Is Spring a good time to paint garden fences? Well yes, it can be. You just have to make sure the temperature’s not too low, or the relative humidity too high. Don’t paint in temperatures less than 5 degrees C and the closer you can get to 10 degrees the better; Also ensure there’s no rain due within at least 12 hours of painting a fence in Spring. Pick a sunny day before plants have come on too much…if you leave it till high summer, they’ll have grown making access to fence panels harder. What are the benefits of painting a fence? The main one is to prolong it’s life. Painting fences every 3 years will ensure they’re kept in tip top condition; Application of a half decent fence paint will help to replace oils lost through sun and wind and prevent warping & twisting. You can help to avoid expensive & premature replacement too, by keeping your eyes open….small areas of damage may only come to light while you’re painting…a stitch in time saves nine.
Older readers may recall days gone by when anything wood in the garden was treated to a hefty dose of creosote annually. That was before its carcinogenic properties became known. Its use was reviewed by the HSE in 2003 and they permitted its continued sale to professional users in agriculture and industry only, until 2021; typically where long life preservative of wood to protect it from weather and wood devouring insects was required, farm fence posts, sleepers, electric poles for example. Creosote is a complex mixture of chemicals and coal tar derivatives, hence its distinctive smell. Creocote is a spirit-oil based substitute for cresosote and has similar presertavive properties so if it’s HEAVY DUTY you’re after and/or you’re concerned about insect infestation, give it a look. And don’t worry…if you’re addicted to the whiff of the original coal tar product, Creocote smells just the same 🙂
For most DIY’ers and gardening professionals though, there’s a raft of fence painting products out there. A 5 litre tub will typically cover 6 full fence panels. High end treatments which are oil/solvent based, penetrate deeply, and contain biocides to prevent mould/algae and decay, & also protect against UV damage retail at around £19-20. Most people go for water based products which can be brushed on or sprayed, are showerproof within the hour & protect wood for about 2 years. Cost per 5litre? About seven quid. You’ll need a fence painting brush too; two are better, one around 6 inches and one at 4, so you can stipple the paint in between the laths. Don’t go too mad though otherwise you’ll cause dripping through to the opposite side, which begs the question: Can I paint my side of a neighbour’s fence?
Only the owner of the fence can make changes to it. Legally speaking, you must ask your neighbour if it’s alright to paint or stain YOUR SIDE of THEIR FENCE. You should also refrain from growing shrubs up it or do anything that may cause damage. There’s nothing worse than a neighbour painting a fence poorly and allowing a different colour stain to bleed through. If this happens, there’s a strong likelihood you’ll either fall out, have to re-paint their side of the fence to make amends, or both. So be wary.
We checked one of the UK trade sites for costs relating to painting a fence in 2021 using ‘professionals’ (haha). The average cost of staining a garden fence in the UK they say is £400. PHEW! But obviously it depends on size and condition. Digging deeper we found a table of prices covering different sizes of panel. 8 panels 2m x 2m they reckon the average labour cost for a ‘contractor’ is around £150 for a days work. To be fair, fence painting and staining IS time consuming and a certain amount of care has to be taken to protect shrubs, hard surfaces, bulbs & plants. As already mentioned, it’s no good just slapping it on. Your neighbour’s trendy grey panels don’t want to be disfigured by careless application of your Golden Brown! Talking of contractors….do you really need to look for one? In modern Britain we’ve become accustomed to a culture where even the smallest task is bigged up to be something a whole lot more than it really is, accompanied by a sheaf of H&S requirements, product data sheets, risk assessments etc etc. Truth is, when it comes to fence painting, any conscientious handyman, handyperson what-have-you should be able to do a good job for rates lower than those we’ve seen on the ‘trade’ portals. Look for ‘some-one to do odd jobs’ on potless.co.uk and you’ll be surprised at how reasonable some of them are. The five and a half panel fence paint job featured below (first 3 pictures) was carried out by a potless helper in the North East for just £31. The other job shown in Cuprinol Rustic Brown comprised 3 sides, a gate and a garden shed, done by another potless.co.uk odd job man for £170 over 3 days (+ materials). So shop around for handypeople, look at reviews, and use your own judgment. Spring’s just around the corner, and it looks like we’re set for several months more ‘house arrest’. Maintaining your garden and keeping it looking nice is always well worth the effort, especially when you’re going to be sitting out in it for extended periods of time. Click this link to learn more about the most popular fence painting products for 2021. Finally, when you buy your materials, please consider supporting your local ironmonger or homecare type shops, DON’T use Amazon! If you’re wanting help ‘finding fence painting services near me’ , or ‘fence painters in my area’ or you’re looking for help with any other garden project anywhere in the UK, post the details on our platform today!
Why do tradesmen not get back to you? Why is it hard to find tradespeople in the first place? Do you really need a tradesperson at all? If it’s a small project, might you be better narrowing your search & looking for some-one to do odd jobs, capable handymen for example.
People are also wondering if Covid19 has anything to do with difficulty finding reliable tradespeople. Can tradespeople work during Lockdown 2021? The short answer to that one is YES. UK Government says tasks ranging from cleaning to home improvements & construction can continue to be carried out, provided consumers & tradespeople stick to social distancing and Covid19 safe guidelines.
People wonder ‘what is wrong with tradespeople?’ Especially when they’ve asked them to quote, in some cases shortlisting them as favourites, yet never hear from them again. Its not a new phenomena. potless.co.uk’s MD worked in the home improvement industry for decades, and remembers back in the 90s being swamped with work. Complaining about it even! It was a time of BOOM, with mega projects like Canary Wharf attracting large numbers of tradespeople on sky high day rates and lax supervision. Some even managed to work in two places at once, ghost workers, drawing two lots of pay. It helped justify the influx of cheap Eastern European labour a few years later.
But what has that got to do with NOW I hear you ask? Now’s not BOOM! Well, it depends on what side of the fence you find yourself on. We’ve heard a lot about ‘In It Together’ lately, with soundbites like ‘We will not let you get left behind’. [Sunak March 2020]. But fact is, the gap between rich and poor keeps widening; and Covid19 has exacerbated the trend. High and Middle Income households as well as retirees have in the main fared well financially, this past 12 months. They’ve saved record amounts by reducing or eliminating costs completely on travel, socializing, holidays etc. Households savings ratio hit a record 27% in June last year and its stayed up there since. What that means is for every £100 income, £27 is being saved….but only in the top 40% of households. Some of these savings have been spent on works carried out by tradespeople, fewer in number now there’s tighter controls on free movement within Europe. Previous blog posts have highlighted people in my own area spending money like there’s no tomorrow this past 9 months. Life’s been GOOD for tradespeople, with no shortage of work. This means they can, and do, cherry-pick. I read this lately from the wife of a tradesman hitting back at people complaining about ‘tradespeople not getting back to you’. She says…
“my husband is a tradesman and to be honest, a £300 job isn’t usually worth his while…it’s a small, one off job which he might squash in if he has time, which he often doesn’t’.
To be fair, a lot of tradespeople are good at their trade, but hopeless as business people. That ‘little £300 job’ turned out to be an easy fix which took a more savvy tradesperson just 3 hours, with barely any material cost. Two like that back to back equals good profitable business! Some of these people haven’t learnt the lesson ‘Turnover’s vanity, profit is sanity’, busy fools some of them.
Sunak is counting on consumer spending booming as Covid19 restrictions ease. He thinks taxes raised from it will help pay for his £400 billion & rising Government debt mountain. Time will tell, but if the boom materializes, expect it to be EVEN HARDER to find GOOD RELIABLE TRADESMEN. Are you beginning to see the value of potless.co.uk when it comes to help with home services? One in four UK adults (14.2 million) have been left financially vulnerable as the fallout from Covid-19 drives more people into debt (Financial Conduct Authority figures). A whopping 24 million show some characteristics of financial vulnerability. £20 is a lifesaver to some of these unfortunate souls, let alone £300. To give one recent example, a 66 year old woman from Teesside with a disabled son and husband had been asking plumbers to fix a dripping tap for FOUR MONTHS without success. Not one of the tradespeople she contacted got back to her. Posting the job on potless, got the job sorted in less than 48 hours. Do you want to know the best bit? The odd job man who fixed it in less than 30 minutes picked up two other jobs for the same household, making a three figure sum for himself in the process. Sadly, 24 million people out there are just a couple of steps away from destitution while twenty million others have more money than they know what to do with. Isn’t it time you started using potless.co.uk to find good reliable people to do all those little jobs, errands & home services tradespeople aren’t interested in?
January 2nd 2021 and there’s a foot of snow in parts of County Durham in the North East of England. If you’re struggling to clear a path, ask for help on potless.co.uk, we’ve got dozens of willing helpers who’ll clear it for FREE (altruistic volunteers) or for cash (help for hire). It costs nothing to post a job or errand on our platform. Don’t forget too, we have people registered under the Car & Bike category so if your car won’t start because it’s cold and not been used over the festive period, find some-one with a set of jump leads to help. Spread salt & grit on the snow and spread the word about potless.co.uk while you’re at it. We’re 100% British and not just another big American corporation intent on running your life and lifting your data. Stay tuned for regular updates including useful blog posts on everyday home service problems we can help you solve 🙂 🙂 #snow #NorthEast
It’s been just over a month since my last blog on here; truth is there’s not been a whole lot that’s caught my eye & worthy of comment & I’m not one for writing mindless drivel. Today is New Years Day & my mind’s racing as I contemplate 2021, not least since spotting a couple of tweets on Twitter earlier, the first from Telford Tory MP Lucy Allan about lockdown, the second from home furniture giant IKEA promoting sustainability.
Now one doesn’t naturally associate the Tory Party with much compassion but it’s wrong to tar them all with the same brush. Recent weeks have seen several of them break ranks over lockdown, calling for a more balanced & reasoned approach to Covid19. ‘Working class Tory’ Esther McVey was another, reflecting the views of increasing numbers of the general public & talking Common Sense. I spend much of my time street campaigning, and have done for close on four decades. One thing I’ve noticed this past few months is rising levels of inequality. Telford Tory MP Lucy Allan’s lockdown tweet is right on the money. She’s right. Large numbers of public sector workers as well as those contracted to them including ‘key workers’ are relatively unaffected financially by Covid19 restrictions. At the same time, millions of others are facing bankruptcy, job loss & severe hardship…through no fault of their own. Yet there’s little empathy. Self employed people and small company directors in particular are being vilified, portrayed as tax dodgers…yet 3 million of them have seen no state help at all no thanks to Chancer of The Exchequer Rishi Sunak. I’ve been self employed all my working life, and am well used to ‘non business-people’ sneering at our status. My own parents rubbished business, as do most of my partner’s side of the family (all of whom work for the state), and you may remember PM Johnson a couple of years back saying ‘F*ck Business’. These people have little understanding of trading or making one’s own way in the world as an independent worker or budding entrepreneur. There have been numerous posts on social media accusing small limited company directors of choosing that status to avoid paying tax & NI. Some have applauded Sunak saying ‘he recognizes this & that’s why he’s excluded them’. But did you know to give but one example, that if you choose to trade online, bankers will often REQUIRE limited company status just in order for them to process payments? There are mountains of red tape surrounding self employment, agency work, freelancing, specialist & seasonal industries and large numbers are struggling right now.
So, if you’re reading this & still doing OK during Covid19 lockdown, spare a thought for the less fortunate. What can YOU do to #helpothers & sustain peoples livelihoods? I’ve chosen the word ‘sustain’ carefully. Why? Because furniture store giant IKEA is pushing the sustainability message this New Year’s Day with the ‘Fortune Favours the Frugal’ advertisement (a slogan that fits well with our ideology at potless) under the social media hashtag #WonderfulEveryday. Looking at IKEA’s Twitter feed I’m wondering if management now wished they hadn’t. Two tweets I love are…
‘HAPPY NEW YEAR, I spent the night building furniture with Eli, I’ve seen hell and it comes in the form of ikea flat boxes’ (from @EliseLaurenne)
TIP: click this link to find out more about flat pack furniture help! The other comment I like is from @CukeLowdell who tweets….
‘ Are you joking me? IKEA and ‘frugal’ should not be in the same sentence. Waste waste waste, consumerism, materialistic, built to last 5 min bullshit…..buy local quality goods, better yet Preloved second hand goods #WonderfulEveryday’.
By posting jobs and errands on our 100% British online marketplace, you can help make our site #WonderfulEveryday for anyone seeking assistance ‘with the little things in life’ as well as for those registered to do the work, either as paid service providers or altruistic volunteers. Look out for a potless.co.uk ‘WE NEED PEOPLE LIKE YOU’ postcard (pictured above) coming your way soon. SAVE it, you never know when it might come in handy! Say NO to the big American corporations intent on running your life & harvesting your data for profit. Support our platform while #helping others. Thanks guys.
Happy New Year!
Small change. What do we mean by that? Dictionary.com offers two definitions…
- coins of small denomination
- someone or something insignificant or trifling
Both definitions are quite apt for our site. I was talking to a potless.co.uk service provider the other day and he told me some people call a £20 note an ‘adult pound’. In other words, it’s the grown up version of what a kid would think of as ‘useful’ cash when they’re in receipt of a humble pound. Older readers may cast their mind back 30 odd years and recall TV dramas like Minder & The Sweeney…do you remember the cockney slang? £20 back then was a Score, £25 a Pony, £100 a ton, £500 was a Monkey. Best stop there I think, before I upset half of Hartlepool 🙂 Anyway, you’ll know potless’s Raison D’etre is to help people SAVE MONEY and EARN MONEY. The site was set up to GET HELP 3 ways, either help for free, help for hire or to barter. If you were only posting a small task or errand we offered two options: Jobs for FREE or Jobs < £10. We’ve now made a small change, and raised the ‘little jobs’ limit to £30. Confused? We sincerely hope NOT. To clarify….
Customers can now GET HELP with their ‘To Do’ list by posting the errand or home services job under the following categories:
- FREE (if they’re low on funds and looking for a volunteer or altruistic person to help them with their task)
- UP TO £30 (if its a relatively small task you’re posting & you’re happy to pay up to £30 to a local tasker, handyman or tradesperson)
- £30+ (if it’s a Bigger Job. There’s no upper limit. The drop down menu gives you an opportunity to insert the approx value you put on the job)
Got that guys? Good. Remember too, that if you don’t have a smart phone or computer, or you’re not very good at tech, then you can always phone or email us with your ‘to do’ list and we’ll post the job for you manually. 07902-897609 is the number you need or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The second definition of ‘small change’ namely ‘someone or something insignificant or trifling’ is the other reason we started the site, and its what sets it apart from others. One of our major competitors started with similar ‘good intentions’ in 2008, yet now, after a decade or more struggling to monetize the concept of ‘errands’ and ‘little jobs’ they, like so many others (YAWN) have gone down the ‘trusted trades’ route, a road ‘paved with gold’ (for them, not the users). It’s the same old story….GREED. I got my hand wrapped by a potential advertiser a few weeks ago; he criticized my original site meta which posed the question ‘will 2020 be the year of reckoning for those consumed by greed?’ The way things are looking right now the answer is most definitely Yes for some; while others have been nimble on their feet and carved out lucrative opportunities on the back of Covid. Some call it a Scamdemic. Check out THIS LINK to see what I mean about greed, opportunity and scams.
Until next time, take care, and remember…you DON’T HAVE TO STRUGGLE to get things done. A customer in Stockton-On-Tees this week posted she wanted help getting Christmas decorations down from her loft. A job many people would think laughably easy…..but not the case when you suffer from reduced mobility, with a son whos sick and a husband who’d been hurt in an accident. The potless.co.uk service provider who offered HELP with the Christmas decorations landed on his feet. Do you remember my previous blogpost about the streets being awash with money, with tradespeople ‘never had it so good’ on the back of Jolly Mr Sunak’s handouts? Apparently ‘local tradesmen’ weren’t interested in helping our customer & couldn’t be bothered quoting to fix a leaking tap or fit an additional power socket. She’d given up on asking them.
So what’s the moral of my story? ‘Showing willing’ and helping an older person with Christmas decorations opened the door for a potless.co.uk service provider. He made light work of the other two jobs while he was there…leaving her with a smile on her face, and him better off to the tune of a £100 (fee + materials). We call in win-win. Who’s next?
Answer: With Difficulty apparently. Friday 13th November saw Tesco delivery customers react with FURY as the firm’s online delivery website suffered a ‘technical issue’. (Tesco spin for being unable to cope with the huge surge in demand for online delivery)
Some Tesco Delivery customers complained about waiting two hours or more to try and book Christmas grocery delivery slots, only to have the site shut them out. Guys, its just the second week in November!! It looks like millions of people are going to struggle BIG TIME to get their grocery shopping via online delivery this Christmas, or even now in the run up to the festive period. Lockdown and Covid Fear is keeping shoppers away from stores, and putting huge pressures on the big 4’s online shopping systems. Of course there are many grocery shopping customers who don’t use online delivery, including people who aren’t online (yes they do exist), those who can’t afford it, and those who organise their time better who want to see what they’re buying. I’m not being cruel with that last statement…I simply don’t see the point in spending 30 minutes to an hour fiddling with an online order, when I could whip round a store early of a morning and have it DONE & DUSTED without the hassle, but that’s just me. Currently, there are many people whose main reason for choosing tesco delivery is they don’t want to be close to another human being. AT ALL. We’re hearing about people frightened to even open their windows. My local #redwall Tory MP Dehenna Davidson told me she surveyed people across the Bishop Auckland constituency & found 55% approved of Lockdown2. I’ve also seen reports that 70% or thereabouts of people nationally, support the control measures….in my view, the 55% which led her to vote FOR the measures were misinformed…since new information about the accuracy of figures has come to light, but HEY!…that’s a whole different story. We’re here to talk about online grocery deliveries!
Tesco Delivery costs. If you want two or more deliveries a month, you can sign up for their Delivery Saver option. They charge around £7.99/month c£48/6 months and that entitles you to free Deliveries and free Click & Collect as often as you want, BUT…your order needs to be £40PLUS. So, if you’re like my other half and you SHOP AROUND and use Lidl & Home Bargains as well, then your Tesco shop is unlikely to be £40+. (at least for us…a 2 person over 60’s household). We also have to remember there’s a good many people who shop day to day since 16 million jobs are reckoned to be ‘precarious’ due to Covid, 3 million self employed & Ltd company people have been #excluded from help altogether since March & 14 million were already living in poverty [Social Metric Commission figures] before Covid 🙁
One off Tesco deliveries cost more. All the big 4 have dramatically increased capacity to offer home delivery for grocery shopping; Tesco delivery slots number around 1.2 million a week, as online grocery shopping sales have jumped from 7% of overall sales to 13%. No surprise there then, but little comfort for some-one ragged and demoralized by the state of affairs we all find ourselves in…some-one who’s maybe HAD IT with online delivery website hassle. Every cloud has a silver lining. potless.co.uk was dreamed up with this very scenario in mind! Our online marketplace is gaining ground, at a snail’s pace…but that’s only to be expected; we’re operating on a shoestring without the benefit of tens of millions of £££s in venture capital. Progress in late Summer was up and down; now things have settled, with a steady increase in help providers. We’re building a small army of willing helpers. There was an article in the Guardian this week titled ‘Lockdown is breeding resentment. The right can see that – does the left?’ It chimes well with the ‘About Us’ page on potless.co.uk…written 12 months ago. Julian Coman writes:
The biggest victims of lockdowns and curfews have been blue collar workers, the self employed and those whose livelihoods depend on servicing the better heeled’…..’If you have to leave your home to do your job, you are probably in trouble. If you are securely ensconced in the better paid knowledge economy, and able to retreat to the virtual world of Zoom, you’re probably still in business.’….Covid has widened the already yawning divide between the better off graduates and the non college educated. Regional inequalities have deepened’ blah blah….
One of the saddest things in this pandemic is the lack of empathy with the less fortunate. Government ministers and the ‘better heeled’ as they call them, if they’re not directly affected, they don’t care. We have them in our own family, as well as neighbours. Their reaction to the plight of pubs and ‘hospitality’? ‘We don’t use’em, who cares, fed up with hearing about them’. Maybe they don’t, UNTIL. Until the day they’re on the way to their umpteenth vacation…and they’re thirsty. Often, these people have no idea or feeling for other’s who routinely struggle; twenty quid to some of those folk is a lifeline. People sometimes ask me what ‘potless’ means. I reply ‘Well if you need to ask, you’ve never been there!’ So, if you’re moaning about Tesco delivery slots and hassles booking a slot, spare a thought for the less fortunate. Two million people earned less than the statutory minimum wage while on furlough. [ONS figure] We’re busy recruiting them on potless; invariably they’re resilient souls who still manage a smile. Some of them have signed up for Delivery & Collection, and Shopping. Some of them will shop for you, SAMEDAY, NEXT DAY, ANYTIME OF DAY. Many of them are DBS checked. So if you’re struggling with supermarket online deliveries, why not arrange grocery shopping through potless.co.uk? Post your requirements for FREE. Don’t be a slave to the greedy giants! The little guy is more than capable of ‘delivering the goods’, you just gotta find ’em…..Click GET HELP now and complete the form, it takes no more than 3-4 minutes! Spread the word and help make our 100% British online marketplace a success! Until next time be good & #StaySafe!
And finally, flat roofs. This is a subject in itself, and warranting many pages….YAWN. Suffice to say, people conveniently forget …flat roofs of the felt/asphalt kind are only ever TEMPORARY ROOFS with a 20
odd year life span. So if you’re living in a house built in 1970 (when these kinda roofs were de-rigueur) and you’re still on the original membrane you’ve done well so count your lucky stars! By rights it should have been replaced, probably twice. Early felts were mostly ‘rag based’ and prone to rot. To make matters worse, chipboard was used as decking. If any moisture gets through to the chipboard it starts to spread and blow. Add a clumsy window cleaner to the equation and sooner or later it’s going to fail BIG TIME. He could quite literally step on the roof one day to reach bedroom windows, and end up falling through onto the kitchen table. I’ve seen it happen. Don’t forget, it never rains but it pours, and a good reason I don’t like window cleaners…DON’T EVER let them climb on your roof, even if it’s tiled. They will cause damage (unseen & potentially costly). If you can’t clean your own windows from inside, then employ cleaners who use water fed pole equipment…they never do as good a job as traditional window cleaners, however, risk of collateral damage is low. If you’ve a roof starting to give problems and you’re unfortunately potless just now, don’t despair. If you can locate the spot where it’s leaking, (NB: be careful on fragile roofs and use a crawler board or sheet of ply to spread your load) you can effect a temporary repair by covering it with a patch. Torch on felt is good and better than cold patching solutions. You’ll need a calm dry day, a warm air gun or even a hair drier to carefully dry the surrounding area (including beneath the leak as far in as you can get without aggravating the damage, and NEVER use a flame). You also want a roll or roll end of torch-on felt, a stanley knife, and a blow torch. Buy ‘green mineral torch on’ or ‘cap sheet torch on’. Once you’ve dried the surrounding area, and meticulously removed all foreign objects, roll the felt out, apply the flame to the back of the felt, heat it, paying particular attention to one edge. Stick the edge down about a couple of feet from the area of damage, then slowly roll the remainder of the piece down and over the area of damage, heating it with the torch as you go, until you’ve got the whole piece down flat.
Ensure all the edges are sealed well to the old membrane. Job done, but please, don’t get over-excited. Chances are, you’ll leave it like that until it leaks again, but this should only be regarded as a quick fix. Get saving, and get quotes in for a full replacement. If you’re selling your house, camouflage the patch by covering it with stones…a bit naughty I know, but ‘what the eye doesn’t see the heart doesn’t grieve over’ does it? Besides, a good surveyor will provide written warning at survey of an old roof deemed necessary to replace. The stones on a flat roof by the way are there for two reasons. With green mineral felt, the ‘stones’ are incorporated as it were, in the membrane, so chippings aren’t strictly necessary. Plain felts they are. The stones shield the felt from harmful sun. They also hold a little rainwater in between the stones during dry spells, which helps to keep the felt cool and avoid excessive heat from sun which can cause blistering. Got it? Good. potless.co.uk isn’t just another ‘trades’ site here to take your money….we’re a site with a soul and a conscience. We’re here to help you in numerous ways, so Stay Tuned. You can SAVE MONEY by asking for help or EARN MONEY as a helper #NowHiring #Stillhiring, please subscribe and spread the word to other potential users! Thanks for reading.
Today, September 22nd marks the Autumn Equinox, but what is it? The simple answer is the time when day and night are of equal length and when the sun’s exactly above the equator. A more complex definition is it’s the instant of time when the plane of the Earth’s equator (extended indefinitely in all directions) passes through the geometric centre of the sun’s disk. This occurs twice a year, March & September, Spring & Autumn equinox respectively. The word ‘equinox’ is derived from the Latin aeqinoctium meaning ‘equal’ (aequus) ‘night’ (noctis). There’s a spiritual side to the Autumn equinox too…traditionally it’s time to celebrate the harvest, and when the summer has finished giving its fruits, which are collected in preparation for winter. In today’s wired world its all too easy to forget these ‘simple things’. Outside my bedroom window there’s a rowan tree, which get’s laden with berries in late Summer. Right now at the time of the Autumn Equinox it’s about 2/3 stripped as blackbirds, robins and starlings devour the fruit, building up their body fat to survive the winter. Most people these days wake to a cacophony of notifications, most of them trivial, nevertheless they take precedent over nature and/or simpler pleasures, demanding to be attended to; the average Briton spends 3 hours 23 minutes looking at their phones daily (Screen Time Statistics, how do you compare). I often pass comment to my other half about addiction to ‘devices’ especially by the young as she checks her Facebook 🙁 I prefer to watch the birds as I sip the first coffee of the day. And it get’s worse….when they do rise, many folk switch on the TV for a dose of Breakfast Propaganda/Spin…setting the mood for the day. Each to his own of course. What millionaires have told me over the years is never far from my thoughts…why do you seldom see advertising for luxury cars on TV (think Maserati, Rolls, Bentley, Ferrari, even Jaguar to a degree)? Because ‘the kind of people who drive them don’t have time to watch telly’, and nor do I. Life’s too short. If you’ve read my last blog, you’ll have learned that interest in potless took a dip in August; now it’s gaining strength again, flowing like the high tides we’re accustomed to at the time of an equinox. ‘Time & tide waiteth for no man’ …an idiom attributed to Geoffrey Chaucer in the 15th Century & at the forefront of my mind as a driven individual and former Merchant Seaman. Blogging is interesting for many reasons, not least because when one researches a subject it uncovers more….and I see Shakespeare went one better writing ‘There is a tide in the affairs of men, which taken at the flood, leads on to fortune.’ Food for thought.
So, with the country in turmoil, what might be worth thinking about this Autumn Equinox as we face several months more of uncertainty? I thought it might be fun to look at some of potless.co.uk categories, so here goes….
Confused? So are we at potless HQ in Darlington. WTF’s going on? 🤔 Over 40 years of street campaigning with leafleting teams, door canvassers, direct salespeople and mobile media I’ve NEVER witnessed such frenetic activity as right now on streets up and down Britain. I remember doing quite well in the 80s, a decade which saw growth peaking at 5%; then too there was a boom in consumer spending & the housing market which all ended in tears as the 1990s began with a severe downturn after the bubble burst. What followed was the deepest recession since the Second World War which took nearly 3 years to recover from. On May 20, 1997 then chancellor Gordon Brown famously said “The British economy of the future must be built not on the shifting sands of boom and bust, but on the bedrock of prudent and wise economic management for the long term’. I don’t know about you, but I’m scratching my head just now and seem to be a voice in the wilderness, surrounded by folk who are sitting at home and spend spend spending like there’s no tomorrow. You as a reader of my blog (thanks for that) don’t know me, but friends and relatives will tell you I have an uncanny knack of correctly predicting the way things will work out. I suppose a good education, an apprenticeship which took me around the world, and four decades of living on my wits has got something to do with it, but I have to say right now, I’m confused. What about you? While working with promotion teams in the North East, the Midlands & North London over the past few weeks I’ve spoken to countless tradespeople, all snowed under with work. Many times we’ve had to step around guys with clipboards busy quoting potential customers for work. Sunak’s being hailed a hero for the furlough scheme, help for the self employed, and lately his Eat Out To Help Out scheme. Estate agents are excitedly jumping up and down boasting of ‘unprecedented demand’ and ‘highest house prices ever’. ‘Unprecedented’ is a word I’m getting tired and deeply suspicious of. One of the few advantages of getting older is you can look back on a lifetime….in years gone by I would have discounted my thoughts as irrelevant and way off the mark; I’m no academic & as we all know there’s a substantial wadge of Britain these days that writes off anyone without a degree. It starts at age 4 with kids ‘graduating’ from infant school with ceremonies where they’re all wearing mortar boards; ‘just a bit of fun’ one of my teacher relatives calls it…but to me it’s planting a seed…you’re SECOND CLASS if you shun ‘studies’ and prefer to work with your hands. I discussed with her my thoughts, mentioning in passing a guy who’d dropped out of school deemed a failure, who started a plumbing business, which attracted Lord Sugar’s attention and a £250,000 investment. Her reply? ‘You can do plumbing at university you know!’ and ‘we hate Sugar, would like to punch him in the face’. Modern Britain for you. But I digress! I’ll share with you what’s going on within 100 yards of my own home, which from what I’ve seen this past few weeks is fairly typical of the country as a whole. It’s on a lower middle class estate in County Durham; home-owners range from first time buyers to retired, professionals, white van man and trades. Next door bought a hot tub and installed new decking…they haven’t pushed the boat out too much to be fair. On the other side of us, they’ve had the front yard ripped up, re-landscaped it and splashed out on a 30 ft motor home (a self employed couple, neither one appears to have worked much since March). Behind and opposite are a couple of detached houses….both have replaced all their windows with premium alternatives; one of them has also added a summerhouse. Meanwhile 4 doors away, they’re building an extension which looks set to increase floor space by half. All that ‘discretionary’ SPEND has been within a hundred yards of our home I kid you not, over 12 weeks. I’d conservatively estimate the total to be around £90 -100k! Hard times?
Mondays to Wednesdays during August saw 100 million meals served in Sunak’s scheme…apparently restaurateurs have until the end of September to put in claims, so there are bigger numbers forecast. Now maybe I’m misinformed, but 100 million times a tenner equals a thousand million aka a billion. Isn’t that way over what he forecast? Like he predicted a million on furlough, which ended up 9? He’s billed as ‘the man of the moment’, a super hero & our saviour. We shall see. He’s certainly no friend of the #excluded self employed #forgottenLtd brigade; reports this week suggest he’s planning to hit them hard with taxes post Covid…talk about kicking a man when he’s down 🙁 So, what about the housing market? Am I completely STUPID in thinking that the record rise in house prices and sales is more to do with pent up demand post lockdown rather than #FeelGood factor? Again, am I completely stupid not trusting ANY estate agent half as far as I could blow him? Perhaps I should rephrase that. 800,000 new universal claimants, 238,000 people leaving self employment last month, millions of furloughed people being downgraded by financial institutions meaning they face difficulties getting a mortgage…is none of that going to blight the property boom???? Pubs and restaurants, snowed under in August with Eat Out To Help Out, are now empty again Monday – Wednesday, and struggling Thursdays & Fridays, just like the office blocks no-body wants to go back to because the WFH brigade have got their wish, aided and abetted by bruised employers. Again call me STUPID, but can’t these people see the obvious? If some-one’s sold their 1 bed flat in Wembley and moved to a 5 bed detached in the North East for the same money because they can work from home (WFH) isn’t there a good chance same employers will think….‘Hmmmmm…I can get this work done remotely in India, and pay just $8 an hour for it, bye bye WFHomer!’ Facebook ‘have no plans’ to ask their workforce to return to the office (no surprise there) and Royal Bank Of Scotland are happy with 45,000 staff working from home. I’m wondering what spin commercial estate agents in the capital will give us as office blocks become surplus to requirements and begin to decay. The same ‘supply and demand’ model they’re crowing about now with regard to residential sales should point to a CRASH in the office market. Time will tell. One things for sure, public sector workers will remain relatively unaffected in these troubled times. Their numbers will grow guaranteed, in real terms and as a % due to rising numbers of unemployed in the private sector. I’m wondering, has anyone ever attempted to explain to you the money merry-go-round? I’ll bet they have at some stage. It goes something like this: State Aid like the money Sunak’s been dishing out, benefits the Government since over half of it comes back in the form of taxes & can work out cheaper than long term benefit payments. The UK is a consumer driven service economy, gone are the days we make very much. Could it be that the spend spend spend bonanza is indeed keeping the country afloat, while industries like hospitality, airlines, travel etc are left hung out to dry and considered ‘collateral’ damage? Again, time will tell. One things for sure. Rishi has to keep the merry go round turning, which is easier said than done. If it all goes tits up (likely in my view & the views of scores of ‘ordinary folk’ I’ve been talking to on the street) with a reputed £250 million in the bank and a billionaire as a father in law, what does he care? After all, you can never trust a politician can you? Or an estate agent God bless them. Until next time, enjoy the closing days of Summer, and I’ll leave you with this little gem from Gordon on ‘Boom & Bust’.
PS: Unlike similar ‘help’ and ‘trade’ websites, we at potless are 100% transparent. We’re not afraid to ‘say what we think’ and tell you ‘how we’re doing’. After a promising start, growth has stalled. We’re being laughed at by tradespeople for daring to suggest things are likely to end badly. Britain is famous for thinking ‘short term’. Short termism has blighted political decisions for the last hundred years and is a big reason for our country’s enduring STRUGGLE. Are we deterred? NO. We stand by our predictions and our business model. We think people are living under an illusion, failing to grasp the enormity of the ‘situation’ and consumed by fear. Please support us in any way you can; we’re here for the long haul, and don’t have the benefit of tens of millions of £££s in venture capital or Big Business behind us (unlike our competitor). Anyone can SAVE MONEY or EARN MONEY from using our platform. If there’s ANYTHING you need doing in any of the 20+ categories listed, post the task on potless.co.uk. If you want to help others, Get Involved and either Help for Hire, or volunteer & Help for Free. Thank you.
PS (2) Tell me, am I alone in thinking all the new notes in circulation right now are due to Rishi printing ’em as fast as he can in collusion with the Bank of England? Enlighten me. (You are still using cash, right? 🙁 ) #quantative easing
So, the hospitality industry has been singled out to receive help to the tune of an estimated £500 million quid with Rishi Sunak’s ‘Eat Out To Help Out’ scheme, launched this week, and set to run through August. The idea is to help kick start the economy while saving up to 1.3 million jobs in catering. It’s gone down a storm this week but not everyone’s happy. The scheme’s flawed and open to abuse…another initiative rushed through ‘on the hoof’ without proper consultation; I read somewhere that it was made public before it had been signed off by Jim Harra, boss of HMRC, who’d raised questions. It’ll be interesting to see if this is yet another gross miscalculation on Sunak’s part. Restaurants and pubs have been heaving all week, with some like the Westleigh Inn near Bideford in North Devon pulling out of the scheme, unable to cope. (Am I alone in thinking Why Bother Going To The South West At All? A few weeks ago council chiefs were telling us all to Stay Away, now businesses themselves are complaining about ‘over tourism’, is there any pleasing these people? We suggest you Stay Local). The logic of it all defies comprehension. While High Streets the length & breadth of Britain are overflowing with revellers sat cheek by jowl, qualified beauticians & similar trades have been forbidden to work, with just 24 hours notice of a two week postponement for re-opening due to a ‘spike’ in new Covid cases. Locally, a Health Chief lectured us over risks of ignoring social distancing rules, pointing to a ‘spike’ this week in the Hartlepool area of wait for it………………FOUR cases. Anyway, if you’re one of the millions who have saved £30 – £40 on a meal for a family this week, FAIRPLAY TO YOU. We managed to get out ourselves; fitting in with a daughter who’s been mega busy herself, working extra hours at a local hotel overseeing an influx of diners.
Sunak’s £10 Eat Out To Help Out deal meant 50% off the bill for many patrons. People love a bargain and the crowded scenes this week are testament to that, however the offer ends at the end of the month. Some say it’s more Smoke & Mirrors from a Government on the ropes desperate to get the economy going again. Check out this amusing article in the Guardian this week..which highlights other burning issues too, well worth a read. Our mission at potless.co.uk is to help people with ‘the little things in life’….little jobs, tasks, errands etc that people want done but don’t think anybody’s interested in doing; OR, they don’t know where to look to find people to help them. While out on the street campaigning for potless, the team have spoken to large numbers of people, many down on their luck, struggling with job loss, furlough, uncertainty, and lack of money. Sunak’s 50% off scheme is all very well for people who can afford to go out in the first place, however, there are millions not so fortunate. We’ve spoken to folk wanting doors fitting, gates and fences repaired, gardens cleared, rubbish collected, cars fixed, holes in walls repaired, cheap flat pack furniture assembled, help with local house moves, people wanting stuff picked up who can’t afford the time to wait for service at places like Screwfix …..all manner of jobs & services wanted by people seeking help at reasonable rates or even for FREE.
But here’s the thing….’trades’ sites are advertising on Gumtree for new service providers to sign up and earn anything from £10 to £44+ an hour; Some of these platforms are collecting huge fees from members…we had a painter who’d paid £12+ to a big American site just to view our contact details; we’d posted decorating work before potless was launched. In essence, by using potless.co.uk to find help with little jobs, home services, errands, bigger jobs (there’s no upper limit on jobs you can post or bid for) you can SAVE 50% or more every day by cutting out greedy middlemen, (many jobs are FREE to post, & when fees are charged they’re mostly no more than 99p) shunning big US corporations and using local people perfectly capable of performing your tasks but who don’t want to make it their everyday living. Eat Out To Help Out has a nice ‘ring’ to it; it kinda rolls off the tongue. I would imagine Her Majesty’s Government will have paid PR consultants a small fortune to come up with the slogan. We’ve invented one of our own. We’re calling it ‘Give Work To The Out Of Work’. Join it all up and stick a # in front of it and let’s start promoting it, so people can find help with all manner of things for about 50% less than anywhere else. Simon Henig leader of Durham County Council said this week that ‘it is ‘vital’ ministers funnel cash to the areas most in need’ in response to research that suggests 58.55 per cent of jobs in County Durham are considered vulnerable, making it the fifth worst affected county area. potless.co.uk foresaw this way back in February, but it seems the penny’s just dropping in the halls of Government & County Halls. The past few days have seen several reports of ‘growing alarm’ about the extent of job losses, so do your bit. Support our ‘Give Work To The Out Of Work’ hashtag. We Want People Like You so if you’ve got something you need doing, post the job, task or errand on our platform and SAVE MONEY while HELPING OTHERS, Help for Hire, Help for FREE, Barter. Until next time, I’m Jeremy Potter MD at potless.co.uk, Enjoy your weekend, and lets all work for a brighter future…..
PS: Missed out this week? Support Local Business and Eat Out To Help Out next week at a hostelry somewhere near YOU! Book it NOW.