Having enjoyed a restful day on Tuesday (though I did pop down to Argos to buy a pedal bin for the kitchen), on Wednesday morning I got ready to receive whoever would turn up to begin the process of “snagging”. Knowing that they can come at any time from 8 am, I was ready and waiting as the clock struck the hour.
At 8:30 I sent Tigger an email at work saying that no one had showed up yet. She replied suggesting I give the management a ring. I sighed at the thought because it is impossible to get hold of them these days. I rang anyway and got voicemail as usual. Time passed and no snaggers appeared.
Perhaps it was optimistic of me to think that they would. After all, a weekend and two weekdays had passed without any contact from the builders. On the other hand, the schedule clearly shows that snagging should take place on Wednesday and whenever I ring them up and ask whether any work is due, they respond by asking “What does is say on the schedule?” like a school teacher wagging his finger at a pupil who is asking a silly question.
Nonetheless, I tried ringing again and to my surprise, got through. I enquired whether I should expect the snaggers, pointing out that today is the day for them to come, according to the schedule. I further pointed out that I had things to do and that it was inconvenient to stay indoors day after day on the off-chance that someone might call.
“Oh,” came the reply. “Well, Tony, who does the snagging, is on leave today, so it is most unlikely that he will come.”
“I see,” said I, as icily as I could manage.
“Er, do you actually need snagging?”
“The bath is wonky. The flooring man knocked some paint off the skirting board on the way out with his roller and we were told you would put up our fixtures for us.”
“Right. So you need snagging. OK, I’ll tell Tony and he will come and see you tomorrow. Don’t wait in today.”
I sometimes wonder why it is that we seem to excel in making things difficult in this country. The schedule says today is for snagging yet the person concerned takes the day off and doesn’t bother to let me know. So I sit here waiting, my only recourse to call people who are usually not available. It’s enough to make you despair.
I could go on but I won’t. You reach that point where, rather than further outrage, you feel merely tired and depressed. It’s better to put it out of your mind and battle on. I answered some emails, read more about Napoleon on St Helena (I have nearly finished the book) and got ready to meet Tigger from work.
In the post was a letter from the credit card company with the PIN number of my new credit card. The letter also said I had to ring up and “activate” the card. Lumme, what will it do when activated? Start running around the room like a mechanical mouse? I called the number given and was asked for some “security details” and then to confirm the name on the card. “S. Tiger,” said I happily. “Your card is now active,” came the reply.
The card doesn’t look any different; no lights came on; it did not beep or otherwise show signs of “activation”. I suppose it’s a bit like religion: you have to trust that the blessing has performed some sort of invisible transformation, converting dead plastic into living financial power. We shall see. You don’t get far these days without handing over a quantity of filthy lucre. (Has anyone ever seen any clean lucre?) And a card does dispense with the need to carry wads of cash with you. It’s such a pretty blue colour, too.
So the Tiger is now a member of the credit-card-holder classes. Financial ruin will no doubt overtake me instantly. I’ll keep you posted.