I am gruntled!

Social media can be repetitive and, thus, rather boring. Certainly time consuming. Is it the same cat which keeps getting lost? Is it merely visiting the neighbours to compare menus and comfort of seating arrangements? Do those with small items of furniture to give away manage to get rid of them? Have they tried charity shops? They can take them to the tip without actually dumping them for anything worth anything may end up in the shop in Martyrs Lane. 

There are some unusual pleas: a recent one was for an Olaf costume for a four-year old. Well, you never know, some child may have got over being Frozen and want the space for new toys. 

There are people full of hope trying to set up a new business. And people looking for tradespeople to solve their needs.

I would always plump for word-of-mouth recommendations. But there are also many comments from the disgruntled telling everybody about the dreadful service – or lack of – which they have received from tradespeople including, sometimes, tradespeople who have listings in Checkatrade. 

My Checkatrade leaflet states the company is Celebrating 25 years of our trade directory. It lists Local approved tradespeople in your area

Within the leaflet is the statement that all our members are checked, checked and checked again. Feedback from customers is encouraged. 

However, in rather small print – I used a magnifying glass – at the bottom of the back page is the statement that ‘information contained within this directory has been paid for and supplied by the various businesses involved. Checkatrade cannot be held responsible or liable for the quality of workmanship...’ 

So although I may get a company name from that directory, I would still go for word-of-mouth recommendation.

A while ago I carelessly graunched the side of my car against a post. Both passenger doors were badly dented. It so happened my daughter was getting her car MoT’d and showed a garage photographs of the damage. 

They could not help, but recommended a garage they thought might be of use to me. It so happened that a friend with a much-loved classic car recommended the same garage.

Alas, they could not help – apart from suggesting I took the insurance on the car and did something useful with it. But my car has just, last month, celebrated its 22nd birthday. Well, not celebrated: I didn’t even get around to cleaning it as a mark of thanks for its years of good service. 

When the graunching occurred I was followed by a man in a white van who stopped merely to see if I was okay. What a gent! 

He said his mother found the turn I had mismanaged to be a tight one, which immediately made me feel better. He also gave me a phone number of a local garage. 

It was not until after my disappointing meeting with the recommended garage that I telephoned the number supplied by my knight of the road.

I was talking to a real person, Zelma: not even any music while I held on – I didn’t have to hold on. “Come over and let’s have a look,” was the immediate reply. So I did. 

It was beyond a spot of panel beating but while I was there Zelma’s brother Kaz, who runs the place, checked his phone and showed me he could acquire two doors of the same mark, date and colour of my messed-up doors. I knew I was in the presence of guys who not only knew their job but enjoyed it and were enthusiastic about it. 

I may complain about the rise in postal charges but I can tell you postage and packing on two Honda Civic doors makes Christmas post pale into – not quite – insignificance. 

Waiting for the doors was the only thing which delayed work: there was a phone call – could I do without the car for the weekend and take it to the garage on Friday?

I said yes and then proceeded sort out lifts for various weekend appointments. I need not have bothered: the car went in Friday morning and Friday afternoon I was told I could collect it. What service!

I do not always believe the blurb handed out by companies but this one states  ‘you’re in good hands with Surrey Auto Works’. Which is certainly the case for this company which Kaz Collins founded in 2011. 

Their seven-strong team is ‘made up of passionate motor enthusiasts from varied backgrounds, bringing together a wealth of experience, knowledge and skill’. 

That was very obvious from the service I had.  They do everything from MoTs to customisation and restoration. They are at Unit 7, Great Grove Farm, Murray Road, Chertsey, KT16 0HT but I think of them as being in Ottershaw. 

I went with a friend who is a car enthusiast – after all, I knew nothing about the company to start with and so wanted someone who could talk technical if necessary. 

The site is home to many lorries of various types and my friend is very knowledgeable and interested in such things. I am only surprised he did not suggest a return visit when armed with sandwiches and a Thermos of something hot to picnic amid these great vehicles. 

I said at the start of this piece that I am gruntled. I most certainly am. And thanks to the guy in the white van, a word-of-mouth recommendation is a very good starting point when you are considering parting with money for anything from a sapling for the garden to a holiday abroad – or the saving of my much-loved car.