A day in the life of a surveyor
Vaguely hear my wife Jenny and son Laurence get up and leave for a visit to
Loughborough University. Laurence will be studying engineering but his predicted
school exam grades are very good and so he has a great deal of choice as to
what course to take and where. He has good design/innovation skills and I have
suggested that the future lies with a combination of electronic and mechanical
engineering (robotics). He wants a course that allows him to stay as a generalist
for the first two years and to then go straight into a Masters degree after
he has decided on what specialism to go for -- makes good sense. Loughborough
appears to offer both routes so off he goes to investigate.
Get up, peppermint tea, muesli and yoghurt. Listen to the Today current affairs
programme on Radio 4. Watch and talk while our German boy (Jan, 17, who is staying
with us for four months while he studies at Builth Wells High school in order
to improve his English) snatches breakfast while making picnic lunch for school.
Shower and get dressed, pick up post and take the car to my office in the centre
08:30 -- 10:45
Check e-mails, go through post, download overnight stuff from head office, check
diary for the day.
Complete the word-processing of a survey report.
Make and take phone calls dealing with existing jobs, setting up one new one,
chasing a builder who did not turn up to start a job.
Meet a builder in Builth Wells to decide what to do on a church tower, which
is leaking badly, causing rot and damp. The church has no money and so the problem
is how to achieve the maximum repair for the lowest cost. Interestingly, the
solution is to recreate what the original Victorian builders did rather than
to patch up the poor work of the past 20 years, which seems to have been based
more on expediency than knowledge.
Get a text message on my mobile phone from son Tom, who started his second year
at Manchester University last weekend where he is studying Environmental Management,
asking me to mail him the computer disks and printer ink that he forgot to take
12:15 -- 14:00
Catch up on telephone calls and answering machine messages, lunch at the desk
(sandwich, apple -- a beautiful large Cox -- coffee). Write a mortgage
re-inspection report where the applicant told the lender that he had done all
the works and please could he have the money, but he had actually done nothing
14:00 -- 16:30
Nice easy survey for a prospective purchaser of a bungalow in the countryside
on this lovely warm and sunny late summer day. I have to force myself into my
focused, problem seeking routine. The house dog was very disappointed for it
saw me as a potential new playmate and the invitation to tea and biscuits on
the lawn was very tempting. But I stuck to my bottle of water with a slice of
lemon in it and kept working.
16:15 -- 18:00
Back in my gloomy office with the lights on. Catch up on telephone calls, answering
machine messages and a particularly annoying fax hassling me on something I
had already done and delivered but which had not yet penetrated the sender's
own bureaucracy. Set up some appointments and start to prepare a short report
for someone with an insurance problem on a house I surveyed and on which I found
some insignificant cracking.
Stop working. Back-up the computer onto zip discs that I take home every day
-- just in case something happens to the computer; around which my whole
working life revolves. Review the job list and prioritise for tomorrow. Wind
down my mind and home by 18:30.
Chat to daughter Simone who is home between jobs (dancer, taking cruise and
hotel jobs around the world) and who came home during the day after spending
the weekend partying in Nottingham.
Get called out by next-door neighbour to try and help find his water main connection.
Make supper for the three of us (steak and kidney pie (bought), fresh veg and
rice) and eat while watching the football match between last year's English
and German champions.
Finish preparation and practice for a teaching session I have to give tomorrow
evening to new Scout leaders.
Jenny and Laurence return too tired to report on their day. Jenny is off to
work tomorrow at 06:00 (nurse at Nursing home in Newtown) and so goes straight
Simone and Laurence crash out in front of a silly movie, Jan and I go to bed.
I always sleep very well, as evidenced by the fact that, to my frustration,
the other night I slept through the worst earthquake in years; an earthquake
that seems to have woken up everyone else I know.