The other day I saw a white van with some odd signwriting on it. ‘Sustainable Solutions.’ No hint as to what the problem might be for which they offered sustainable solutions, and a tooth-grindingly horrid slogan. Not a good start to my morning.

I soon found out what sustainable solutions are when I saw there was a water main leak in the Town Square. Veolia turned up. They’re a division of Affinity Water, my water company*, so get a rake off from my water bill, and every other water bill. I’m not sure why they put in an appearance, because all they did was sit about till good old ‘Sustainable Solutions’ turned up to dig a hole. Hence SusSol are subbing from Veolia, who in turn effectively sub for the operating arm of the water company, so everybody gets rich.

SusSol duly dug a hole, put some barriers round it, and sodded off for the day in the time-honoured fashion of holediggers the world over. As always, the hole filled up with water, so on the return the next afternoon the crew had to some bailing, since they had neglected to think, ‘Oh. A leak. Bet that will fill the hole up. Better bring a pump.’ That’s what I’d have thought, but what do I know?

They fixed the leak, filled in the hole, tamped it down, and sodded off again, leaving the barriers. They returned the next day to re-lay the block paving they’d carefully lifted and set to one side. Given that they’d removed exactly the amount of blocks they needed to put back, you’d think it would be an effortless task. Simply put ‘em back the same way they came out. You know they’ll fit perfectly, yes?

No. Next thing we have is a hairy-arsed knuckledragger with a petrol disc cutter chopping lumps off things to get them to fit. How can that be? They came out, they should have gone right back in again. They’re self spacing, so no problem. If I’d been doing the job I might even have been tempted to number the sodding blocks sequentially so there was no room for error. That way, I’d not have ended up with an unsightly jigsaw effect marring the otherwise neat blockwork.

You really can’t get the staff these days, can you?

*Owned by the French, since the Toffs have mercilessly sold off the family silver to make sure their mates in the Square Mile pay less tax.

**The blockwork in the Square is pretty damned good I have to say, and I speak as one who appreciates that sort of thing.