This morning, over a second cup of breakfast tea, I was reading blogs and thinking up some of my usual annoying comments when the doorbell rang. I wasn’t expecting anyone, as my state of déshabillé would have suggested. My “Hello, hello?” on the entry phone elicited the response “Plasterers”. Oh ho, methought, yesterday’s meeting produced a result.
“Exactly what plastering?” I asked and received the answer “Kitchen and bathroom.” Oh well, it has to be done and is better than nothing.
Of course, we had not made ready as we had been told no work would be done before Friday. I rushed around, switching off the PC, grabbing a book to read, transferring Freya’s fruit-box bed and food tray and attempting to cover everything with dust sheets while one of the plasterers, a chap with very elementary English, disconnected the sink and moved it to one end of the room.
While this was going on, I managed, not without difficulty, climbing over furniture, to grab Freya, who had gone into hiding, and transport her into the back room. Just as we had got everything organized, Freya escaped from the back room, whose door does not close properly, and again went into hiding behind the fridge, bed and sink. Coaxing failed so I had to go in and fetch her.
One of the electric heaters delivered yesterday served to warm “Siberia” enough to render it habitable. I fired off an SMS to Tigger at work to let her know what was happening and she phoned me back. I said that in a way it was good that they had turned up unannounced as this had saved me worrying about it beforehand!
Today’s plans may have to be put on hold. For example, by a rare stroke of good fortune, I received a cheque from the Inland Revenue for overpaid tax and was anxious to deposit it in my bank account. This and other errands will have to wait.
There is nothing for it but to sit and read to the accompaniment of assorted noises off. I am nearing the end of A.N. Wilson’s biography of John Betjeman but fortunately I took it into my head yesterday to visit Waterstone’s at Islington Green and spend some of my hoard of book tokens.
I am not sure what I will read next. The choice is between The Form of Things by A.C. Grayling, whose books are beautifully written and thought provoking; The Meaning of it All by that human wonder, Richard Feynman; and Mary Warnock’s An Intelligent Person’s Guide to Ethics.
I may very well choose the latter. This is because if I read an “intelligent person’s” book and understand it, that gives me the pleasant feeling that I am intelligent. (If I don’t understand it, I can always claim it is badly written!)
There is only one thing missing from this bookish jail cell, namely the ability to make tea. On the other hand, too much liquid intake could prove embarrassing given that the bathroom is occupied. I have already had to ask to use the toilet and do not want to do so again too often.
It is now 9:45 am and it remains to be seen how long the work will take.
It is now 2:30 and I have had a word with one of the site managers. Earlier I was surprised to see the corner wall being plastered despite their saying it would not be. They have made a good job of it and it is a relief to have a wall again.
The site manager said he had been told not to do the wall until Friday but had received a phone call this morning telling him to get on with it. It seems that the chaps who called yesterday and received an earwigging from me have geed things up. Good!
From now on life will be hectic as work is scheduled every day from tomorrow until Friday next week. Tomorrow and on Monday the central heating is to be installed and on Tuesday, the new kitchen. Things are moving at last, it seems.
At around 4 pm, the plasterers tip-toed out. Well, at least, they didn’t bother telling me they were going. I guessed from the lack of noise and went out to investigate. One was still on the house doorstep talking on his mobile so I pointed to our door with an interrogative expression. “Is finished,” he said.
Back in the flat, Freya was gingerly exploring, no doubt expecting a fully armed plasterer to leap out from behind the fridge. I found a notebook with the owner’s name on the front in Cyrillic characters and ran to the door. The man on the mobile was still there so I handed it to him. “Is not mine,” he said, “but belongs to my friend.” Then he added helpfully “Tomorrow comes plumbers.”
I can’t wait.