Does love make a difference?

Building Ickenham Park
Creative Commons License photo credit: Justin Otto

This is a story of two builders – Fred and Harry. They both bought old properties on on a plot large enough for a pair of semis.

Fred applies for planning permission to build a pair of semi detached bungalows.  His planning takes a long while but he patiently waits but in due course planning permission is granted. He is ready and the old property is demolished.  Then slowly and steadily the new homes are built.  Anyone who watches sees the care and attention he puts into building them. He is a friendly fellow and will stop to chat with the neighbours, telling them what is happening.  The bungalows are up and now the finishing touches. He employs another workman to drop the curb: this guy takes the same care and attention to do this job properly – so much so that when he returfs the damaged grass verge he actually makes a better job than was there before. Fred hasn’t put in the cheapest windows but ones that enhance the bungalow. He then adds a burglar alarm and outside lights – not one but four to ensure the new owners are safe and that they don’t trip in the dark. Although he has allowed enough space on the drive for two cars, he still manages to put a small flower bed in at the front. But the recession has hit and it is hard to sell any property. So he rents them out but finally one and then the other is sold.  Both sets of new owners are delighted with their homes and comment how great the builder was in coming around to deal with a few minor problems.

Now Harry starts on demolished his old property even before planning permission has been granted. He wants get two semi detached chalet bungalows up as quickly as possible and get as much profit as he can – he doesn’t care about the properties – just how much money he can earn. It seems to the neighbours that within a few weeks they are finished and up for sale. Even though the market is still bad one does appear to have sold – let say property A. But the neighbours are confused because more and more cars seem to be parked outside and they start to use the drive of the unsold house. Then there is a problem and the road outside and drive has to be dug up. Harry isn’t happy with the new owners of property A using the other drive so he puts big concrete blocks over the entrance to stop them. A sold sign goes up on property B, then comes down. Another sold sign up, then it comes down and still the second property remains empty. Then as quickly as all the cars appeared outside property A, they disappear and the property is empty again. More builders move in, a skip arrives and scaffolding goes up on property A.

Two very different stories but in fact both sets of properties do exist. It just seems to to me that there was one fundamental thing that Fred did that Harry didn’t. And that was he built his properties with love and as a result all who worked on them and all who now live in them benefit from that love.  Sadly Harry didn’t realise this and his motivation was simply monetary – not an ounce of love. Even as you walk buy you can feel the warmth from Fred’s homes and the sadness from Harry’s home.

And who would you say came out of this best? No contest is there? In the longer term Fred is financially better off but he is also better off in other ways too – self worth and pleasure in building something he loved.

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Louise Clare works from her home in Eastbourne, East Sussex as the healing space there is truly magical and relaxing.