After a relaxed weekend, today saw a resumption of building work. According to the schedule, the bathroom furniture was to be replaced. It seemed safe to assume that the back room would not be involved and that Freya and I could take refuge there. To be on the safe side we tidied up in the front room and covered what I could with the remaining dust covers, the plasterers for some reason having taken the big ones away with them. Tigger went off to work leaving me to set up house with Freya in the back room.
Freya soon sensed that trouble – as she must see it – was brewing and became nervous. I put her litter tray and food and water bowls in the back room and then fetched her fruit-box bed to which she has become attached. I coaxed her out of hiding in the front room and carried her into the shelter. I then had things to do and could hear her crying from inside the closed room.
The plumbers arrived and set to work with a good deal of noise. For one thing, they decided it was necessary to smash the old cast iron bath. Freya disappeared under the clothes racks. Noise also travelled along the central heating pipes and at moments sounded as if it was caused inside the room.
Eventually Freya decided it was safe to return to her fruit box where she dozed while I read. As an added complication, there is work being done on the outside of the building front and back and scaffolding is being erected. Workmen in hard hats thus keep appearing in front of the window and because it is a sunny day, their moving shadows are cast into the room.
The estimated time of completion of today’s work is 1:30 pm by which time I shall be ready for lunch and a cheering cup of tea. It is now 10:45 am.
The work took longer than estimated. The plumber finally left at 3:15 pm. The work – including a new bath and toilet – was all done but for one detail. We decided to keep the old washbasin because it was bigger than the new one. Unfortunately, there were problems reinstalling it, partly because the walls are in bad condition, so we cannot use it until the plumber returns tomorrow to check that it has set properly.
Though the workmen make valiant efforts to clear up their mess, they inevitably leave a certain amount of dirt behind them. It is necessary for Henrietta – as we have named our vigorous new vacuum cleaner – to finish the job.
Then there is lunch and, more particularly, the fact that I haven’t had any. So there is plenty to do before we can say that we are (literally) “done and dusted”.
Just as I was the middle of washing, the doorbell rang. It was a member of the management team, come to check the work. I had felt happy on Friday because everyone had told me that installation of the central heating was the worst day and it was over. The news this afternoon is that tomorrow will be another bad day. Not only are they installing the kitchen but they are also checking the windows and possibly taking them out to repair them. Where, I wonder, are we supposed to go if all rooms are involved? It looks as if we will end up in the bathroom, I sitting on the toilet, Freya in the bath.
When Tigger returned I gave her the glad news and we then realized we had to do something about the back room. There was a big wardrobe, loaded with other stuff, in front of the window and very little room for manœuvre. So we had no option but the play “Big Chess”, moving furniture and boxes here and there in order to clear the window and make room for people working on them.
To give you some idea of the problem, I will quote a remark made by the plumber today: “This is the smallest bathroom I have ever worked in!” The rest of the flat is small too, making it difficult to make room for the work.