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.
We’re sticklers for detail here at potless.co.uk & always striving for PURRfection[sic]. So we’re a little embarrassed about our latest leaflet. OK, we were hustled to a degree by our printer, and we didn’t ACTUALLY SIGN A PROOF off, so the guy (quite understandably) took our payment in full as a NOD to set the plate and start the press. A couple of hours after payment we noticed a mistake (see highlight on image) : the word ‘Altruist’ missed a ‘t’ making it alruist. By the time we messaged the guy it was too late; the job was committed to print. Now here’s the thing. potless.co.uk boss had proof-read the card three or four times over and found numerous misspellings & omissions. Instead of reading the whole document and marking the errors, then listing them in a message to the print people, he mentioned them two or three at a time in a series of emails and telephone conversations. Proofreading isn’t as easy as it sounds. The brain’s very good at skimming over stuff and telling us what we expect to see, & not what’s actually there; potless MD eventually spotted the error by doing what he should have done in the first place…proofreading each individual word for word, in isolation to its neighbours, reading left to right and right to left, and taking care not to miss a single letter. That’s how he spotted ‘alruist’.
Something else you have to bear in mind, is that even printers will sometimes come across words they’re not familiar with, but they’ll often not take much notice….their brain is being told to make a plate from the letters in front of them. ‘Altruist’ is a word some people haven’t heard and it’s possible the guy didn’t even think to question ‘alruist’. We were tempted to stop the Press and take a hit with extra expense for re-printing, but that’s something we can ill afford, so we let it go. Lesson well and truly learned though, even after 40+ years of designing leaflets & ads!!! We’re changing the text for next time. It did give me the idea for this blogpost however, hence the reason I’m sharing it with you. And in case you’re wondering why we go with litho & plates as opposed to digital, it’s better quality and its the right price.
There’s an Administration category on potless.co.uk. If you like that kind of work, you might consider adding ‘proofreading’ to your portfolio of admin services. £20+ an hour with a 1 hour minimum is what many ‘pro’s charge, so there’s room there to make some fairly easy extra cash if you’re that way inclined. While we’re on the subject, copy-writing is something else which is currently in demand, especially as many businesses intensify their online marketing effort and need extra web pages & unique product summaries. Many business owners simply copy and paste manufacturers descriptions. The problem with that is, hundreds of others do the same. So, if you want to differentiate your offering from the crowd, write your own product information and be sure to make it Google Friendly. Time is the enemy of most business proprietors, especially online retailers, so employing a freelancer to write exclusive copy for YOUR products makes perfect sense. Just be sure to proof-read their script properly before shelling out their fee. Until next time, enjoy the hot weather and please remember to post some of those little jobs you never get round to doing, here, on potless.co.uk! 🙂
PS: Did you spot the deliberate mistake somewhere in this blog post? 😂 HINT: Be VERY thorough with your search & consider ALL of a blog post’s components! Practise your proofreading skills! Tell us where it is by emailing email@example.com. We’ll draw one winner and give ’em thirty quid’s worth of upgrade here on potless.co.uk. Deal?
That’s a good question. Type ‘find odd job man near me’ into the blessed Google and you’re served with two main options: big national ‘trades’ platforms like ‘R*ted People’ ‘My Build*r’, ‘B*rk’ and a host of others, OR local handymen.
Let’s look at the first option…the trade platforms. They’re money making machines for their owners, charging a small fortune to trades people who invariably bid amongst unknown numbers of others; its not uncommon for a worker to pay between £12 and £22+ to these sharks just to get access to a potential customer’s contact details. You’ve got to watch the reviews too. I myself got stung by a local painter & decorator, who without a word of a lie, trashed our furniture and ruined the walls in our living room, stairs and landing through incompetence & failing to follow manufacturer’s instructions. We’d trusted him with the keys to our home while we were away for a week on business in Scotland. BIG MISTAKE. But you live and learn. My partner was swayed by his reviews; I told her to take no notice of them because at the end of the day it’s YOUR JOB that matters most, not other people’s. Furthermore its common knowledge that many so called respected ‘trade associations’ may only look at between 1 and 3 jobs done by a prospective member, before permitting registration, and the option of all kinds of fancy trade association stickers on their vans/stationary/website etc. Mind, I accept blame too…for being taken in by the ‘no mark’s’ patter when he initially visited to quote. To cut a long story, CheckaWhatever refused to publish our negative review, and wouldn’t come out to see the damage, despite their head Office being only 25 miles away in Newcastle. Why? Because their kind depend on Member’s Subscriptions for their very survival. They put tradespeople first; Said cowboy had been trading for 16 years & had paid them tens of thousands of £££s over that time in bid fees and subs. The moral of the story is NEVER to hand over keys to tradesmen while you’re away, and NEVER to rely solely on reviews or ‘trade sites’. It’s why some of these big players sponsor football. Football reigns supreme in many folk’s minds. Attach a trade site to it and by implication, the members are ‘kindred spirits’ & the first places most folk will go to when they want something done. Its the way the World works I’m afraid, though things ARE changing.
But I’m getting ahead of myself here. Ask yourself…‘Do I really need ‘TRADES’ at all?’ The answer is: Probably not.
As for the second option…handymen…browse their ads and they’re almost always showcasing building related skills. They’re not likely to be very interested in picking up your shopping or jump starting your car. When people think of odd jobs, very often they really mean ‘errands’ or tasks totally unrelated to mainstream trades. The word ‘errand’ is old fashioned and not used much these days. It’s one of the problems we’ve got promoting potless.co.uk….just what do we call our niche? Another crowd use the word ‘taskers’ but that’s very American, and a word not in common use over here. Interestingly, that particular platform started out pushing the word ‘errand’ but dropped it after a couple of years…it just didn’t cut it with the public, and now they seem to be morphing into ‘just another trade site’. That’s NOT what we’re going to do with potless. Our priority is not greed and exploitation of vulnerable trades-people and customers; we’re first and foremost about HELPING PEOPLE, whichever side of the fence they find themselves…help providers or seekers. Even the word ‘HELP’ has negative connotations….people think we’re something to do with mental health or debt; getting the right message across is work in progress for us; which means we’re spending a lot of time on the street promoting our NEW platform. The streets are our comfort zone. potless.co.uk management have a lifetime of promoting businesses at street level behind them using leaflets, door canvassing, mobile media, radio, business to business, business to consumer and political campaigning. And when you’re out and about you talk to all manner of people. It’s a buzz, especially in the North. It also opens one’s eyes to all kinds of little jobs people need doing, indeed want done, but don’t know where to go or don’t think anybody would be interested in turning out for. That’s what potless.co.uk is about. Helping people with ‘the little things in life’. Covid-19 has changed the world as we knew it; the worst in terms of company closures and redundancies are yet to come. As we learn or should I say re-learn to ‘mend and make-do’, to SAVE, to reduce our spend in order to ‘get by’, to shun the ‘throwaway culture’ & to cut waste, let us share with you a selection of ‘little things’ we notice on our travels & things people talk to us about. Check out the images below for ideas, hover over the pics to show captions
So, How do you find local people for odd jobs? Answer: Click ‘Get Help’ on potless.co.uk! You’ll find willing local Help for Hire, Free Help and Barter Opportunities. What’s not to LOVE? Post your little job, errand or task on our platform today, & let’s get it sorted. It’s early days, and we don’t have many members, YET. We do however, have a consistent trickle of new helpers and customers. Our job is to turn that trickle into a stream, a tributary, a river, an estuary, an ocean, so please SUPPORT OUR PLATFORM. Thanks folks! 🙂
Most potless.co.uk susbscribers will be familiar with the proverb ‘it never rains but it pours’ meaning misfortunes or difficult situations tend to follow each other in rapid succession or to arrive all at the same time. I’m going to introduce you to Mike. I met Mike while out promoting potless on a housing estate in County Durham recently. Hands blackened and with a sweat on his brow he inquired about what I was up to so I briefly explained the ‘potless’ mission…to help people SAVE & EARN MONEY while managing scant resources. He seemed genuinely interested, prompting me to stop for a moment & learn a bit about HIM. In his mid fifties, he’d taken the plunge late last year and gone self employed as a ‘trainer’ doing courses for lorry drivers. It seemed a good idea at the time…but Covid changed all that. To cut a long story, the poor guy hadn’t earned a bean since March due to lockdown. Furthermore, classed as ‘newly self employed’ Mike discovered he was one of the million+ #excluded from Sunak’s billion pound benefits package. Living off savings, Mike had suffered more than his fair share of grief over the past fortnight apparently. His car was found to be needing unexpected repairs costing hundreds of pounds & a burst shower pipe in his ‘en-suite’ had caused water to cascade through a ceiling, flooding the living room below. NOW, he was up to his eyes (and ears) in grime….he told me his electric oven had packed up, hence my reference to the proverb. BUT, he was still smiling! I think that’s what drew me to the North 20 years ago. Real People.
Mike’s car had needed a new coil spring, a job well outside his ‘comfort zone’ and best left to a mechanic. The flood he’d mopped up and dried out; he’d a mate who was a plumber and together they’d got to the root of the problem, a faulty connection. Mike told me he was a practical kind of guy, and saved money whenever he could. As a ‘trainer’ I suppose it was his nature to FIND OUT ABOUT STUFF and so it was with the oven repair. His wife had panicked when the dinner didn’t cook and her first instinct was to call an appliance repair company. It was probably a good job it was ‘out of hours’ and no-one answered the phone, because if they had, she might have parted with around £125. That’s what repaircare specialists quoted for a ‘single fault’ Hotpoint electric oven repair fix. Relaying this information to her husband, Mike got to work. Checking the model’s serial number he logged on to You Tube to learn more about oven repair.
You’ll find your model’s serial number on a small sticker attached to the side of the frame around the door. If not, you may have to draw the unit out and look on the back, but take your time, because the sticker’s usually somewhere easily accessible and there will be no need to move the unit. If your electric oven stops heating, there will usually have been some signs beforehand of trouble, but you might not have taken much notice. Incremental in nature, they may have been small clues which escaped your notice…things like food taking longer to cook, the temperature setting needing to be higher than normal to get stuff cooked properly etc etc.
If an electric oven won’t heat it’s usually because of a faulty heating element or thermostat. An electric oven commonly has two heating elements, one for the grill and one for the oven. On fan assisted ovens, the element is usually behind the fan cover at the back of the oven. A fan oven not heating up is one of the most common problems oven repair specialists attend to. But you can fix it yourself for between £10 and £25! Here’s how.
When your oven stops working, the fault will probably trip the RCD in your consumer unit…that’s the box with all your fuses and switches. If it has tripped, reset it, and see if everything on the oven comes back on like the clock, the light, the fan etc. If they’re all working but there’s no heat it’s most likely the element at fault. One of the best things about the internet is that you can rest assured that some-one else will have had EXACTLY THE SAME PROBLEM AS YOU. You are unlikely to be UNIQUE, sorry! There’s a good chance YOUR APPLIANCE will be highlighted somewhere online, and some-one will have made a video on YOUR Oven Repair solution. So do your homework BEFORE reaching for a screwdriver.
Once you’re confident you know what you’re doing, SWITCH the oven OFF in the kitchen, AND at the mains Consumer Unit. If you’re not confident or you’ve got doubts, post the task on potless and get HELP for HIRE or even HELP for FREE. Alternatively you could resort to calling a ‘professional’ oven repair technician. On a fan oven, remove the cover plate at the back of the oven. The screws might be stiff and semi-seized so spray lightly with WD40, leave and return later with as bigger screwdriver as you can find for strong leverage. You should find the screws loosen easily. You’ll need a torch, because the oven’s light will be disabled. Use the torch on your PHONE which you can rest on the grill element to shine downward. You’ll find access easier too if you REMOVE the oven door. Most flip down doors can easily be taken off by raising two small catches on the hinges, then lifting the door clear and laying it to one side. If you’re not 100% sure about how to do it, then You Tube that too.
Once the element is exposed, EXAMINE it in situ, take photos of it and it’s connections with your PHONE. Sometimes you’ll see obvious damage like burning and corrosion/breakage; other times it may be more subtle, with the elements showing signs of ‘bulging’. Don’t worry if you see neither. Once you’ve had a good look at the element, it’s time to find a replacement part. We suggest you AVOID AMAZON. Support the INDEPENDENT TRADERS advertising ONLINE here in the UK. There are a good many worthy of your custom. Mike found his part listed on eSpares.co.uk who’ve served over 4 million customers in the UK and have over 200,000 reviews. Their site double checks the part you order is the right one for your appliance based on it’s serial number.
Before sealing the deal with your oven element repair part, check round your oven to see if it would benefit from any other new fittings like replacement knobs, seals, racks etc. Including any such items with your element order will save on additional delivery charges, and you can get your oven back into as near new condition as possible. Once the part(s) have arrived, carefully remove the old element. It’s attached to three wires that go through a hole to the back of the oven. Remove the cover, and carefully draw the wires through the hole to expose the connectors. Photograph them before removal so you get it right when you re-connect the new part. Think you can skip that step? Our advice is you don’t, because it’s easy to get distracted at the point of removal and you may forget what went where. Don’t be rough when removing the wires. Be patient and gentle. They’ve been there for years, so go steady and use your fingers if possible and avoid heavy pliers; you don’t want to be damaging the connectors. If by any chance you can’t get the connectors through the hole, you may have to draw the whole unit out from the carcass and go in from the back. Most times though that won’t be necessary 🙂
Once you’ve got the old element out, check it visually with the new one still in it’s clear bag; don’t rip it open; if it’s the wrong part, you can ship it back without damage to the packaging. Its easy to see if it’s like for like, if so, you’re good to go 🙂 Unpack the part, connect it up and screw it in place. Briefly restore the power to the oven and check to see if you’ve heat. Yes, you’ve solved the problem. No, then it’s likely the thermostat’s the culprit (another easy fix). If it’s not one it’s usually going to be the other. If it’s back working, switch the power off again, replace the fan cover plate and the door.
Having to change an element is a good time to clean your oven too. WD40 on stubborn screws will leave an unpleasant smell once you’re back cooking if you don’t clean it off. I worked in the cleaning industry for years and always found oven cleaning a problem. Chemicals sold for the job are often harsh and nasty; just recently though, we’ve stumbled on Tesco’s own brand BBQ Cleaner, and it works wonders; try it for yourself. Always always always REMEMBER to isolate your electric oven from POWER when doing a deep clean. Water, spray and electricity DON’T MIX, got that? Good.
When you’ve restored your appliance to clean condition, it’s time to turn the power back ON again. Be sure to re-set the oven clock/timer after you’ve cleaned and/or replaced an electric oven element, otherwise it will not work.
The cost of the element Mike fitted to get his oven back working again? £25.98 including NEXT DAY DELIVERY meaning Mike and his Mrs saved £99.02 on the price quoted by repaircare specialists. Fairplay to them. It’s worth noting too that eSpares delivered their element on time with NO COVID-19 excuses, and do you wanna know the best bit? They even included a snazzy e-spares pen with the order for the element, now how’s that for SERVICE!
POSTSCRIPT: If your electric oven won’t heat up but you don’t fancy getting your hands dirty, POST THE JOB on potless. There are many handy people out there more than capable of carrying out this fairly easy fix at a fraction of repaircare charges, all you need to do is go find’em! Get Help TODAY 🙂
The potless team were on the street this weekend, not as drinkers or revellers I hasten to add, but out promoting the new ‘Help for Hire’ platform to households & individuals across the North East. It turned out to be a wild couple of days, with strong winds gusting over 30 MPH, causing damage to fences, roofs and trees with several large branches torn off.
What about your GARDEN FENCING? Is it still OK? Or has it been weakened? Buying replacement fencing or fence panels is for most of us a ‘distress purchase’, made out of necessity, rather than for pleasure. It needn’t be that way. If your fence has sustained minor damage over the last couple of days, do yourself a favour and get it fixed FAST before it becomes a MAJOR issue. Money’s likely to be tight this coming winter, and as they say ‘a stitch in time saves nine’.
Big DIY sites like B&Q and Homebase have useful Garden Idea pages including Fencing Repair guides ; another good site is Jacksons, a firm synonymous with quality fencing products. Fencing work is HEAVY WORK, especially if concrete posts are involved, or when you’re digging. You need to make sure that posts are fixed deep enough into the ground to provide a firm anchor for your fencing. On newer housing estates this can be problematic especially on old brownfield sites, for when you dig deep all kinds of rubble and stone can get in your way. Its all down to graft, not just the physical side, but using the right tools for the job. The Sitemate excavator fencer’s graft** is a heavy duty spade specifically designed for digging out post holes. It makes life VERY EASY because there’s no need to bend while using it, and its length and weight do a lot of the work for you; you’ll be down to between 2 to 3 feet in no time, what’s more, it’s narrow width makes a compact hole, ideal for back filling around a replacement post with something like Postcrete…a ready to use blend of selected sand, cement and additives for rapid setting. It’s also a handy tool for planting shrubs & trees, so well worth adding to your garden tool collection.
Fencing is like many things: you buy CHEAP you buy TWICE. That doesn’t mean you need to shell out a SMALL FORTUNE to some fencing contractor who may not do a job much better than you could do yourself….Invest instead in QUALITY PRODUCTS and save money on labour by advertising for a HELPER on potless or check thru our DIRECTORY*; Help for Hire, Help for Free, or Barter, all you need is a strong willing pair of extra hands plus a little knowledge of fencing ‘tricks of the trade’ you can glean from YOU-TUBE beforehand and you’re SORTED.
As we approach #SuperSaturday new figures released by the ONS (Office for National Statistics) indicate Universal Credit claims made by people aged 50 or over have more than doubled, from a figure of 304,000 in March to a staggering 660,000 in May. That’s 6% of all economically active over 50’s and its still rising.
Stuart Lewis from social enterprise site Rest Less sums it up well saying ‘the surge in older [Universal Credit] claimants highlights the extremely precarious financial situation that many of this demographic find themselves in today’, and ‘With eligibility criteria requiring less than £16000 of savings to qualify, this highlights how little of a buffer people have been able to save, despite many having worked hard for more than three decades already’ and lastly ‘the fear is of a lost generation of highly talented older workers forced permanently into a miserable and unaffordable early retirement’
Contrast those words to the seemingly endless stream of online ads, telling us we need at least a million quid in our ‘pension pot’ as they put it, to secure any kind of decent ‘retirement’. Nauseating? You bet. Lewis’s words echo almost precisely the conclusions scribbled on potless HQ’s whiteboard from two years back, when we brainstormed the platform’s ‘raison d’etre’. They’re still there today helping us to stay on track and true to our core beliefs.
Living close to Hartlepool, I regularly pass by Able UK’s Seaton Port (a story in itself) and been fascinated/saddened in equal measure by the scrapping of Shell’s Delta & Bravo oil production platforms, lifted from their iconic Brent field out in the North Sea. A couple of weeks ago Brent Alpha was brought in, pictured above, and below. Allsea’s Pioneering Spirit vessel carried out the single lift removal of the 17000 ton topside structure in a decommissioning operation lasting just just 9 seconds before transporting it piecemeal to the Tees.
There’s good reason for my special interest in these activities. As a 9 year old I marvelled over front page news stories covering the discovery of North Sea Gas off Great Yarmouth in December 1965. There were dramatic pictures of scary looking but strangely exciting American jackup rigs. A couple of years later the first North Sea gas was brought ashore at the Easington Gas Terminal in Yorkshire. I lived in Norfolk back then, and the area was buzzing from the ‘new’ industry, with construction of pipelines criss-crossing the county, laid in strings by giant yellow caterpillar tractors equipped with side cranes. Father & I never saw much eye to eye, and I recall with some amusement his outrage, in common with others at the time, over the £50 weekly wages the welders were paid. Dad as a middle aged professional probably got about 60% of that. Once the network was in place the gas boys primed the mains, & I remember the eerie blue flames rising from purging units in town streets. A seed was set. In my head. Strict parents wouldn’t allow me to set sail on trawlers or go anywhere near an oil rig…..kids were heavily influenced by Dad in those days aided and abetted my Mum, but I got part way with my dreams, enlisting as a Deck Cadet in the Merchant Navy. Yes, we had one in those days. But not for long. The tide was turning against the traditional shipping industry. Ocean going freighters were consigned to history as containerisation took hold, and my company’s fleet cut back from 120 vessels to around 70 over the course of an apprenticeship. The future looked bleak, but as ever, there are winners and losers. North Sea Oil activities were centred then on Dundee, so I took myself off there and got a job on the Kingsnorth UK drilling rig. It was a new semi-submersible, and one of the first Super Rigs designed for deep water, with a dynamic derrick on a massive scale, modern accommodation sat atop 12 legs and weighing in at about 25000 tons.
Quickly rising from roustabout to roughneck, assistant derrick man, and then casing & tubing operator travelling worldwide, the whole oilfield at the time could fairly be described as the very epitome of Pioneering Spirit; like the name of the ship bringing these behemoths in for scrap today. The beaching of Brent Alpha at Hartlepool is especially poignant, because I remember well, our crew helicopter touching down on its helideck a couple of occasions, dropping contractors off en-route to our own exploration rig. Hard to believe now, looking at the mountains of scrap from her sister installations, as she sits forlornly awaiting the wreckers shears.
There are parallels with the news regarding the worrying increase in Universal Credit Claimants in the 50+ age demographic. Before Covid even, this group were struggling. Indeed, it was their plight and others like them that prompted the birth of potless.co.uk. 660,000 good people now on the scrapheap, with little chance of meaningful employment anytime soon. Just today I read a story in the Hartlepool Mail titled ‘Plea to support Hartlepool’s pubs and restaurants – ‘most important industry in the country’ -ahead of July 4 reopening’. Darab Rezai of Hartlepool Licensees’ Association says and I quote “It is very important that we support the industry locally because the hospitality industry is the most important in the country‘. Call me cynical, but if you didn’t roll around the floor laughing over this statement, you’d break down and cry. The sad reality of a once proud nation. Whatever happened to Pioneering Spirit?
Are YOU one of the 660,000 struggling on Universal Credit though no fault of your own? Are YOU one of the #2millionreasonswhy #excluded or #forgottenLtd consigned to the scrapyard? potless was designed with you in mind. Sign up today to help people with ‘the little things in life’, or bigger jobs worth hundreds of pounds. OR, if you’re short of cash but still need things done, post the task on potless & get the work carried out at a keen price by one of our service providers or ‘taskers’. potless.co.uk lends a hand to households & individuals across the UK including Hartlepool. You can SAVE and EARN money from potless. Use it to supplement the hated Universal Credit. There are thousands of people with time on their hands ready to help. Support our NEW platform and help us change things for the BETTER, until next time, I’m Jeremy, potless MD; Enjoy #SuperSaturday and have a nice weekend 🙂
In April, UK jobless soared by nearly 70% with numbers claiming unemployment benefit reaching almost 2.1 million, the biggest monthly increase since like for like records began in 1970. We’re now, June 2020, officially in the deepest recession for THREE CENTURIES. Job vacancies posted by employers looking for new staff have halved. How very different to the outlook before Covid hit. In the first 2.5 months of ’20, we had the lowest unemployment in the UK since the mid 1970’s and numbers of people in work was at an all time high, albeit with average wage packets at 2007 levels (corrected for inflation), following the weak recovery from the banking crisis in 2008.
Further redundancies are expected this week, and coming weeks, as hard pressed employers shed staff because they can’t afford to pay the ‘new’ contribution to furlough; Companies like those in the hospitality sector currently turning over NO MONEY AT ALL are going to have to decide in the next few days whether to let employees go, simply because they’ve run out of money. There’s worse news…accountants & lawyers are being swamped with inquiries from desperate firms wanting to know how they’re supposed to make people redundant and fulfil their obligations surrounding Redundancy Pay…with no money in the bank. Borrowing apparently is the answer….there are special rules which cover the payments. Consequently, said firms will dig themselves deeper into debt and all that will happen is insolvencies will be delayed by a few months more.
What prompted this blog post however, was not the grim news about Job Losses; it was the news about Job Vacancies and the companies that are supposedly #stillhiring. potless team members have partners, loved ones, friends and acquaintances on furlough. As the Government dithers over social distancing rules, many of these furloughed workers are spending every waking moment scouring online job portals for alternative employment. Most of them work in hotels/restaurants/airlines/holiday businesses, and know that even if their workplaces re-open, huge numbers are expected to be laid off, simply due to the Rules making these places unviable. Many establishments may limp on for a while, before dying a slow death, due to mounting debt and pressure from creditors.
We’re getting reports, that a large percentage of the job vacancies being applied for AREN’T BEING PROCESSED. Applicants are observing their online applications ‘UNOPENED’, which begs the question, WTF’s going on? Are they for real, or nothing more than Ghost jobs from Zombie firms?
You’ll probably have noticed there are three kinds of business emerging from this so called ‘crisis’?
1) Businesses that have put their noses to the grindstone, shut out the NOISE, and continued to trade against all odds, not only delivering the goods but with excellent Customer Service as well.
2) Businesses whose management has succumbed to Covid Fear and demands from employees to #StayHome #Staysafe, who aren’t functioning at all, or if they are, blaming Covid for any kind of holdup, mistake, poor response, failure to return goods, doing what they like basically, at YOUR EXPENSE
3) Businesses deliberately using Covid to mask (no pun intended lol) sharp practise, to profiteer, and basically RIP PEOPLE OFF, which has long been something we’re rather good at in Britain.
It seems that the Unopened Job Applications are either from companies who posted them before lockdown and didn’t bother to take them down…or maybe the portals haven’t removed them because they’ve heard nothing from the recruiter. OR, they’re firms in Category 2, who are hiring, but who’s #Stayhome staff ‘can’t be bothered’ or can’t find the time/don’t see the urgency. The #StayHome work model leaves a lot to be desired, and to be fair, it’s been foisted on companies through no fault of their own. It’s maybe ‘work in progress’ to develop systems which do work, but that’s little comfort to hundreds of thousands of job seekers.
potless can’t pretend (at this stage) to answer prayers and offer full time employment to many. However, with your support, we can grow it into a viable platform. Become a Helper and help people with ‘little things in life’ as well as some bigger jobs too. Get paid, or get satisfaction if you choose to volunteer instead. Don’t forget also, if you’re using the platform primarily to look for work & job vacancies, you too may still need things done around the home. You’ll probably have less money to pay for them, so use the platform to Post A Job for others to do and make it a Win-Win. Every cloud has a silver lining. Try and enjoy your day! Thanks guys and good luck with your SEARCH, Help for FREE, Help for Hire, Barter.
PS: If you’re A-OK, riding the storm and without money worries, then we’re truly pleased for you. Perhaps you’re browsing our pages out of an interest to Help Others in these trying times. Might you be interested in helping us here at potless via our GoFundMe campaign? Your contribution however small would be greatly appreciated. Thanks again 🙂
I’ve always been a numbers man; Sales, leads, statistics, mental arithmetic, #2millionreasonswhy, any numbers I see get me thinking. Now I don’t blame you if numbers ‘aren’t your thing’ but if you’re a furloughed worker or some-one attempting to run a business right now, numbers might mean you pause for thought.
A report came came out this week suggesting 16% of people now feel financially better off and 25% have between £200 and £500 more in disposable income each month due to lockdown and furlough. I wonder if (as usual) there’s a North/South divide. One couple I read about, in the ‘leafy suburbs’ with a small child, reckon they’re saving £50 a day on train fares, £200 a month on eating out, and £800 a month on childcare. Add that up and it amounts to £2300. The pair work ‘in insurance’. Another woman featured said she was now saving £120 a month on travel and £150 a week on what she called ‘her lunch habit’. She works in PR of course. Are you reaching for a sick bag? I am. And I expect the #2millionreasonswhy brigade are too….they’re the large number of people left out of The Government’s ‘rescue packages’ despite their assurance ‘We’ll put our arms around every single worker’. Furthermore, I’m predicting another two million ending up on the scrap heap before Halloween. Or more. How so? Well, like they say in the Dacia Ads…..‘You do the math’. Today, there are 8.4 million workers on furlough. If we’re conservative with a small ‘c’, and 10% get made redundant due to reduced demand &/or their companies closing, that adds another 840,000 to the number of unemployed, already standing at about 1.5 million. If it turns out to be a third (more likely) that number will rise to around 4.5 million. If the pubs don’t re-open due to social distancing measures making them unviable, add another half million.
A couple of weeks ago I blogged about the upbeat national housebuilder reporting sales holding up well, and rising prices due to strong demand. Two days ago there was a story from Derbyshire Live concerning Don Amott, smugly boasting about taking a million pounds in deposits on leisure vehicles THIS PAST THREE WEEKS, as well heeled folk turn to domestic holidays. Forgive me for describing these people as ‘well heeled’….but you don’t get much motorhome these days for much less than 40 grand do you? My own neighbour’s doing pretty well out of it all too, proudly revealing a new hot tub….a story in itself. Apparently tubs & spas are like gold dust because the likes of Homebase, The Range & B&Q won’t sell them just now. Why? Because two people are needed to deliver them and they can’t do that & comply with social distancing rules. I’m surprised they haven’t figured out a way to sling them from a pole (with a small ‘p’ 🙂 ) so they can maintain the statutory 6 feet apart. So much for DIY skills. Maybe the reason’s because they can’t send them out together with 2 sitting in the same cab. Who knows. That rule doesn’t seem to apply to the ‘construction industry’ as far as I can see, with builders trucks spotted on numerous occasions with three guys sitting abreast…but never mind. Wheeler dealers have been buying tubs and selling them for double the RRP on Ebay by all accounts…even the chlorine tablets to cleanse the water have rocketed threefold in cost! Our neighbour went on to say he’s expecting to be on furlough for ‘at least another month’ and alluded to almost enjoying the experience. He added he was looking to go on holiday, but ‘sadly, it won’t be abroad’. Now maybe I’m a bit warped, but from where I’m standing, his kind have been on holiday since March!
If you’ve read the ABOUT US page on potless, you’ll know I’m a bit political. One of the few benefits of getting older, is that you can rest assured (from a lifetime of experience) that if YOU think something, there are hundreds of thousands if not millions who think the same. Sadly, in the politically correct virtue signalling world we live in today, few actually feel they can voice their views. As this all unfolds, I’m like a fly on the wall as I watch two of my own close family members in furlough. First it was a novelty to them, then a little boring. Then we got an extension so the can’s been kicked a bit further down the road. August seems a long way off, but hey, it’s no worries because they’re on 80% pay, bankrolled in effect by a GIANT MASTERCARD aka the nanny state. Many furloughed workers still believe their workplaces will re-open come the Autumn, and they can pick up where they left off with one proviso; they wear the blessed MASK! (oh yeah, they get temperature taken before clocking in too). Each week that passes with restrictions still in place, means less and less likelihood of this happening, yet most don’t seem to realise it. They appear (to some of us) almost like lemmings rushing blindly & fearlessly towards DISASTER.
These latest news stories DIDN’T have the same effect on me as the bluster from the national housebuiulder a couple of weeks ago. Back then I wavered for a few hours, thinking maybe I was wrong, and that we might well see the strong V shaped recovery forecast by some. This time round I’m in no doubt. There will be a V shape for sure. It’ll be in the form of two fingers directed at Sunak Johnson- ‘We’ll put our arms around every single worker’-Schapps & Hancock from the #2millionreasonswhy, the self employed & SME’s left hung out to dry in every corner of our country. There are also signs of increasingly bitter divisions between the #StaySafe brigade and the folk who want to get back to work, so I’m expecting friction there too. potless has just been born, & I know I’m in for a long haul turning it into a viable platform and worthy of patronage. We’ve had a good start this week with several new helpers signing up. Again, I’m into numbers. We have to ‘Rinse & Repeat’ over and over to reach the critical mass we need to make the site a success. In all situations however dire there are WINNERS & LOSERS. I’d hazard a bet that WTSHTF around November & the run up to Christmas, many of those now spending money like it’s going out of fashion, may well find themselves turning to our pages….looking for Help4FREE, Help for Hire, Barter & Exchange. Remember folks, potless is FREE to join, & it costs NOTHING to Ask for Help. #StillHiring