As a result of Tigger’s reorganization, we were able to reduce the contents of the front room to what I consider a manageable minimum. The painters will have to shift the computer table and half a dozen boxes but apart from that their way is clear.
Freya and I are once more holed up in the bedroom, surrounded by the upturned bed, other items of furniture, Freya’s food bowls and litter tray. Did someone say claustrophobic? Let’s call it “cosy”.
In 25 minutes I will phone the famous office and report the water leak from the bathroom ceiling. It is intermittent and has dried up for the moment but fortunately has left a trail that I can point out as proof of what I say. It could be coming from the old water tank above a false ceiling in the bathroom or from our peculiar neighbour above.
The first painter has arrived. He was understanding about my putting their gear outside and happy to move the remaining furniture and boxes.
Painter number 2 agreed that the stains on the wall were from water leakage. I phoned the office and got put through to the site manager who said he would send someone. They must be getting to know me by now.
Freya was anxious when the painters arrived and I saw her peering out from between the clothes on the garment rack. I put her fruit-box bed beside me on the settee and here we sit, waiting out the siege.
In the meantime, I will tell you some more about Freya. The first time I saw her, in the house where she was being rehabilitated, I thought she was very beautiful. She is a grey tabby, pure, without any white patches, the perfect cat for a SilverTiger. I don’t know a lot about her history but from the few details I have and from observing her reactions I know she was not well treated.
Freya is nervous of all strangers but particularly afraid of men and this was a hurdle we had to overcome when she first came to live with me. I only had to make a movement, such as getting up from my chair and she would run away and hide. In fact, for the first few weeks, all I saw of her was her fearful face staring out fearfully from behind the furniture.
Little by little she came to trust me and is now very affectionate. She spends most of the night sleeping curled up against my legs and when the builders come, she is calmest when beside me as now. For my part I love her and feel her trust and affection to be a privilege. I regard it as a solemn commitment to look after her, to try to build up her confidence and chase away the bogeymen lurking from her previous life.
Hearing noises from the bathroom I went out to find a plumber investigating the leak. It’s irritating that they just walk in without so much as announcing their presence. Affixed to the front door is a folder containing a signing-in sheet and a pen. Visitors to the “site” (aka our home) can sign and and out but hardly anyone does so.
The fact that they just come in, do whatever it is they do and go away again without a greeting or word of explanation makes the “resident”, as I heard myself referred to, feel a contemptible irrelevance – a point to mention if we are asked our opinions later.
The plumber has departed. Not having a torch with him, I had had to lend him an electric lamp connected to a trailing socket and he announced the end of his visit by returning it. He told me that he couldn’t find the source of the leak and has left the matter with his supervisor. This is the same plumber who failed to do anything about the wonky bath. Not much of an advertisement for his profession.
For his part, painter number 2 says he has to get on with his job as they are working to schedule. If the leak is not cured he will paint over the damp which can hardly be a good way to proceed.
Two more plumbers have turned up to look for the leak. These have brought a flashlight with them. I took the opportunity to mention the wobbly bath. Their attitude was more positive than the previous plumber’s. I am now waiting to see whether they find the source of the leak and repair it.
The plumbers have left, having dealt with the leak, or so they say. They reckon that it was the old water tank that was dripping. They cannot remove it because our neighbour’s tank is in the way and is still in use. They have emptied the tank and as it is no longer connected that should solve the problem.
After the plumbers left, I went back to the citadel but then realized all was quiet. I went out to take a look. The painters had gone without bothering to tell me. The mess they left behind was almost as bad as Friday.
It was a choice of starting to tidy up now or go down to meet Tigger from work, something I have been unable to do very often recently. I set off for Borough, leaving Freya in the bedroom. It had become very warm in there during the day so I took a look at the central heating thermostat in the hallway. It was at 30 deg C, the maximum, whereas I had set it at 21. It can only be the painters but why set it so high?
When we returned home, Tigger took photos of the mess. I doubt whether anyone will show any interest in them but if no one complains, there will never be any improvement. The rules state quite clearly that the work team is supposed to clean up at the end of the shift. These people aren’t doing so, merely scattering their personal belongings everywhere.
A semblance of order has been restored, but there is paint, plaster and general grime everywhere. Cleaning up after the building work is finished will be a major task in itself.