When we arrived here at our "new" home in July 1995, it didn't take long for the first hidden defect to reveal itself. As I lifted one of the sash windows in the dining-room, the bottom bar gave way and a large sheet of plate glass crashed downwards: had my head been a few inches further forward, I would have known what it felt like to be guillotined. We turned for help to our neighbour across the road, Tom Holding, having heard that he ran a building firm, and the next day the diminutive Barry arrived carrying a bag of tools. This charming Irishman fixed up a new sash bar (and glass pane) in what seemed like next to no time.
We now hope we are on the way out of this house, but the other day nearly the same thing happened as I was opening the bathroom sash window. Help! I cried to Tom. I'll send someone, he replied; and lo and behold, early yesterday morning, along came Barry with his bag of tools. Now 73, he still does his most skilful stuff, lamenting how much the present generation of carpenters depends on expensive power tools which take 45 minutes to unload from the van in the morning.