Being asked to write a blog on here about being a multi-trader seems like telling the Pope about religion to me but here goes:
My start came in Nottingham at the age of 16, back in 1982 as an apprentice bricklayer. There I was, looking like an extra out of Auf Wiedersehn Pet, complete with donkey jacket and metal scout mug (a mug that had a handle that got hot!!). I was taught by men who had served in the war and wore suits to work. They taught me the trade by giving me benching to do in manholes and telling me that it was bad to put anything in the cavity in case of damp – a few years later we were filling the bloody thing! I didn’t really toe the company line though and went self-employed at 20 working for agencies. I moved to London, did a stint in Berlin then back to the Midlands, all the time as a site-brickie – who knows how many bricks and blocks I’ve laid (what brickie hasn’t asked themselves that question?) Bored with doing site work (and lifting 9″ solid concrete blocks – who remembers them?) I set up my own one man band building firm. After subbing my first cut roof out and realising how easy it was I vowed to do as many trades as I could within reason. I reckon most “Jack of all Trades” are masters of at least one!
So, I’m now 15 odd years later, divorced and living in Cornwall and still going and glad to see how instead of just nodding at each other in the builders merchants we now have the opportunity to chat about stuff only we can truly appreciate, late paying customers, idle labourers, never seeing a plumber or sparky with a dustpan – that sort of thing.
Not all of what we do is grand designs – I’ve just finished a concrete slab for a log cabin. But that’s a story in its own right.
Stay safe lads not all health and safety is nonsense.