Getting plastered

Our living room shares a wall with the house’s hallway. One corner of the room, where we keep the fridge-freezer, is rounded to accommodate the shape of the hallway. This corner was badly affected by damp so last week the building team stripped off the plaster both inside and out, our privacy being slightly protected by some plastic sheeting.

Today was the day for the plasterers to come and replaster the wall. I thought they might be doing other work as well because 5 days have been set aside for the plastering. After breakfast I tidied up and covered everything with dust sheets and at 8 am retired to the back room with Freya, awaiting the ring on the newly installed doorbell.

I was still waiting at 9:30 and decided to call in to find out what was happening. “Oh, they’ll be along,” I was told. “It’s just the corner that needs doing. They’ll be along nearer lunchtime.” Great, thanks. I wish I had been told. I could have taken things more gently or perhaps done some shopping.

As I write this, it is 2:15 pm and there is still no sign of the plasterers. We have been shut up in the back room all this time apart from a brief foray to make a sandwich for lunch. I think this is definitely a poor show and will mention it if we are asked to assess their performance.

Meanwhile, the wait goes on…


What I refer to as the back room is theoretically the bedroom. It looks out onto the overgrown back garden through a big window and, lacking heating, becomes so cold in winter that Tigger nicknamed it Siberia. This is why we moved the bed into the front room because even with an electric blanket I often couldn’t sleep because of the cold.

Siberia is 10 feet 6 inches long and 9 feet 4 inches wide at the door end though halfway along one of the longer walls the room widens to about 10 feet. As you can imagine, once the kingsize bed is in place there is not much room for anything else though as the ceiling is 9 feet 2 inches high, we could possibly build upwards.

The window is 7 feet tall and 4 feet wide. That is just the window itself, not including the surround. It is a sash window and the wood has shrunk with age making it very draughty. When the wind blows, the curtains flutter. Because the property is Georgian and has protected status, the windows cannot be replaced or altered. This adds to the Siberian cold in winter. Window inspection is on the refurbishment list so perhaps something can be done to improve matters.

At 2:48 pm I receive a phone call that the plasterer is on his way to see me. “See me”? Not a good sign. The plasterer and his mate duly arrive. I show them the section of stripped wall in the hallway.

“Ooh no, can’t plaster that,” says the plasterer.

We go inside and I show them the wall from my side.

“Ooh no, can’t plaster that,” says the plasterer.

He explains that the surface cannot be plastered as it is and that he will have to order boards to pin to the joists first.

“We’ll be back Thursday. Or maybe Friday,” he states.

So I have waited in all day, imprisoned in Siberia for… what? To be told the job cannot be done for a week. I’ll leave you to imagine my feelings as I would rather think about something else.

This at least left me free to go to meet Tigger. She had decided that now was a good time to “float”. You may remember my account of her previous flotation. I went down to Southwark and waited in Clinks bar for her to arrive. Then we bussed it back to Islington and went to Pane Vino in Chapel Market for supper.

Sometimes life resembles wading through treacle and this is such a moment.


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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3 Responses to Getting plastered

  1. Chris says:

    “building team stripped off the plaster both inside and out, our privacy being slightly protected by some plastic sheeting”

    Is your flat actually still secure from intruders? It certainly doesn’t sound like it from your description. If this is the case, surely having to wait a week for the work to be done is totally unreasonable.

  2. SilverTiger says:

    The security risk is equivalent to having an extra window, I suppose. The joists are so close together that no one could squeeze between them and would have to saw or smash them. The area is also protected by the main front door which is kept locked. No dwelling is 100% secure and most are far less secure than that.

    Leaving us in that condition is of course unacceptable but there doesn’t seem to be an immediate solution.

  3. Pingback: Left high and dusty « SilverTiger

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