Floored by surprise

Today was a fairly quiet day on the building site that passes for our home. We knew the tilers were coming to tile the kitchen area and the bathroom. I was ready for them when the bell rang at 8:15 am. They trooped in dragging their toolkits in wheeled boxes. I shut myself up in the back room with Freya who seemed content enough.

I peeked out a few times to see how the work was going and was pleased to see that the tiles were placed very quickly. The tilers were East Europeans and rather uncommunicative. It may be because of language difficulty but they tell you little and on the whole treat you like an irrelevance. How different from the window man yesterday with whom I had a conversation on a wide range of topics, both personal and general.

I wasn’t expecting them to lay any flooring but they did. I happened to emerge from the back room citadel when the volume of noise decreased and found them, as I expected, preparing to leave. They had closed off the kitchenette with tape, rather like a police crime scene, and hanging from the tape was a notice warning me not to walk on the floor until 3 pm. Similar taping barred the bathroom to my access. They hadn’t bothered to ask whether I might want to use the toilet before putting the bathroom out of commission for 3 hours.

The flooring material used is latex. That’s not as kinky as it sounds. I believe that latex is mixed with a quick-drying glue to form a “self-levelling” floor material. It guards against splashes trickling down to the flat below as well as providing some sound-proofing. When I tried the floor surface of the kitchenette with a cautious finger at 3:10 pm, I found the surface smooth, dry and hard. The bathroom on the other hand hadn’t set: some of the material adhered to my finger. Perhaps this was because the room is very small and lacks ventilation. They hadn’t even thought to turn on the extractor fan.

I went to meet Tigger at work and took the opportunity to return some of the cardboard boxes that they had lent us. I said I was worried about the bathroom floor as it didn’t seem to have set properly. I tried ringing the managers but only got their voice mail. Typical. By the time we got home, at nearly 5 pm, the bathroom floor had dried. Quite a relief. Just as well I hadn’t been able to get through to the management, perhaps.

Around the edges of the new flooring, silicone paste has been squeezed, like cream on a cake. I assume this is to protect the edge for when they extend the flooring. We soon discovered that this stuff had not set and sticks to shoes or paws if you walk on it. They had not bothered to warn us of this. Poor English is one thing, thoughtlessness of this kind quite another. Tigger who, without ever being a Girl Guide, seems to magic solutions out of thin air, thought to cover the paste with adhesive parcel tape. That protects the paste and stops us and Freya getting it all over us.

We had set ourselves a specific task for this evening but felt that we owed ourselves a break first, especially as I had missed lunch. So we paid a visit to Pane Vino in Chapel Market and had a tasty Italian supper despite the early hour.

Then it was back to the Tiger’s Nest for that specific task: to move the bed into the back room where it was supposed to be. That may sound easy. It was not. We first had to play “Big Chess” and move things around to make room. Or rather, we had to move things to make room for making room. I don’t know why it is but whenever you move things around, you end up with less space than when you started. But the bed is now in… well, the bedroom. Not in its final position (that was just too much to expect at this juncture) but at least in the right room.

I have no idea what the builders will be doing tomorrow. If they are going to put down flooring in the rest of the front room they are going to have a difficult job as there is still a lot of stuff in there. (This is why we moved the bed out.) They will just have to move it around themselves as there is nowhere for it to go and a limit to what we can do with so little room for manœuvre.


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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2 Responses to Floored by surprise

  1. Chris says:

    So, let me get this straight. The first time you looked at the bathroom floor, it had not yet set. Later, it had.

    What about the time in between that is unnaccounted for?

    So, is there something you’re not telling us? And am I to assume that your bathroom will for evermore have a little set of cat paw prints running along the floor?

  2. SilverTiger says:

    The clue is in the paragraph beginning “I went to meet Tigger at work and took the opportunity to return some of the cardboard boxes that they had lent us.”

    By the time we got home home nearly two hours had elapsed, extending the nominal drying time by 66.67%.

    Freya remained in the back-room fortress while I was gone which was just as well because I didn’t know about the still sticky silicone cream until we got home.

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