The five bastard tradespeople who can charge what they like

AT some point we all need an expensive expert to help us. Here are five people who can shaft you, and there’s nothing you can do:


Got a blocked toilet? Sadly your school taught you trigonometry and Latin instead of something useful like plumbing, so you have to call someone in to deal with it. It’ll cost a fortune but, understandably, no one wants to be elbow deep in your poo for nothing.

Car mechanics

There’s a weird knocking noise in your car that gets louder when you’re in second gear, so you have to take it to the garage. Despite putting on a performance worthy of Gielgud, you haven’t got a clue what the mechanic is talking about when he explains the problem and will pay anything not to have to get the bus to Waitrose.

Boiler repairs

Boiler repair engineers know you haven’t the faintest clue how your boiler works, other than to change the temperature. So when they tell you that the steam expansion vessel has corroded and needs to be replaced you just gulp and hand over the cash, while simultaneously waving goodbye to this year’s holiday.


It takes an average of four weeks to get a roofer to return your phone call, and a further nine to get them to come out and give you a quote. Add on another six weeks for them to actually do the work and you’re just so grateful the leak in your roof is going to be fixed that you don’t care how much they charge you.


Good plasterers are rarer than pangolins. While you wait to find one, you joke to friends that it would be easier to watch a couple of how-to videos on YouTube and have a crack at  it yourself. When you have thoroughly f**ked up your walls, carpet and marriage, you will happily wait several months and hand over thousands of pounds to get an expert to do it.

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Turn it into a paintball arena, and other ideas for abandoned high streets

IS your once-bustling high street now a parade of empty shops and broken dreams? These ideas will bring life back to your city centre:

Turn it into a paintball arena

Wild horses wouldn’t drag internet-savvy consumers to shop in some dull town centre, but the promise of giving their mates a nasty bruise with a paintball gun might. You could turn Clarks Shoes into a bunker and even have a special offer where stag dos get 25 per cent off at Bonmarché.

Release wild animals in the old Debenhams

Efforts to rewild the UK should begin in our now lifeless town centres and all those huge ex-Debenhams buildings could hold an ark’s worth of animals each. Wouldn’t it be thrilling to see a monkey manning the perfume counter? Or a badger snuffling around the lingerie section? Way more exciting than shopping there ever was.

Allow drug dealers to set up shop

Most drug dealers suffer from a major lack of work-life balance, their home or car usually acting as their office. That could all change if they are given their own shop with opening hours of 8pm – 6am, Monday to Saturday. Even drug dealers need to have a rest on Sunday.

Start fracking

If no one’s visiting your local high street anymore, you don’t even necessarily have to maintain it as a part of the city. With correct planning permission, you could turn Wolverhampton’s failing retail spaces into lucrative oil and gas fields. It would be a vast improvement on how it currently looks.

Turn it into a Mega Greggs

Everyone loves a Greggs – it might be the only reason people still go into town these days. Consider the draw you’d be if you had the world’s first Mega Greggs, stretching the length of an entire street, with massive sausage rolls to match.