The chant "Yer wanna get a digger mate!" started in 2014, and I finally got one two years later. The chanters were right. But what I didn't hear was what they were chanting (sniggering) under their breath. "You're gonna get covered in grease".
Let's start at the beginning. How much does a digger cost to hire? £70 per day. How much does it cost to transport it to and from your house / plot? £25. All plus VAT. Bang goes £300 / £350 per week. And it rains, or there's a delay, and it sits there leering at you like some hideous demented mechanical giraffe whispering softly in your ear Use Me Use Me If You dare. But you can't because it's hissing down. And suddenly it's Friday, a couple of hundred pounds has flown out of the window, and two of the jobs you had planned haven't been done.
And soon you're driving around noting every single digger sitting there idle in a field or on the roadside and NOBODY'S USING IT. It shouldn't be allowed. Diggers are expensive; they should not be left idle. Or rather those ones that are idle should be loaned to you the second the owner decides to have a day off. It's OK, you'll come and fetch it and bring it back when the owner needs it. Anything but let a digger be idle when you haven't got one.
And then you do a bit of maths: how many jobs around the site do we need a digger for? And the list gets longer by the week. The children start muttering about dad being on about a digger for Christmas and birthday present all wrapped into one. And then you start noticing things like zero-swing diggers, and that's a 22 tonner, and is that a 2.6 tonne or 2.5 tonne digger? Soon, you know how to tell. The next thing is: JCB or Kubota? Or maybe Volvo? Hmmm. Well Kubota have reliable engines (other companies fit Kubota engines) JCB - well, a bit sloppy round the edges.
Looking on Tinternet for prices and maybe the odd trip out -just to look, no more you understand. A budget number bubbles up in your spreadsheet against the Heading Plant and Equipment. Suddenly there's 10K more than planned. But, you can re-sell it at the end of the build. So nett off the cost against the hire cost (minus VAT) and you're in profit (Ha!).
The digger duly arrives. And suddenly a whole world opens up. Move that Cherry tree, no problem (that wasn't on the list), shove those steels through your son's windows (after he takes them out) no problem; move two tonnes of stone quickly from one place to then other - well not quite no problem, but you aren't sweating. See a problem, turn the key. Dig your SuDS drainage in less time than you thought. Move that newt hibernacular three meters to the right: done. The dozer blade is awesome (I hate that word: but here it's the right word).
And then there's the maintenance schedule. A Kubota has more nipples than a prize sow. And God can they suck grease. And I'm not the best at changing grease cartridges - when I'd finished I knew what the phrase Grease Monkey meant.
I will not want to sell it. How on earth am I going to get that past Debbie?