Oh dear. I have been disappointed my my joiner. He gave me a reasonable estimate, just like the estimate of the first builder, dubbed J S Sergeant, and then he came back and hiked it up. I was unimpressed. I was also unable to afford it.
My neighbour has stepped into the breach. While the Disappointing Joiner is still to put in my Velux windows, and the walls of my shower-room, my neighbour is now to spend his spare time putting in my walls and floor. It has both the up and downsides of employing a craftsman.
The first good thing he did was to discover that the walls of the kitchen, spare bedroom and sewing room already have modern standard insulation. They do not need treated. What he will do is to ensure they are standing on the new damp proofing, thereby saving me and the planet a good deal.
Then he came up with more than one ingenious way of sorting out the need to raise the kitchen floor without relocating the door (which is low to begin with, my 6’4″ neighbour stoops to move through it). He is full of sympathy for the old building and ways to keep its charm without sacrificing too much comfort, and has taken advice from colleagues at work (he works for a building firm) on good ways to tackle odd problems (like ways of damp proofing the stairs without reducing the width too much).
Finally, I have the right man for the job – though I need to watch like a hawk that he does not cheat. That is, you understand, cheat himself, because I know there is a danger that he will pour in more time than he should in order to arrive at an astonishing perfection.