The work of refurbishment starts today. Now is the heart-stopping moment. Tigger went to work, leaving me to stack the bed against the wall and carry out last-minute tidying. I attempted to cover things with the dust sheets but they were too small to cover everything.

The plan was for Freya and me to retire to the back room, aka the Bunker. Tigger had made Freya a bed in an old fruit box, folding a pullover of mine and sprinkling it with catnip. Once this was ready and I had everything I needed, I looked for Freya. She had disappeared under the dust-sheeted heaps, of course. I managed to spot her at last and saw she had that “If you think I’m coming out, forget it” look on her face. Eventually, I was able to grab her and haul her off to the back room. where she settled into her fruit box happily enough.

Eventually, the “Demolition Team” arrived. They were East Europeans of some sort which meant we had to say everything twice in order to understand one another but we got there in the end. I retired to the Bunker and set about calming Freya who was looking worried. There then ensued a long period when time seemed to stand still. There was banging and crashing, creaking and ripping, drilling and sawing, shouted conversations in what might have been Polish; I read a biography of John Betjeman; Freya snoozed and occasionally went for a snack.

Hearing a female voice, I went out as I guessed this was one of the management team. We talked and I discovered that the proposed positions of the radiators in the living room interfered with our plans to build a computer corner. No problem: the radiators could be resited and that would even save time and make the job simpler.

Damp plaster was stripped off. This meant we could now see through the wall into the hallway and people could see into our flat. A temporary patch was put in place. Back to the bunker and John Betjeman. The door opens. It’s an electrician who is coming tomorrow but wants to see the job today. I locate the power points for him, realizing I will have to play chess with the furniture and boxes again tomorrow.

“Is finished,” declares Demolition Team member 1. They point to the temporary kitchen sink and cooker and file out. At last I can make a cup of tea, my first since 7 am.

Tigger comes home and we look around at the desolation. Despite the dust sheets, everything in the livingroom is covered with a layer of dust. I find myself washing my hands every few minutes. The fridge freezer has been moved to near the window making it impossible to put the bed down on its feet. We push things here and there, make space, lower the bed. We will have to crawl into it from the foot end.

Tomorrow the electricians come in to do their part of the work and then we have two days with no work. The plasterers come in on Friday. Their work is scheduled to last 5 days but will be interrupted by the weekend.

Things are getting done but as yet I have no feeling of progress. I have to keep reminding myself that the job will eventually be finished and that we will like the results. At the moment it feels more like banging our heads against a brick wall in the hope of enjoying it when we stop.


About SilverTiger

I live in Islington with my partner, "Tigger". I blog about our life and our travels, using my own photos for illustration.
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