Watching the clock

23:14, Nov 07 2012

The clock has started! The clock has started!

If you've been following this blog you'll know I'm talking about the imaginary clock the council uses to time their allowed 20 working days between you lodging a request for a building consent and them informing you of a decision. They can stop the clock at any time by asking you a question. It's like a children's game.

I like to imagine a sort of control room in the Council chapels, the walls completely covered with hundreds of clocks of various and diverse styles and sizes - each one with the name of applicants and supplicants on it. Not much like this:



The cacophony of ticking is accompanied by the patter of footsteps as acolytes scurry in and out stopping and starting the clocks. Pope Len Brown's office has a window that looks into this room from high up and he looks benignly down as consent after consent is granted on time. I'm looking forward to the day when our clock, high in one corner, quietly clicks to '20 days' and the alarm goes off, then the angel in charge of our consent runs in waving a sheaf of happy papers in his hands, and takes down our clock forever.

Our draughtsman Karl (Draughtskarl) on Monday filed answers to the 9 questions the council had asked a week or so before, starting the clock. And it's been ticking ever since. It can't be too long now until either the time runs out or they come back with more questions. I'm assuming the questions have to be real ones, they can't be:

a)     I'm just wondering: how are you?

b)     What's that thing over there?

c)      How woolly is your pocket?

By the way, Draughtskarl has a new email address. If you ever want a guy to draw you a house down to the sort of excruciating detail that you have to be Stephen Hawking to understand, I would recommend him completely. I know he's good because I wouldn't have a clue what he's drawn. We've had an annoying amount of builders, architects, suppliers etc tell us how impressed they are with the drawings. (Not with the house we are building, not telling us they can save us money, just liking the drawings).  And he's reasonable too. We just fed him sardines. I say this now because he's just got a new email address ( Before, he was too embarrassed about his email address (hotmail ah ha ha, I suppose he had an Alcatel phone too and a pair of 'No Fear' boardshorts!) to allow me to tell you about him. So please feel free to bombard him with questions. It would be a great pleasure to me if you would email him with some very silly ones.

Meanwhile our three fine builders are coming to the end of their allotted time to submit a price to us. It's interesting to see the different way they work. Two of them have barraged me with questions. If I wasn't so appreciative of the fact that they are trying their best to nail down exactly how much it will cost them to build our house, these questions would be intensely annoying. The other builder has been fairly quiet. I don't know whether this means they don't care enough or if it's just extreme competence. Either way, at 4pm today we should have prices, schedules and other information for us to interpret. I'm picking we'll just go with the cheapest one. In next week's blogging post I'll reveal all.

Here's another email I got this week:

Hi Manager

Good day !

 This is Jack Gao ,from Qingdao Baosen Steel Co.,Ltd , Glad to hear that you're on the market for the steel sheet/coil.

 We specialize in this field for many years, with the strength of advanced manufacturing technicsalso with good quality and pretty competitive price. For more information, we would like to let you know our company web site:

 Best Regards

Jack Gao


Qingdao Baosen Steel Sheet Co.,ltd 

Add :Haier No.61,Qingdao Shandong China


First of all, there's no way I'm buying steel from anyone with a hotmail address. Secondly 'pretty competitive price' sounds a bit weak. He's definitely not saying if I find a lower price on a stocked item he'll beat it by 15%. It sounds like what Jack means is this is VERY EXPENSIVE SHIT. Thirdly I don't know if I am 'on the market' for steel sheet/coil. I'll have to ask Karl. And fourthly I replied to the Chinese rubber merchant last week and got no response so now I suspect I'm being somehow duped. I don't know how, but I also got a Facebook message from an Asian construction information systems company. I suspect that like the pensioner who wires her savings to Nigeria to help the prince get back his fortune, I'm just about to make the mistake which loses Gemma and I everything we own.

In exciting news I got an email on Wednesday from someone with the unlikely name of "Cameron" who claims to have the New Zealand agency for Woolly Pockets. He emailed me to offer me his Woolly Pocket:

More than happy to supply some freebies to your building project if you can send some of your faithful through to me.

I'm glad to say I'll take all the Woolly Pockets I can get. So go and see his website - not so you can all stock up on Hairy Pouches, but so you can see the hilarious photos on there. My two favourites are:

Clearly somebody's Woolly back entrance there. And this one:

This guy has got so excited about his wall of Woolly that he's gone to get a stool! (There's no way you can have your photo taken up against a wall this Woolly just standing on the ground like a novice) I'd love to see this guy's wedding photos. "Everyone get on your STOOLS!"

Last week I played a cruel trick on you my blogging readership and commentators. I purposely left out the page of the children's book The House that Beebo Built that I have promised to end each blogging post with. I suspected that nobody cared so I thought I'd quietly kill Beebo, but three people left comments asking 'where's Beebo?!' and since three people is more than cares about things like steel sheet/coil and Huntly, I'm reinstating him and I will never leave you Beeboless again.

I'm happy to report that I'm in Southland all week this week. The reason for that is that there is a running of the Tour of Southland bicycle racing race - and where there is a Tour of Southland, that's where you'll find me.

I'm working with a crack team of tv makers at Cue TV, putting together an hour of highlights of the Tour each night. All day we ride around in cars looking at guys riding around on bikes and other guys filming them from motorbikes. Occasionally I'll get out of the car long enough to ask a bicycle cyclist a few questions like "How do you feel" or "now, how do you feel?" then when I'm really inspired I'll do a piece to camera along the lines of "It's exciting here in Lumsden". Then we bring all the tapes to a high-tech television hub in Invercargill and someone else frantically works to put together a programme. Hard work.

If you are interested in guys riding their bikes and trying to go faster than each other you can watch all 126 of them on Cue TV each night. It's 110 on your Sky remote or 23 on Freeview digital. Get involved.

Due to being in the south, this blogging post is a little shorter this week. But I'm hoping that after over a year of anticipation we are finally only weeks away from doing things you could actually call 'building a house'. Digging being the first one. Then I'll be bringing you photos and videos and stories of joy and woe.

I am so excited, I'm off to get my stool.

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