Saturday, 1 August 2009

Got another thirty minutes to spare?

Current mood:  tired

Good, 'cause it's time for the Desirée Skylark Catch-Up Show!

July 25th 2009
David spent the morning at Woodberry to paint some more of my shelves and supervise the 'cleaners' that Mr Williams said he's bring over to clean the house before my carpet was laid on Friday (yesterday).  When they arrived, they turned out to be nothing but ordinary labourers - in fact, they were the same labourers we suspect broke our fireplace and stole the grate.

We spent the morning doing further clearing up in the back room without much success.  Then, in the afternoon, we went to another couple of carpet shops, and David found a nice cheap black carpet for his bedroom in the 'Vancouver' range.  Mum felt it necessary to tease me all the way back to Grottsville about how she thought I should have chosen a carpet from this range, but in all honesty who would choose a carpet based on its name.  Admittedly, there was a nice 'Vancouver' cream carpet, but it was nowhere near as soft and nice as the one I got from Allied Carpets.

Then we drove into the car park next door, and I jumped out of the car and dashed to pick up the new Argos catalogue and various inserts, on instruction to hold my breath the entire time in case I caught swine flu.  I'm pretty sure the woman standing on the door handing out the new catalogue thought I was crazy! o_0

There are none of the new 'alien ponies' in the Argos catalogue, by the way.  Just one of the new Ponyville sets, So Soft Newborn Sweetie-Belle and Cheerilee (carried over from last time) and that new freaky interactive Starsong...dragon-type...zombie-ish...thing.  I'm sad the Ponyville Ice Cream Shake Diner's no longer in there; that probably means it was reduced in the final clearance sale, but I never saw it due to not leaving this house because of the dreaded swine flu!   If only we had beds it wouldn't be so important to delay catching it. (Although flu is never pleasant, of course!)

Someone uploaded some new MLP commercials on Youtube - there are better copies of the Pretty Parlor and Magic Message Ponies adverts.  But the ones of real interest to me were the ones for the original Baby Ponies and Baby Buggy, as seen via the links below...

Those ponies are most definitely hand painted like my Baby Explorer and Music Time prototypes!  I get so excited seeing prototypes of any kind, but it's especially interesting to see ones at this stage of production.  I can't figure out if they're made of ordinary vinyl, resin or some other material though...  Lickety Split is particularly cute - I wish she really had been made in those colours!

I'm now attempting to download all the MLP commercials from Youtube before they get taken down...  But that's making this computer even slower, of course.  I really need to get some kind of portable storage so that I can remove them from the hard drive...

July 26th 2009

Well, before I get into the depressing main story for the 26th, let's have something a little lighter.  I bought Janyse's new single; a remix of her song, "This Day Is Mine".  It's a great song which I'd recommend to anyone, with its beautifully written uplifting lyrics and dance beat which is guaranteed to get your foot tapping.  "This Day Is Mine" was one of my favourite tunes from "The Magic of Think" album, and the remix is even better than the original in my opinion.  Go and check it out now at!  It was rather embarrassing that I'm still having to organise all my online transactions through David's account though, as Janyse was worried she hadn't sent my download since I was using a different name. >.<

We went to Laura Ashley to buy some paint sample pots, and then continued on to Woodberry.  To be honest, I'd totally forgotten about the 'cleaners' having been in there the previous day, and walked into my bedroom - singing as usual - to see what progress David had made with the pony shelves.

Suddenly, I stopped in my tracks.  The window looked...different.  "Ah, it's been cleaned, hasn't it?" I remembered, "So why does it look so smeary?"  And, my goodness, it was filthy!  I can guarantee right now that you've never seen so many smears on a freshly-cleaned window in your life!  So WE would have to clean the windows ourselves after we moved in, despite paying for cleaners.  That was enough in itself.  But it was even worst than that.  As I stood photographing my shelves from the other side of the room, I noticed big white lines all across my window - SCRATCHES.  There are no less than NINE large scratches on my window alone...and there are far too many small scratches to even begin to count.  God only knows what they used to clean the windows - it looks like they used a rag full of sharp pieces of grit!

I was almost in tears as I looked at the other windows.  They have badly scratched SEVEN WINDOWS, and the place is dirtier than it was when they started.  It's impossible to photograph the scratched glass, but this is an example of a 'clean' wall in David's bedroom.
It looks worse in real life - basically they've splashed filthy water up all of the walls, including those that have been wallpapered.  David kept making excuses for them (presumably because A) He's a wimp and doesn't like "causing trouble" by complaining, and B) He feels bad that he didn't notice any of this happening when he was specifically over there to supervise them.

He changed his tune when we noticed that they'd scratched his shower though...  Then we saw how they'd chipped a chunk out of the window frame downstairs as well as cracking it and scuffing the frame all around the area.  Again, hard to photograph, but believe me, it looks horrid.
Not to mention they've cracked EVERY ONE OF THE STAIRS by not bothering to carry their hoover and instead bouncing it up the stairs.  They've also taken a big chunk out of one of the few remaining original floorboards outside my bedroom that way. >.<
Why, oh why, wouldn't David give them the sack before our property got even further damaged?  Okay, I know he thought he wouldn't get his money back if he fired them, but why did he continue to overpay them anyways, when I was constantly telling him to check the figures?!

Even David agreed that we had to e-mail Williams and complain this time, so we compiled this message that night...

Your labourers, who clearly were not qualified cleaners, have badly  scratched several of  our brand new windows.  What on earth were they using?

Worse than that, the ground floor front room window frame has been cracked

These windows will have to be replaced

Also, the plastic coating to the side of the shower cubicle has been damaged

And they have managed to splash dirty water across the main red wall in the loft front bedroom

Also several stair treads have been cracked, aswell as the floorboards in the first floor back bedroom

All of this needs to be sorted out without FURTHER delay

David Alder

(All right, Mum typed it - David would never have dared to write 'FURTHER' in capital letters like that!)  Would Williams even bother to reply this time?

July 27th 2009

Williams responded at 8am the following morning.

You are obviously not happy so that makes two of us. It is with regret that I will not be replacing the windows or finishing the painting as my painter is to busy with other customers who have made their mind up with what they want. I have never walked away from a job in 20 years but things have got increacingly more difficult and I have been adviced by many to walked away sooner.
Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device

So yes, basically he's walked off on the job just like Sickton now.  To be honest, I'm pleased to finally be shot of him as David was never going to fire him and nothing was going to be done while he was still in charge, BUT how can he leave us like this, having taken more money than the entire job should have cost AND left us with terrible scratched windows etc.?  He is also witholding the certificates we need to complete the works.  We had to think of a good response.  In the meantime, David phoned the Polish builders who agreed to meet him on Tuesday.

We got an independent electrician into Woodberry to move the light on the landing, which had been put in a really ridiculous spot that didn't light either set of stairs and cast dreary shadows everywhere.  He was a really nice Eastern European man, who did the job quickly and with no fuss or problems whatsoever.  I had to pay him with cash since David didn't have any (he's since re-imbursed me though), which was a bit of a palava since my purse was at the bottom of my bag and I was put on the spot, but I'm still pleased with the result.  I only wish David had got rid of Williams before so that we could have got more competent people to do all the work!

We went to Toymaster in Ruislip, which I noticed had re-opened when we drove past it on our way to the carpet shops a couple of days previously.  A few years ago, I found all kinds of 80s toys in there - Keypers, Care some MLP badges - but now it's just an ordinary modern toy shop.  No alien ponies either.  I really want to get a new style Pinkie Pie just so that I can say my G3 collection is complete as far as the most recently released stuff goes!

Then back to the carpet shops, where we ordered the carpets for the three loft rooms (my parents' bedrooms and the shower room, that is).

Finally battled to the back of the back room and reached my two crates of old toys under the desk.  I sorted out a lot of stuff to sell, including some old Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles figurines.  I don't think they have any real value, but I'd rather try to sell them to a good home than just throw them away.

I was disappointed not to find my old Bucky O'Hare action figure (I went through a period of rescuing boys toys from the jumble when I was two or three, as you may have guessed by now!), as I can't imagine where else he may be hiding.  I hope he didn't get thrown away, as I used to love that hare.  He's one toy I would like to keep for sentimental reasons, especially now that I've been watching the TV series for voice acting reasons.

And finally, I won a competition on the MLP Arena!  SpottedSlug just completed a set and was having us all guess which set it was, and I guessed Mommy Charms which was the correct answer!  So I've won a Sluggie Mystery Box with three ponies (one from each generation).  I love surprises, so I'm really looking forward to the arrival of this parcel.  In the unlikely event that you're reading this, thanks for organising that little game for us all, Spotted!  It was great fun and so kind of you to offer a prize to the winner.

July 28th 2009

A terribly depressing day.  Williams had obviously booked a building inspector to sign off the works before walking off on the job (without telling us), as she turned up un-announced.  Luckily, David was there talking to the Polish builders and caught her.  Unluckily, she didn't pass Woodberry.

There are many, many things wrong with the building, which all need to be re-done.  The most notable being that, despite taking away the original doors that we wanted to keep and replacing them with 'fire doors', the new door stops are not wide enough.  So now we need to get a carpenter in to sort that problem out and re-paint the doors...  Fantastic, eh?  Especially with my cream carpet being delivered on Friday.  So, of course, my carpet had to be postponed.  Hence, I am still in Grottsville now, in case you had not already guessed by the simple fact I must have a computer at hand to be able to type this blog.  Meanwhile, everything is being eaten by carpet beetles and my allergies are getting worse and worse.  What happened to "what goes around comes around" - isn't it about time Sickton and Williams learned about karma?  But no.  Bad things only happen to the good people in this world.

I was browsing e-Bay, hoping to find a great deal on a pony lot so that I could make a bit of money and maybe add to my herd at the same time.  No such luck - I'm pretty sure there are no bargains to be had on e-Bay any more.  There are too many pony vultures watching with their beady eyes!

Anyways, I was very bad and placed a bid on impulse.  It's been a while since I treated myself to a G1, and I was depressed, but I still feel weird about it.  Anyhow, I won this girl for £3.21.
Yes, she's scruffy.  But I'm hoping she'll look a lot better after a trip to the hair salon.  I think she has a little scuff to her symbol too, but I don't care.  I've wanted her for a very long time, and she'll make a great friend for my Italian Moonstone.  She's coming from Ireland, so I don't know how long it'll take her to get here.  Hopefully not long now though...

We wrote to Williams in the evening to let him know about the inspector as well as in response to his rude e-mail.

The building inspector arrived this afternoon.  It is a good job I happened to be there as you had not told me she was coming today.

1) She requires a copy of the FD20 certificate confirming the doors have been treated for fire resistance

2)  She failed the building on the following points

a)  The fire stopper/door stopper bar for each door is too small, although she tells me you managed to get this correct at *CENSORED - name of nearby street*.   This is a particular problem, because as I told you, we are finally having the first carpet laid on Friday

b)  She requires the GRP to the extension roof to be properly sealed at the upstand by number *CENSORED - neighbour's house number*

c)  She wants a shoe installed on the bottom of the rainwater downpipe above the extension roof to take the rainwater away from the rear wall of the house

d)   She wants to be present for a pressure test on the drain

e)   She is going to check whether or not the glass installed in the skylights to the extension is suitable for use in that position

In passing, she was horrified by the scratches your workmen have inflicted on the windows, and the damage to the window frame, and like us wondered what your men had been using.

We would point out that apart from decoration, there are still many making good works to be done both in and outside the building, which are your responsibility

David Alder

He didn't respond that night, and I'm leaving off at the end of July 28th, since Mum is falling asleep now and needs me to clear out of her floor-bed.  I think that gives you an idea of just about everything that happened during those four days.

I hope you will be able to tune in tomorrow for his fabulous response which arrived the next day!  Believe me, it's worth reading.  Our lives are going down the drain, but there's no reason that you guys, as onlookers, shouldn't get some pleasure out of it all.  I'm really starting to think I was born into a comedy, would someone kindly tell me how to get out of here and join a musical?  They're much more fun!

Yours in silliness,
Desirée Skylark xxx

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