Saturday, September 29, 2007


Something for the weekend, Sir?

We all know that us contractors are the hardest working people on the planet, and, unlike those wimpy desk-pilots tucked up safe, dry and warm in their centrally-heated, air-conditioned carpeted offices, we never skive off or "swing the lead" when there's work to be done. To avoid bouts of apathy-induced unconsciousness, those office-bound inmates are prone to suspending their vital paper-shuffling and they waste time on t'internet instead, the blackguards. They even have a word for it: Monging.

Monging is what they do because they're bored with re-arranging their pen collection, and fantasising about the exciting and fun-packed life of your typical navvy is driving them insane with jealousy. Monging is not summat that would normally be associated with us titans of the building trade: we've better things to do, such as holes to dig, flags to lay, and clients to belittle.

But, on occasion, it has been known for the comedy weather that torments these islands to get the better of even the best of us, and so we need to take shelter, take refuge, and take a pint or two. For those who find themselves in this nightmarish predicament, may I offer an amusing distraction? I chanced upon this while cleaning-up the trail of gynaecological websites the son and heir had left behind in my browser's history window, and while possibly not as stimulating as some of the other sites, it is safe for use in mixed company, and, more to the point, it's bloody good fun.

Simple premise: you are the driver of a typical contractor's vehicle and have to get to the far end of what looks like it was a decent field until the O&K 23 tonner started tracking across it. The vehicle looks not unlike a L200 or a Navarra, but you can pretend it's a 5 Tonne dumper if you think it will help.

Remember: no monging - this is only for those rare times when you're rained off or the wagon from Travis Bloody Perkins has failed to turn up at the appointed time yet again.

Let me know what you think.


2000 and counting

Running the pavingexpert website involves all sorts of mundane and arse-numbingly boring administrative tasks. Those familiar with The Brew Cabin will possibly be aware of the number of offensive posts that have to be removed each day because some gonk in Russia thinks I should pay them not to plaster the site with their drivel. Luckily, a number of Brew Cabin Irregulars help out by monitoring the board and removing the latest alleged boudoir exploits of Broccoli Spears and Paris Hotel more or less as soon as they are posted.

However, one of the other tasks that I manage all on my own is updating the Visitor Book. Again, there are eejits out there that seem to believe people are stupid enough to buy ringtones, pharmaceuticals, and share options from spam ads, so the additions to the Visitor Book have to be "approved" before they appear. Ever since I added a Visitor Book, long before the pavingexpert site was the site it has become, I've been somewhat uncomfortable with the "all submissions are moderated" statement on the relevant page. Moderation is necessary because of the small miniority of pillocks that spoil the 'net for the rest of us, but I worry that some readers might think it means I'd edit or reject message that don't meet my expectations.

In all the years the current Visitor Book (and its predecessor) have been online, I've never edited or rejected a message for editorial or egotistical reasons. The only rejected texts are the blatant spam and a very small number of offensive postings aimed at people other than myself. And it pleases me enormously that a negative comment or a condemnation of the site and its content is a very, very rare event. I fact, I can't call to mind more than a couple in all this time.

The reason for this latest blog post is to mark a hemi-demi-semi-historic moment in Visitor Book history. Yesterday morning, the 2,000th message was posted from another grateful reader. Mark, for that is the name of the unwitting bi-millennial poster, has read the site, built his own driveway, and is chuffed with the result. I'm chuffed that he's chuffed.

Pavingexpert was not created as a DIY guide, but looking back through some of the messages that have been posted over the years, many have been penned by DIYers that have used this site as their source of knowledge and advice, and it's great to know they've found it useful. I've never fully understood the purpose of a Visitor Book, and readily admit that I have rarely signed such a book that didn't belong to a relative or a friend, but having recahed 2,000 signatories, I have to acknowledge that for many people, it is their only way of saying "Thanks".

So I'd like to say "Thanks" in return. Thanks to all you visitors for making this site the most visited hard-landscaping site on the web. Thanks for giving me a reason to get out of bed in the morning. Thanks for making me laugh, cry, tear out my hair, and marvel at what can be done with just a little bit of inegrity and common sense. And thanks for letting me know you appreciate my efforts.

Saturday, September 22, 2007


It never rains but it pours

I'm only back from Glee for two days, rushed off me feet trying to catch-up with all I missed while away and write my usual show review for the website, and now Mrs Taz has gone A over T while at work and broken her fibula (the thinner of the two bones in yer lower leg). She slipped while climbing a step ladder, fell to the floor and snap! The left foot was hanging loose at a squirm-inducing angle. She's bound to find some way of blaming me for the accident, any moment now, I fear, even though I was good half-mile away at the time.

So now we have the unedifying sight of a cripple using a walking stick trying to wheel another cripple in a chair.

They've plastered her leg, but she has to go back on Wednesday to have it re-set and a more permanent cast fitted. I have an important meeting booked for that day, a meeting that will require me to read the riot act to certain parties. Do I go to the meeting and kick arse or do I go to the hozzy and face the inevitable wrath of Mrs Taz? The only consolation is that, with only the one good leg, she's physically unable to kick my arse!

Thursday, September 13, 2007


Question of the day

Today's QOTD.....

my friend layed a concrete patio out side his house and the surface is turning to dust as you turn your feet on it. no i think it was to the lack of cement, is there any thing we can paint, pour like resin on the top to penertrate, to make it hard? or is it start again? do we really believe this happened to "a friend"?? Would this be one of those "friends" that is prone to contracting STDs, collecting 78 records, enjoying musical theatre, crocheting antimacassars in their spare time, and falling victim to all sorts of other embarassing incidents, perchance?

Also, do you reckon he's right about the lack of cement? Could anyone actually make concrete and forget to add the cement?

Gawd luv 'em!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


How bloody much??

So my elder daughter is coming up for yet another expensive birthday, and being young, free and single, with her own car, unsubtle hints have been dropped that she'd like a personalised number plate for her girl racer motor, and that the vernacular form of her name just happens to be exactly 3 letters - CEZ. You endow your first born with a beautiful (and unique) name, and then some career-deprived troglodyte abbreviates it to "Cez" or, even worse, Cezzah".

Plates with a Z in them are ten-a-penny in Norn Iron, but on this side of the water, they're after 400 quid and more. I love her to bits, but 400 quid is beyond the budget I had in mind (by about 375 quid, if truth be told!)

However, while I'm on the registration plate site, I start looking around for plates that might be suitable for a middle-aged knackered ex-contractor - not that I ever would, of course, as there's no surer indicator of twattishness in man than a personalised number plate, but hey! There's no harm in looking.

I know! PAV 3R - how arsey would that be? So I type it into the search box. How bloody much??? Ten quid change from 9 grand? Plus VAT. Sod that! Even if I won the lottery this weekend, I don't think I could bring meself to spend ten grand plus on letting the world know that, not only am I a self-important narcissistic twat with more money than sense, I'm also a sad obsessive with a paving fixation!

If you thinks that's bad, they want 21 grand plus for PAV1N, and no sign at all of PAV 10R

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


Britain allowed to remain in 16th century

News that Europe has given up on attempting to compel Britain to convert fully to the metric system disappoints, but doesn't really surprise me. Just why this island wants to cling to an outdated base 12/14/16 system is one of the great mysteries of life, like nature's love of the Fibonacci series or Marshalls' belief that Diarmuid Gavin's Luna Patio kit was a good idea. Some things are just beyond explanation.

However, the news reminds me of a tale my late father told me regarding his Aunt Peg McCormack, who ran a greengrocery business in Dublin for many years. When Ireland accepted the metric system, she had an elderly customer come into the shop and ask for "five pounds of tayties".

"It's all changed now, Mairead", says Peg. "We're after turning metric and it's kilos we're to use from now on".

"That's fine", answers the bemused customer, "I'll take five pounds of kilos, so".

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Monday, September 10, 2007


Who dresses these eejits in the morning?

Is it national "Set Free A Moron" day? Has someone accidentally left open the gate to the asylum? Or is it just a concerted effort to raise my bloodpressure to the point where my heart goes "pop" once more?

I receive over 200 emails each day, and roughly half of these will be questions about some aspect or other of paving or hard-landscaping. Of these, at least half will already be answered somewhere on the site but the questioner just can't be arsed to look for the answer and believes I have nowt better to do with my time but write out, for the umpteenth time, exactly what mix of mortar they should use to lay their patios flags.

Of the remaining 50%, half of them (25%) will be completely undeserving of an answer, such as "would you be interested in constructing my 4 square metre patio in South London? I have a
budget of 200 pounds to spend.", along with the "where's the cheapest place to buy block paving?" type questions.

Then there's the usual huddle of students with the "I was just wondering if you could give me five reasons why a capping layer might be used on a highway construction project and identify under what circumstances a capping layer might be replaced with alternative structure" coursework assignments.

Next come the "We ar number on suplier of lanscape stone in India/China/Vietnam/Brazil/Kenya (delete as applicable) and come to no your estemed busisisness through intenet".

Finally, about 12-20 of the total inbox will be genuine questions from people needing independent and impartial advice on a matter that isn't covered on the site, and I generally find answering these to be stimulating, challenging and a worthwhile use of my limited free time.

But, for some reason, last Saturday saw the highest ever percentage of utter pillock questions of the past year. I've just wasted a full hour wondering whether this is a wind-up or whether it's summat to do with the changing seasons. How would you deal with these?? (Names have been removed to protect the identity of the mentally enfeebled)....

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