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 of Llandrindod.
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 with him.
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 at all.
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 to bed.
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.