere morning's work. Electricity too is extremely basic and requires only common sense. Because everything's plastic, there's no earth connections these days, just live and neutral, so when fused correctly and connected as instructed by the manufacturer one can't go wrong. Instructions are tightly regulated these days for safety so are clear and thorough.


If an old copper pipe bursts in the winter, or if a fuse blows in an old fuse cupboard, or if the toilet overflow continues to run... EVERYONE should know precisely how to fix the problem. They shouldn't need to call a plumber, but just get the tool-box out. And the job would be done before any plumber could even get there - and for no cost too, except if some component needs replacing (which are all dead-cheap these days as well as easy to fit or fix).

Why these things aren't taught in school is... well, in my cynical view: is because people are not supposed to be able to do these things themselves, otherwise where would all the rip-off plumbers and electricians and gas-fitters be, and the government's VAT receipts? The same could be said for other DIY: conveyancing, accounting... and even medical: if people knew about how to take proper care of themselves (and had the sense to avoid 'quackery'). These issues are controversial, I know. But you only have to reflect on whatever jobs or decisions or services you are inculcated to buy rather than do for yourself to see the programming, the propaganda, the taboos and status quo of what YOU can't possibly do for yourself because it's dangerous or complicated or requires some special genius.

AND these days with the superb advantage of youtube (and other info sites) you can watch and learn how to do most things... which you'll be amazed to discover there's no mystery to... just a mere lack of confidence that's preventing you doing them for yourself and saving loadzamoney...

Without referring to sites on the net, a couple of years ago I installed (and piped from the main) a superb new balanced-flue gas fire. People said: you'll get blown-up... you should employ a Corgy registered fitter... you won't be insured... you're taking a BIG risk... AND my reply to them all: BOLLOCKS!!!! These days especially, fitters and tradespeople are not particularly bright or skilled - they don't need to be - and things like gas fires come with excellent detailed idiot-proof instructions. For anyone with more than half-a-brain these jobs are a cinch, and are perfectly safe - and anyway it's simple to test for leaks, etc - so don't ever be deterred by thicko negative-thinking scaremongers who probably have to employ an electrician to wire a plug. Be practical, save loadsamoney, and get the job done correctly and quickly... as the old saying goes: if you want something doing [well], then do it yourself. Too right. AND THAT'S FROM AN IDLER...

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