In my capacity as an electrician I come across some characters amongst my clients but by and large they are all nice people. Some of them are out to get a bargain and will haggle over the price and if I am in a good mood they might just get one! There have been one or two though who, having agreed a price with me before any work commenced then haggle over the price once I have finished! Now that just isn’t on. On the other hand there have been occasions whereby, through no fault of my own in setting a price, I find that the task was far more involved than I was given to believe. One such an occasion happened a few days ago but my client agreed that the extra work needed would be paid for as I couldn’t have known there was going to be a problem with the information he had given me over the phone. These things all come with the territory, however, there are some people who really do try it on. One evening a few days ago, quite late in the evening too, I received a phone call from a lady who lives about a half-mile away and she asked if I could install two light fittings for her. On discovering where she lived I asked about parking my vehicle as the front of her house faces a long paved pathway which runs alongside the railway tracks and some distance from the nearest road. The road itself is a no-parking area unless a parking place can be found in the designated parking bays some distance away. That is a problem in itself as the road runs through the main shopping area of our ‘village’ and finding a space can be difficult at the best of times. The house she lives in is one of many accessed via the same pathway behind which are other houses whose gardens back onto theirs, The fronts of these other houses face the road on which they are located but here and there are alleyways wide enough to take vehicles, some wide enough for two vehicles side by side located between them which give limited access to the rear of some of the houses facing the pathway but not all of them. This road is also a no-parking zone but has no parking bays along its length either. Unless there is access to the rear of a house located on the pathway it is impossible to park anywhere close-by. Back to this lady. When I asked about the parking facilities she said I could possibly park in the railway parking area located on the other side of the tracks facing her house as the authorities wouldn’t mind. Knowing my luck I would be penalised for parking there. I asked if there was access to the rear of her house and she said there was at one time but she had the gate removed and the access bricked up! No joy there then. The ‘unofficial’ parking zone alongside the railway involves walking a distance of a few hundred yards and across the level-crossing similar to the photograph above (if the gates are up) then down the path on her side of the tracks to her front door. Now you might think this should be taken in my stride but when you consider that I would have to carry a heavy toolbox and an extra-tall ladder (her house has high ceilings) it becomes a ridiculous request given that I am over 67 years of age and don’t need the hassle! This sort of work is best suited to two guys where one can drop off the materials and his mate at the house or as close as they can get and then go and park the vehicle or return when the job is complete. What was more annoying with this lady was the fact that she wasn’t able to be at the house during the day and asked if I could do the job in the evening! It turns out that she was selling the house and was having someone come and see it on Saturday and needed the lights fitting beforehand yet she couldn’t make the effort to find the time during the day to accommodate an electrician! Added to that she must have known days ago that she wanted the job done. When I told her that I don’t work in the evenings and that it would be too dark to see what I was doing anyway she said she could make time in the morning. She asked how long the job would take and when I said allow one hour she asked if I could be there at 8 in the morning. I said I could be but this was before I realised where she lived. I explained my situation, that I only work part-time and I need my van to be reasonably close to any property that I work in case I need anything for the job and for carrying tools to and fro. I don’t want to go on a route march every time I want something! Telling her my age made her realise she was asking too much of me although in actual fact my age doesn’t stop me from doing jobs far more difficult than the one she was asking of me but I didn’t tell her that!