Thinking Aloud On a Saturday

Getting a man in.

This occasional Sunday post is a day early this week, because I woke up thinking about that phrase this morning. I remember in my youth when a widow or elderly man would say “I will have to get a man in”. That referred to having to get a job done, or something fixed. Generally, it was because the elderly person could no longer do it, had no idea how to do it in the first place, or didn’t have a relative nearby who could help.

My Dad took pride in never getting a man in to do anything. If he couldn’t do something himself, it wasn’t done. But a change in his job meant that he wasn’t always around, so when we needed new wallpaper in the house, he got a man in. This was done with a sense of achievement, not regret. He now had the income to pay someone to do jobs that he was capable of doing, but didn’t have the time to do them. He could even be boastful about getting a man in, as it meant he no longer had to do repetitive or manual tasks.

When I was old enough to own my own home, I also had a good income. I got a man in to do things I was capable of doing, but didn’t want to have to do after a hard week at work. I got a man in to paint the outside of the house, and someone else to do electrical wiring. When some fencing fell down, I got a man in to fix that too.

Some time later, living alone, I no longer had the luxury of spare cash to pay people. I did my own painting, and turned to friends to help with two-man jobs. The only thing I didn’t attempt was anything to do with electrics, but if a friend couldn’t help, I had an uncle who was an electrician. When he got older and moved away, I finally had to get a man in to sort out electrics.

Then I retired in 2012, and had more time on my hands, though only one third of my previous income. I tackled most things on my own. I painted rooms, cleared gutters, maintained the garden, and cut all the hedges. Very soon, I started to realise that this hard work was getting beyond me, and if it was going to get done, I was going to have to get a man in to do it. It was no longer something to be proud of, and I certainly didn’t have the funds to pay for everything at once.

But I got someone in to do the painting. Then I got someone in to do the electrics, and someone else to fit new carpet. As I wandered around the house watching them work, I had to face the fact that I had arrived at that time in my life where getting a man in was going to be the first option, not the last resort.

Last Friday, I got a man in to give me a quote to cut all the hedges and shrubs. That used to take me close to sixteen hours, over the whole weekend. Then I had to remove all the cuttings, and take them to the recycling centre in two or three trips. The genial garden man looked at the job, and announced it would take him around four hours. He would dispose of the cuttings and branches, taking them away in his pick-up. We agreed on his very fair price, and he will do the job in January.

I am now sitting here wondering what else I might have to get a man in for.
If it comes down to employing someone to type up my blog posts, then I will know it is close to the end.

58 thoughts on “Thinking Aloud On a Saturday

  1. I’ve never been good at DIY things, and some I wouldn’t try, but others I did (and carry on doing, thanks to YouTube you have instructions on how to do about anything these days), but I have no flair for painting, decorating, wall-papering… If it’s just a matter of hard work, I’ll try, but if it’s finesse and skill… count me out! Oh, services offering automated blog post content are many, and there are also the speech recognition softwares, but I actually enjoy typing, so I hope to keep bothering people with my nonsense for a bit longer…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I never was particularly handy, but I generally muddled my way through. I estimate that most jobs probably took twice as long as they should have. I find that my patience for such tasks is no longer there. I don’t want to spend my free time in retirement doing household jobs.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. And so it is with time. We do as much as we can, keeping our independence and abilities in check, yet ever so slowly in time we have to get the man in. It’s just how it is – as long as we can still type our blog posts. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Great blog Pete – Just think of all the extra time you have to blog – 16 extra hours goes a long way and that’s just the hedges! In the end – I would consider it a it a positive transition – why spend your time doing what you’ve done before and have already mastered – let the young ones do the heavy lifting and enjoy!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I actually finally did the equivalent: “Getting a woman in” to clean the house. I never thought I would, it seeming too indulgent, but what a difference. My daughter has commented often how nice the house is. Thankfully she was never critical in the past.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I can just picture you stretched out on a sofa, dictating your blog posts to the man you got in for the job πŸ™‚ Apparently the romantic novelist Barbara Cartland dictated her stories to a secretary who typed them up!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. She did, Mary. I watched a documentary (years ago) about that very thing, as Barbara spoke, and her secretary wrote it all down. If I ever did that, I would need a ‘second chair’, in our small office room.
      Best wishes, Pete. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Heehee. I realized I was old some 8 years ago, at 69 years of age, when I changed a tire on my car. Tires seem to have gotten a lot heavier than those of my youth. The bolts were tighter and the jack to lift the car was much harder to turn!

    πŸ™‚

    My daughter bought me a AAA membership and now if I have a flat I bring in a man to change it.
    Best from Florida.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks, Frank. We pay into a breakdown service, but our cars no longer come with spare tyres. So if we get a puncture, they have to low-load the whole car to a dealer, or bring it home so I can call out a mobile tyre service. It;s a real pain! πŸ™‚
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 3 people

        1. Most cars here come with ‘tyre inflation kits’. You are supposed to squirt some gunk into the tyre, then it seals it as you re-inflate. Try doing that on a dark wet night in Norfolk! And it doesn’t allow for bad tyre damage, so it’s pretty much useless.

          Liked by 2 people

  8. We always get a man in to rake our leaves, to clean our gutters, to do anything that requires climbing on a ladder, trimming the hedges in front of the house, raking the garden at the rear of the house, fixing light fixtures when needed, interior decorating when needed ….. Getting a man in is especially attractive as age advances.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. As we survey the damage the wind has done to our garden gate we are wondering whether we will have to ‘get a man in’. We’ve ordered replacement hinges and clasp, but whether we will actually manage to do the repairs ourselves is another matter!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Part of the satisfaction of getting someone to fix things is that they are then accountable for the quality of the work before they get paid. And I no longer have any fear of my own tragic efforts being open to constant criticism. πŸ™‚
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 2 people

  10. My father’s own variant on that was “get a little man in”, which always had a slightly demeaning edge to my ears; I don’t remember if he ever did, although it’s quite possible that he did, not being the most practical of men. I’ve lived on my own in rented accommodation for nearly 20 years now, but some of the “little man” jobs I’ve done myself and been paid for, so I’m not complaining. Cheers, Jon.

    Liked by 4 people

  11. At the moment Sam gets the ‘man in’ jobs, which he complains about sometimes but always ends up doing. If he’s away and something goes wrong beyond my ability to put right then I call out our eldest son, who is a chip off his father’s block and lives only a few miles away. He then always phones his father to tell him what he’s done. Sam will then inspect our son’s work when he returns home!

    Liked by 4 people

      1. Yes the pair of them are very practical . I never have to ‘call a man in’, as I have 2 on my doorstep. The other son is a bit more other-worldly and doesn’t bother if anything needs fixing, and doesn’t want help. Consequently his house needs a lot of work doing to it, but he doesn’t care.

        Liked by 1 person

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