Unbeknown to us, he picked up a flier that landed through his letterbox and gave the sender a call. Two men came and did what was basically a chainsaw job on the garden, hacking everything down and for two hours' work charged him £450. It looks awful. In our part of the country you can normally get a much better, more attractive and sympathetic job done for half of that but they saw a frail old man with poor eyesight and ripped him off. At least he will never fall for something like that again. The last rip-off I thought.
Well, not quite. See picture above. We had talked about what furniture he wanted to take with him and agreed that taking his ancient 1950's bed with the lack of springs to his new flat was probably not a good idea. We set about finding him a nice comfortable bed and soon discovered that they can cost an absolute fortune and in the first three showrooms we visited there were signs that said "order now for Christmas delivery". With him about to get the keys to his flat in a week's time we began to wonder if we could get him one in time until we stepped into the shop above.
The beds were much more reasonably priced and they could deliver the day before he was due to move in. Bingo!
However, you do get what you pay for and whilst it's hard to see how, at 92 years old, he might need a top of the range bed with a ten year guarantee, we were not prepared for such totally abysmal service. How hard can it be to put a base, headboard and the correct mattress on a van and deliver it?
Alarm bells were sounding faintly in the background when the young man that brought the bed said he couldn't take it to the first floor flat for us because he was only supposed to drop it at the front door and in any case he hadn't got a mask. Nick and I struggled it in and out of the lift and along the corridor ourselves only to discover that the mattress was not the one we had ordered, the base had castors instead of the fixed feet we had asked for and the delivery person had driven off without leaving us the headboard. Why does everything have to be so hard to do and why don't people simply do their job properly?
We had all on to get them to do anything about it. The factory manager didn't call us back, the shop stopped answering the phone and only agreed to deliver another bed after we went back there and made a fuss. A big fuss - and all very time consuming - the ringer on the shop phone had been switched off. They agreed to bring a new mattress, take away the wrong one, bring a headboard and the correct feet, giving us a delivery time on Saturday of "between 7am and 7pm". My dad in the meantime had to use the mattress they had wrongly sent for three nights.
So we were round at my dad's flat early this morning and sure enough the replacements arrived about 10am. The different young man this time was polite and helpful, doing most of the lifting and dragging of the mattress to get it into the flat and taking away the wrong one by himself. Mind you, he also tried the "no mask so I can't enter the building" trick but I wrong footed him by bringing a pack of disposable masks out with me. I'm not as green as I'm cabbage looking, Sunshine !!
Dad is settling in well considering there is so much to take in. It's a great shame that he didn't do this five years ago when he was physically and mentally fitter and could have made more use of what the development has to offer. Still, he's there now, he's safe and, if a bit overwhelmed, should never again be taken advantage of by unscrupulous tradesmen who see him as an easy target and a soft touch.