Why I hate Parnell

20:54, Oct 25 2012

Handsome and beautiful readers, it's been another week for us on the long journey toward making the house of our dreams. People are always saying to us "Hey you guys, how is your house going?" I guess that's the obvious thing to ask us now. If we had kids they'd ask "how's little Johnny?" if I had a massive wart they'd say "how's that wart working out for you?" but we've become the "people who are building the house". And I'm glad people care enough to ask.

The trouble is the answer so far is completely boring. I wish I could say something entertaining to my mates while we are riding our bikes. "Great. The crane fell over and the foreman got his nuts crushed. Luckily the plumber was there to patch him up." But at this stage the answer has been the same for about six months: "Slow."

The "clock" at the Blessed Council (How sexy art thou? I'd give you one). has been stopped for 11 working days now while our draughtsman waits for a reply from a supplier of glass balustrades about some detail of construction, so the loving Council (is that a new top, you look fantastic) can be sure it's safe. So while the consent is guaranteed to be evaluated in 20 working days it looks like it will be that long again in stoppages.

Interesting to note that the delay is being caused by the glass. It's just exactly what always happens in Grand Designs! Kevin's voiceover comes on over shots of rain dripping through a building site with empty window frames: "Julie and Alan's dreams of being in by Christmas are dissolving in the rain. And still the glass is nowhere to be seen." We're only waiting for the specs of the glass. Imagine how long we'll wait for the actual glass.

I reckon glass might just be more effort than it's worth. I've half a mind to stick it in the basket of excess difficulty right now and use plastic or Blu Tack or something instead. Glass in the windows is far too traditional for us.


This delay is academic though, because at the same time we are waiting for our builders to get back to us with their pricing. On Wednesday we received a blow in the form of an email from one of our builders who has been offered another job and is now not going to be submitting a price to us.

Hi Jon

Just wanted to drop you a line to let you know that unfortunately I will not be in a position to submit a price for your house.

On Saturday I was given the green light on a house in Parnell which is going tie me up for about 9 months.

I am happy to catch up and discuss some possible cost savings on your house as well as hand over some subcontractor quotes, which you may be able to use as a reference or as a check.

I am sorry to let you down, but could not let this confirmed opportunity go.

When someone says they are going to be tied up for nine months you do somehow suspect they might be pregnant. And come to think of it, he didn't drink any wine when we met him!

We really like this builder too, he is a top-class character who came recommended extremely highly. (I even had an email from his supplier at Placemakers to say how great he was.) We were very interested in seeing what his pricing would be. I cannot tell you how gutted I was to get this email. As if we needed it, this has given us another reason to hate Parnell.

As the question of how evil can exist in a world created by a completely good God has perplexed philosophers throughout the ages, so the question of how Parnell can exist in a city governed by a benevolent and good Council vexes me even more now. GET THEE BEHIND ME PARNELL!

I cheekily suggested to the builder that maybe he should expand his operation and hire another crew that he could oversee. I'm guessing my amateur business advice might not be followed, but it's worth a try.


Meanwhile the other builders are really busy pricing the whole house for us. It's a massive job and I feel sort of guilty - they all have to price the house fully, but only one will get the job. It's probably about a week's work for someone to contact all the subcontractors and materials suppliers, get the plans out to them, get prices back in. Two of the builders in particular have been in constant email contact with us asking for clarifications. Everyone seems to want a "door schedule". (I suggested it was pretty much - doors open when we go through them, the rest of the time, they are closed. But that didn't seem to satisfy them.)

This week we extended the deadline for the builders to respond with their pricing to November 2.


The Woolly Pocket, as mentioned in my blogging post last week, has caught the imagination of New Zealand. People are going bananas over it, growing bananas in it, and just generally worshipping the Pocket of Woolliness. Pretty soon I'm expecting to get a letter asking me to be the Pocket Ambassador to New Zealand. I would be honoured. One reader has even been kind enough to email me these instructions:

Woolly Pocket Installation Instructions

Select colour and size as required

Mount it in a suitable place

Screw firmly

Deposit seed as required

Now "walk away"

Caution: Watch out for dryness.

Advisory: No liability accepted for unwanted growth!

I thought the Woolly Pocket inventors (The Pocket Rocket Scientists) would like to see how we do it Kiwi style, so I posted that on the Woolly Pocket Facebook page and almost immediately got this response:

They are so right. We do know how get Woolly!!


In other news I've written a book. It's a beginner's guide to cycling for New Zealand people. Because writing books and cycling are the two least lucrative activities man has ever invented, I am going to have to use this blog to urge you to buy my book. It is called... well, here's a scan I did of the cover.

The book is officially released today and will be available in all good bookstores, and quite a few fairly average ones as well. There are no pockets, Woolly or otherwise, in this book.


Finally today, sometimes when you are an internationally unknown semi-professional part-time blogster with a following of eight people, you get some strange overtures emailed to you. I'm not above using the massive exposure of this blog to give valuable exposure to brands that I approve of, so it is with pleasure that I hit Ctrl-V on this email I got yesterday.

From: SalesSBR chinachem

Subject: SalesSBR chinachem shared photos with you

Date: 24 October 2012 3:35:31 AM NZDT

To:  Jon Bridges

Hello Sir/Mam:

Happy to contact you !

We would like to introudce our company.Our company is a large scale pertrochemical enterprise with synthetic rubber as the main product. We could supply SBR 1502 and 1712. It is manufactured by SINOPEC YANGZI.

The following is the SBR quotation :

* SBR 1502: USD 2500.00/TON FOB China port

* SBR 1712: USD 2350.00/TON FOB China port

* packing : 35kg ppbag

* quantity: 21ton/20'container

* price validity: within 3 days .

* payment terms : TT in advance or LC at sight .

* delivery time: within 20 days .

Any other question, contact me freely !

best wishes

Adelle Liang

sales manage

rXuzhou Yizhengyuan Chemical Technology Co., Ltdemail:chemade@163.com

I particularly love how Adele has pasted a picture of the bag of rubber so that I can be sure I'm getting involved with some quality rubber. 

I've had a lot of spam in the past, and I've passed up a lot of opportunities to be richer, happier or bigger. But I've never been offered rubber. I checked out the provenance of the email. It comes from the domain 163.com, which looks like this:

I know, gripping reading, but spelling isn't their strong suit, eh? I couldn't find anything about rubber on there, but I was particularly intrigued by this photo.

It appears to be PSY teaching Gangnam Style to Korea's delegate to the United Nations. The video of it is very cute. I love Gangnam Style so much that from now on when someone asks me what style of house we are building, I'm going to say "Woop! Gangnam Style!"

Q: What is the opposite of Gangnam Style?  A: Parnell.

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