Switched on

Today, it was the turn of the electricians to turn our lives upside down. Because the “Demolition Team” had arrived a 7:55 am I was up bright and early, expecting the electricians at the same hour. I moved everything away from the kitchenette and from our various power points and emptied the bathroom. I made a nest for Freya and myself in the back room, reckoning that it would be the least disrupted place, given that there were only two power points.

Then I sat and waited.

The electricians eventually arrived at 8:46 am. “Let me show you the power points,” I began helpfully. “Oh, we have loads of stuff to bring in,” they chirped merrily and disappeared. After much toing and froing, heaving and dragging, they were ready to begin. How long does it take to rewire a tiny bathroom? Most of the day apparently. Ladders, tool boxes and boxes of components filled the diminutive hallway, blocking our exit, so Freya and I remained in our fortress like the besieged.

Noticing a lull around midday, I sought permission to make a quick foray into the front room to collect my sandwiches from the fridge. As I squeezed between the obstacles and beheld the front room, I was shocked: not even during demolition had there been such a scene of devastation. I hurried to the fridge, burrowed under the dustsheet like an old-time photographer under the black cape of his camera, grabbed my sandwiches and beat a hasty retreat.

At last, the door of our retreat burst open: it was time to attend to our power points and replace the light switch and the light fitting. I remained seated smug in the knowledge that I had cleared a path to these destinations. The back room, you must understand is still very full and there was hardly room to move apart from the areas I had cleared. My reveries were interrupted:

“Gas boiler’s going in that corner, innit?”

“Erm, yes.”

“I need to get there. Gotta take a spur there from that power point.”

“Oh, so you need a path all around the wall into that corner,” I said in despairing tones.


So we cleared a path. We did so by piling things up even more preposterously than they were already piled up. The two-seater settee with John Betjeman on it disappeared and Freya was alone in her fruit box in the midst of the untidiest jumble sale you ever saw.

Gingerly, I began climbing over the treacherous shifting landscape, trying to regain my seat and free a tiny space in it to sit in. I managed it. Whereupon, Freya leapt from her fruit box and disappeared. I caught up with her in the front room war zone.

I spent the afternoon sitting on the folding chair in front of the window with Freya on my lap. I kept craning my neck trying to check on progress and in particular, any sign that the work was finished and the electricians were about to depart. Eventually, of course, they did.

I have to say that they worked with impressive zeal, never stopping, as far as I could see. They assiduously cleared up all the mess and put back the items they had moved, including the temporary sink and the temporary cooker. I have to give them 10 out of 10 not only for their work but also for their amiable demeanour and readiness to accommodate my requests. Even so, I was glad to see the back of them.

Tigger arrived home with an Indian takeaway. I graciously seated her in the folding chair and took the footstool. We reassembled the bed. We now have two days when nothing happens. I can do some shopping and run some errands though in a way I would rather they carried on the work and got it done sooner.

The dust has got everywhere. Even under the dustsheets everything is covered by a layer of the stuff. Everything you touch leaves your hands feeling dirty. Our clothes are dust stained, even the clothes we change into when we go out. We must be eating the stuff in our food.


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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4 Responses to Switched on

  1. Chris says:

    “Gas boiler’s going in that corner, innit?

    No Polish workers today eh? The sample dialogue sounds like Englishmen to me.

  2. SilverTiger says:

    Define “Englishmen” 😉 These were Englishmen some of whose ancestors came from the Caribbean, an elder electrician and his younger assistant who was also his “cuz”.

  3. emalyse says:

    I know all this is for the greater good but it just sounds anxiety central in terms of disruption. Still they seem to be making progress.

  4. SilverTiger says:

    There are highs and lows. The highs are when we imagine the work finished and how we are going to arrange things. The lows are when we think of the disruption yet to come. And all those boxes coming back from store…

    I think some people would give their eye teeth to live in a place that has exposed original Georgian brickwork and see-through walls stripped of plaster. They would be so keen on the dust that comes as a non-otpional extra.

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