Friday, August 14, 2009


Last Friday I felt a bit down and I was wondering why. I realised it was because the builders were about so much and were rather taking over. I think I felt kind of powerless to deal with it and given that it affected my home and my privacy, I found this a rather uncomfortable position to be in.

I bumped into my neighbour on Friday night and she told me that the builders had said they would be back on Saturday. I didn’t really want to speak to the freeholder, who the work was being carried out for privately on the two flats that she owns. She had no idea that they were coming back the next day. But I assured her that the builders said that they were and in the end she agreed to see what she could do, as it would affect my barbecue. She did manage to get them to agree to come early and said that they would be gone by 2pm (it was 5pm as it turned out). In some ways I felt sort of elated that I had tried to do something about it, rather than just letting the builders do as they please.

The next day the builders started work before 9am, but they did start on the windows that would most affect the barbecue. Late morning I found one of them in my garden with his ladder. He put it up in my garden and then trampled on my plants to go up and down the ladder. After a few minute is went outside to say that I didn’t appreciate him standing on my plants and that eh should have spoken to me before coming into my garden. One of the other builders told me that it was not my private property and bizarrely I then had to explain to him that it was and that I owned my flat and garden. Then the main builder shouted at me and told me that I should direct any comments to him because he was “the boss”. I told him that I had nothing to say to him and he answered back (I already knew he was really rude) and in the end had to very firmly say to him that I didn’t want to talk to him and walk off.

It’s not that I can’t stand up for myself (although sometimes I do it somewhat nervously). It’s that I think I find it hard when people somehow threaten (in a psychological sense) my home, which is in its own way a sort of security for me.

Sometimes over the last couple of weeks I have found that I could leave work pretty promptly, but then my heart has sunk because I have realised the builders might be here. There is a part of me that thinks that it is justified to feel the way that I do (and I think it is fine to not like people treating me and my neighbours with the contempt that the builders do). But there is also a pat of me that thinks that I should learn to “hold things more lightly”. If you don’t get your security from ‘things’ then people can’t, either deliberately or accidentally, affect that.

Things to ponder.


Lemonpillows said...

Anyone would feel uneasy having their home invaded by strangers. I certainly would. Being in rented homes, it happens all the time, but being an owner, you should expect more privacy. How long are they going to be there? Can you get a reduction in the monies you pay the freeholder for the inconvenience?

Kahless said...

I think you are entirely justified to feel like you have.

I am not sure I agree with “hold things more lightly”. Are you sure thats not your own way of scolding yourself for feeling like you have?

Yet you have every right to feel like you have and I dont so that there is any reason for you to deny yourself that?

Hang in there with the builders. Without doubt, builders are right royal pains in the butt.

Take care.

Sarah said...

Poor you. What a horrid situation. No-one expects to have to protect their home; it's a basic tenet, which I suspect most of us take for granted, that our home is inviolable.

I do hope that the builders finish and leave soon, restoring your peace of mind.

Random Reflections said...

Lemonpillows - I'm not really sure what the situation with the builders is. They have been about this week, but fortunately I haven't seen them.

I think any negotiations with the freeholder would be far too complicated. They just don't quite get it...

Kahless - I don't know really. Maybe I am being too hard on myself, but there is a part of me that thinks that if I can't change the situation then I can at least change my attitude towards it. If I have things at more of a distance then perhaps it feels less threatening when someone impinges on it in some way.

Or perhaps that is just very warped logic.

Sarah - I am hoping they will be done fairly soon. The next problem will be that the freeholder is going to be get some work carried out on behalf of all of us. I really hope that they don't think this is a good firm to go with and I am going to have to express string views if they do.

I did tell the freeholder that the builder treat us with contempt (and actually used that word). She may have guessed that I don't like that firm.

jumpinginpuddles said...

using your backyard without asking is very rude and not ok i would have gone right off

Random Reflections said...

jip - I think they realised quite how unimpressed I was. Not that I think they really cared and because there were three of them, they probably all decided that it was me who was in the wrong. Sometimes I don't like people.

Vanessa said...

Builders on my property upset me. they do it by merely existing. Being human is another mortal crime. If after that, you've got rude, thoughtless and destructive builders, you've been upset three times over, so it feels three times worse. So don't overanalyse your response, jsut tell them when they cross the line. As you did, perfectly justifably. well done you. :)

Random Reflections said...

Vanessa - Thanks. I shall take your analysis on board. I do often comment to G that I just don't like people sometimes (people as a general concept, rather than anyone specific), perhaps this is also part of the problem!

The builders seem to have gone quiet, but they haven't finished so they will be back at some point presumably.