Conned 2 - part 3
The men who were going to install my thermodynamic machine had to come from Essex, which is
the headquarters of the company, and the home of most of the workers. This was a big problem, in that they were busy trying to sell their product in the North of England, and Scotland, and this meant that either the workers had to do lots of jobs in the area, and stay overnight for much of a week, or else spend hours in travelling. They were considering having a sub office in the southwest, and another in Scotland. They did have some workers in the northeast, and my friend Harry from the northwest. But these blokes, who I shall call Tom and Jerry, were from the southeast.
I had been told they were on their way and might arrive anytime mid afternoon. One of the
side-effects of all this house renovation, was that it meant I had to put much of my usual activities on hold – so that I could be home ready for when the workers came – and it was very seldom that they
came on time.
So on this occasion, I had cancelled my bridge, which meant getting somebody else to be in charge and letting down my partner. But in the end, I could have gone, because Tom didn't come until after 4, and he said he couldn't work alone, so he sat by himself in his truck in my driveway for 3 hours until Jerry arrived. They talked a bit about things, and decided that it was too late to do anything that night, so they would find a hotel, and come back early the next morning. They also had discovered that between them they were missing quite a few of the requisite bits. So Tom had to drive to Sheffield before he could fix the solar panel on the roof.
Next morning, neither came before 11, and then the order of the day was for Jerry to help Tom with the installation of the solar panel, which was very heavy, and needed both there. Then they manhandled the water tank up the stairs and onto the landing. It was huge – much bigger than I had anticipated. The half landing that was being used is about 2 and a half feet wide and 5 feet long. The base of the tank took 2 feet, so getting past it to work on the main body of the machine, was a real squeeze. Tom, then done, drove off to his next job, no doubt to sit around for another several hours until somebody was free to join him.
Jerry was the plumber. The first thing he decided was that he didn't want to have the pipes going across the bedroom floor as Harry had told me. So all my furniture moving and carpet lifting was for nothing.
Instead he would go under the hall floor into my shower room, and join up with the main water
pipes there. Jerry was young, no more than 25, and probably much less. He seemed nervous about everything, so I wondered how experienced he was at doing this project.
About lunchtime, the doorbell rang, and it was another man – the electrician who I shall call Fred. Fred's job was to wire in the box which controlled all the timings for the machine. Fred is not a slim man. In fact, I think he probably weighs over 300 lbs. So getting past the tank, and even into
the work space was a huge challenge for him. In fact he did quite a lot of his work hanging over the railing, and although he got the job done quickly, it was a miracle that he managed it at all.
I have to admit that by this stage of the proceedings, I was already very disillusioned with my investment. The pretty landing with the curved wooden staircase and railings now looked like an industrial site. They kept telling each other that they were doing a neat job - but they were assuming that I was going to build a cupboard around the collection of machines to hide them away. But there was no space for a wall. The side railing would have to be taken out and that space used as the wall – and because of the size and location of the tank, there was no place to put a door on the end. And even if we managed a door, it would mean the light switch for the hallway would be hidden behind it.
So now Jerry was on his own. He took breaks – over an hour on several occasions. I wondered
if he was coming back after one very long break – as he wasn't finding the job easy. But I just had to let him get on, and so I had my supper and was watching TV when he suddenly rushed into the room.
“The shower exploded,” he screamed at me.
So I rushed up the stairs after him, to see the water squirting out all over the room.
“I didn't do anything,” he said, quite in a panic.
“The stop tap is in the front hall cupboard,” I directed, so he went and turned it off.
“What happens now?” I asked.
“I've never had this happen before,” he said, still in a panic.
“Can you fix it?”
“You need a plumber.”
“Nobody is going to come around tonight. But you are a plumber. Can't you fix it?”
“It's not my job,” he said. “Something was wrong with your shower and nobody told me there was a problem and it wasn't my fault.”
“I've used that shower almost everyday since I moved into this house,” I said. “I wonder if it was the high pressure that had something to do with it. Normally it's quite a weak flow of water.”
“Well, I'll see if I can mend it, but if not, I'll just have to go away until you get somebody to deal with it.”
So he got back to work and I went back to my TV watching.
Jerry did fix it. It was a loose screw and when he tightened it up, it seemed to be able to cope with the pressure okay. And then he got on and finished off the job. Not without more incident. He cut his hand quite badly on his saw when he was cutting the pipes. We managed to stop the bleeding but he refused to have me bandage or even wash it for him, and didn't think it needed seeing to at the A and E department. But because of his injury, and the late time, past 11 before he finally left, I didn't feel too critical about the mess he left behind. There were holes - one in the outside wall – and bits of mess from his various cutting projects – nails and such left behind.
“Somebody will come and fill in the holes and tidy up,” said Jerry.
So all that was left was to turn it on. It worked, but it made the most awful noise. Granted the turning on noise although very unpleasant didn't last long - maybe five seconds. The continual noise from the main machine was similar to a fridge so a loud hum, but not unbearable. He told me that it would take probably all night for the water to heat up to the required 55 degrees, so that I would have that hum all night long, but I didn't think I would have a problem with that.
So Jerry left, and I was the less than proud owner of a thermydynamic heating system. “But finally, it is over,” I thought. “I won't need to have anything more to do with these people now. I can get on and have my heating and hot water, and save money and life can finally get back to normal.”
Little did I know that it would be five more months before things got back to anything near normal.