Monday, 16 July 2007

That ****** Gate Again!

Back in February I wrote that when you build a house for your Thai lady you must factor in the considerable extra cost of a prison-style concrete wall around your acres of garden and of elaborate steel gates of Buckingham Palace proportions. My comments quickly degenerated into a moan about how you probably need to employ a handyman at least part-time to maintain the gates to stop them reverting to the bundle of rusty steel rods, tubes, flowers and little arrows that you first started with.

In the few months since then, numerous twiddly bits have fallen off our gates and where the snotty nosed kids stand on the bottom rail and rattle the bars, several welds have failed. The gates are so heavy they’re sagging somewhere and the steel jockey wheels that run along the concrete of the drive have excavated a bumpy track down to the granite chippings and grind and drag most horribly. The whole thing’s looking thoroughly seedy, the blue paint has faded, there are numerous chips down to bare metal and rusty water oozes out of cracks in the nether regions of the tubing.

This is of little consequence except for the fact that the left hand gate has now become a potential killer. The weld holding the lower hinge has broken away and only the upper hinge is stopping the gate from crashing down and causing much death and destruction. It really is quite dangerous and there could be a serious accident.

The gate was made by a nice cousin of Cat’s and given that normally he services motor bikes, he had a pretty good shot at it. Doing our gate must have been wonderful practice for him and I’m grateful that I was able to provide this socially-useful service for only a small bag of gold. That said, it’s a pity he didn’t have much idea about welding and then painted it with only one top coat and no primer.

Never mind, we’ve now brought in the local pro to try and make it safe. He seems competent, but it looks like he’s getting lots of advice from all the lads and geriatrics who are passing him things and generally doing what they can to help in a fine spirit of collective enterprise. It really was quite a party and plenty of fine spirit was quaffed from the several bottles of lao khao I’ve just cleared away from where they dumped them in a tidy heap by the gate. This local white rice whisky at forty percent delivers a considerable kick and always seems a essential stimulus to efficient and competent workmanship. Can you guess who pays for for all the booze?

When you employ workers on a daily rate, you’ve also got to factor in the extra cost of rendering them semi-comatose, a process which begins long before the sun is below the yard arm and long before the work is finished. With the resulting loss of productivity and the outlay, it could add to the cost of a job by fifty percent!

They’re down there now in the dark passing round a single glass with hands that are still blue and pungent with paint, rolled in the hot blanket of the night, the blood throbbing in hazy brains, as they celebrate the pleasure of joint effort and a job well done.

Well, I hope it’s a job well done! Maybe this time the gate won’t need any attention now at least for several weeks.

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