The extra bits...(Under construction).

Friday, 19 August 2016

The perils of buying cheap......

     Well I must confess that the germ of an idea (or should that be the 'seed' of an idea?) of attempting to start my own gardening business that will finally allow me to put the dark days of factory work behind me is actually, albeit slowly, taking off. To say that I am surprised at the way in which it is developing would be the biggest understatement since General George Armstrong Custer said "that is a lot of Indians"! The learning curve that I am undergoing at the moment is steep indeed and my head is in a constant spin trying to keep on top of things and remembering to walk before I run, even with these knackered knees of mine!

     But learning I am and mostly I am enjoying the lessons, though some are hard learnt and not very enjoyable to say the least. One of the lessons that hurt was the perils of buying cheaply, I have always gone by the adage "buy cheap, buy twice"  but it has been difficult to adhere to this as decent machinery costs an arm and a leg and I have little in the way of financial back up at the moment. I have scoured the classified ads, Facebook buy and sell pages, and various auction sites to accumulate the basic machinery I require to allow myself to provide a service beyond reproach but this route has led to much oath usage and no small amount of frustration, for no matter how carefully I purchase a used piece of machinery there is always the risk of it failing on me whilst in use. When such things happen not only is it frustrating but I feel that it tarnishes my reputation that I am trying my utmost to build and protect, a decent reputation takes eons to build and only seconds to lose m'thinks.

     A couple of examples of failing machinery are my two heavy duty mowers bought recently with a combined purchase price of over £200.00. Now to some this may seem a small cost but to myself it is a large outlay at the moment. 

     The first mower is a 'rough cut' mower, a basic and ugly little beast that is designed for initial cutting on rough and overgrown grass areas. When picked up it started fine but once I got home would it fire up? would it hell as like. Investigation revealed that whilst awaiting me to arrive the mower had been left outside in some inclement weather for an hour or so. Armed with this information the air filter was removed revealing a damp sponge element so the carburetor was removed to dry thoroughly and also the combustion chamber was checked and dried. One thing noted was that the gasket between the carb and the housing was knackered so gasket paper was promptly ordered with gasket sealant being used in the mean time. The ugly brute started first time but let me down on a large area of rough cutting when the carb gasket seal failed, gasket to be made and fitted and hopefully it should run for some time then.

     The second, and the most disappointing mower is an Australian beast that again when picked up started and ran, albeit a tad lumpy. A quick check before payment was made revealed a spark plug with damaged ceramic that allowed it to arc to the casing. A reduced price was agreed and said mower was in action the very next day complete with new spark plug fitted. It performed admirably until that it is when stopped whilst emptying the grass box it refused to start and then the starter recoil bloody mechanism failed, the word "bollocks" sprung to mind. So I now have too butt ugly and non-working mowers awaiting my attention before I can take them grass cutting. 

The two frustrating mowers

     Unfortunately I am unable to attend to them due to being a tad under the weather at the moment and as weak as a kitten that is having a particularly off day (you just would not believe how long it has taken to write this drivel thus far). A second affect of being ill is that I am absent from the 'not so fun factory' which is also frustrating because, even though I seek to be rid of factory work, I do not like letting work and work colleagues down and always try to do my job to the utmost of my abilities. It's an old fashioned side of me that is rooted deep in my psyche that, although unappreciated where I am employed, refuses to allow me not to try my best. Anyway I'm off on a tangent again so back to the plot, thin as it is.

     These are just two examples of buying cheaply and being bitten in the arse because of it, believe there are several more that I could relate but I think that you have the general idea. Although one more example is worth a mention and that be even when purchasing the mundane buying cheap is not always the best idea. I buy, or should say used to buy my fuel from the the local 'not so super market' as it's cost effective....errr nope it is not! On my last visit to my best client and largest grass cutting area I refueled three machines with this fuel and all three played up and then gave up the cost. When the first failed I put it down to being bit by the buying used purchase rat, when the second failed the cogs began to slowly turn but not enough to stop me from starting the third mower up and it failing too. Frustrated once more, I took a stroll to a near-by petrol station and purchased fuel for four pence a litre more than what I had used in the mowers. Draining then filling one machine it started with some objection but once the fresh fuel flushed through the carb it ran like a dream (nearly finishing the job until that bloody gasket failed). It goes to show that perhaps things are cheap for a reason and that reason being that they are not fit for purpose.

    The upshot of these failures is that I bit the bullet and purchased this little beauty which turned up on me doorstep yesterday.....


     ....the damn thing is that I am too weak to even open the box just yet. Hopefully this latest addition to my machinery will give me chance to build up the reliable side of my reputation, also hopefully that my outgoings will now reduce somewhat and I can start moving forward with other areas of my business. 

Til the next time take good care of yourselves,

John 
     

Monday, 15 August 2016

Time to draw breath.....

     Talking about running around like a headless chicken, oh you weren't? ah well talking about running around like a headless chicken I've had little time to fart let alone attend to my blogging duties of late, so please accept my humblest and most groveling of apologies. But to say that I've been a tad busy of late is the biggest understatement since the extremely brave Captain Laurence Oates calmly informed the four remaining members of Scott's ill-fated polar expedition that "I am going outside, I may be sometime"! 

     What with the usually bollocks madness at the 'not so fun factory', domestic duties and trying to pursue my dream of being self employed my head is in a perpetual spin. Tis strange though, far from putting pressure upon my addled mind I'm finding that, although knackered, I feel more alive than I have for some time. Yes work in the factory is still a pile of tosh with the usual male bovine excrement being spewed out by a management team that really does not know its arse from its elbow, yes I still have dips and doubt myself and my mind's ability to keep the Black dog at bay and yes all I seem to be experiencing financially is a continuous leaking of finances with little to show in return. But by heck these are exciting times for moi, what with a job turning a client's overgrown lawns and paddock into areas where grandchildren can play and their garden becomes an extension of their home's living space, another client has commissioned me to turn their neglected garden into a wildlife biased but usable space plus other inquiries coming in for potential work ranging from strimming, fencing, clearance and other gardening jobs I'm getting a good feeling about my prospects of being able to politely tell my present employers to kindly "sod off" in the coming year. 

     But I won't be jumping the gun just yet as tis clearly early days and my fledgling business has a long way to go before any decision upon whether or not to leave the world of factories far behind me can be made, but fingers crossed that it will be the case that my fingers will one day be uncrossed and raised in that very Anglo Saxon two fingered salute to the grind so beloved of Saxon archers of yore. Indeed there are so many angles to consider when starting up a business, from insurance to accounts, from advertising to designing a website, buying machinery to assessing different jobs and a million and one other things that make a business tick over it's no wonder that many find the very idea to daunting to consider. But with patience, time and the support of my George I am sure that I'll get there and I know that I'll be all the better for it. For the now it is a hard slog but perhaps in the future the rewards will make it all worthwhile.

     Now I must really get myself off to the land of nod that lies atop of those wooden hills, I am well and truly bushed after a pleasant weekend spent with friends from down south and then a few hours doing jobs on mowers, strimmers and chainsaw in the hope that they won't let me down on the next two days of hard graft that I have lined up before returning to the gloom of working in the factory. That's the problem with starting up, can't afford new machinery until the work comes in and can't take on the work without the machinery, catch bloody 22 m'thinks. But that whinge will have to wait til another post as my eye lids are now closing up as I type these words.

Til the next time take care,

John