In this instalment I am going to try to attempt to prove that finding a builder here in Central Portugal is much like dating. Now it might be like this the world over, I don’t know, I have never had need of a builder in the UK or Jersey. It might just be a very sad reflection on my dating history (likely) or it just might be the next 10 points are the truest thing you’ve ever read.
1) There are a lot of ‘fish in the sea’. Just like the dating pool there are a lot of builders out there. But finding the one you want is hard. I’ve heard my friends make their recommendations ‘not him, he is pissed by noon’, ‘he’s good but never returns your calls’, ‘don’t trust him’.
2) You need to deal with rejection. You invite the builder to take a look at the project, you speak you best Portuguese, tell a few jokes, look interested in what he has to say, smile, nod, ask questions, he says he’ll call you, he doesn’t. You wait by the phone, you check your emails, you ask mutual friends to remind him to call you……
3) You sometimes get stood up. Because they don’t show up when they say they will.
4) He’s only after your money. This might be an expat thing, but some local builders have a price for you and a price for local people! Not cool.
5) They tell you things so you’ll like them. ‘I’ll call you’ is the biggest lie. If you can’t phone me Monday don’t tell me you’re going to phone me Monday. Just tell me you are not interested!
6) The one you want is unavailable.
7) There is always someone new around the corner. And so the game continues, you invite them round, tell them what you want, speak your best Portuguese, listen, show interest and low and behold they tell you they can ‘see you next week’!
8) He’s fine but his work mates are rubbish.
9) Sometimes you wonder if it might just be easier to do it yourself (‘oh matron’).
10) Hope. What keeps us dating? The hope that somewhere out there the perfect man is for you. What keeps you believing you’ll find a builder? The hope that somewhere out there someone will mend my bloody wall!