Last Tuesday I received a phone call from the Council’s repairs division. The subject of the phone call was the builders’ scaffolding that was erected at the rear of the house to enable necessary repairs to a leak in the roof. The work was completed months ago and since then the scaffolding, though no longer needed, has remained in place.
I have mentioned before that certain departments of the Council seem to have adopted me as unpaid or honorary concierge of this building and from time to time ring to ask me to be on hand to admit sundry repairs teams and other agencies. So it was on this occasion: could I be on hand on Monday morning to admit the scaffolders coming to (finally) remove the scaffolding? Such a task is hardly onerous and I readily agreed.
Accordingly, this morning we rose from our slothful bed, had breakfast and prepared to face the day. In Tigger’s case, this meant hurrying off to catch a bus to the City and her workplace and for me, it meant sitting and keeping myself occupied while waiting for the scaffolders’ lorry to appear outside.
The scaffolders arrived at 8:42 and, as this team was not the team who installed the scaffolding, I showed the foreman the way to the rear of the house and their field of operations. Whereupon, to all intents and purposes, my work was done.
The scaffolders seemed a cheerful bunch. Throughout their work I could hear them chatting and laughing, to the accompaniment of a buzz of electric spanners unbolting the scaffolding clamps.
Some 50 minutes later, I heard the front door close with a thud and the scaffolders’ lorry drive off. It was 9:34. I could now cast aside my concierge’s persona and attend to other matters.
It so happens that this week is laundry week. Yesterday evening, Tigger gathered together an impressive pile of items to be laundered and packed them in the shopping trolley. Well, I say in but in fact there was more than could be packed away inside it and the overflow had to be stuffed into a pillowcase on the shopping trolley. This picture will show you the result:
I might add that Tigger is a whiz at packing and I very much doubt whether the laundry, when I collect it, will be as neatly stowed as this.
We are currently using the laundry service of a dry cleaner’s in Arlington Way. I chose the quiet path there through Myddelton Square. It surprising how heavy a wheeled shopping trolley can be when loaded with laundry.
Angelz Dry Cleaners
I reached the shop, called Angelz, at last and deposited the load into their keeping. It would be ready tomorrow evening but as I have an appointment in the afternoon, I arranged to collect it on Wednesday.
Pret A Manger
Nearby, in St John Street, is a branch of Pret A Manger. Tigger suggested that after delivering the laundry, I should go there and reward myself with a cup of hot chocolate or perhaps soup. The idea of hot soup in this cold weather was definitely appealing.
Pret’s hot shelves
Freed of my burden of laundry, I tripped lightly round to St John Street and consulted the hot shelves at Pret. They had three soups, one of which, tomato, was today’s vegetarian option.
Tomato is not my favourite but it was quite tasty, thick and hot. Just the job on a cold day.
After this pleasant interval I returned home where I must keep myself occupied until Tigger returns from the City around 7 pm.
Le Sang du Temps
I will spend some of that time reading. My current read (courtesy of Finsbury Library) is this 369-page crime thriller by Maxime Chattam, entitled Le Sang du Temps. In case you are wondering how an author with an English-sounding name comes to be writing in French, the answer is that Chattam is a nom de plume of Maxime Drouot. I have only just started reading the book so it’s too early to say whether it will turn out to be a good read.
Previous to this, I read L’Identité by Milan Kundera. Known best for his novel that was translated into English as The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Kundera is a Czech writer who moved to France and wrote his later novels, including L’Identité, in French. I found this book rather strange, especially the last section where it is not clear (to me, at least) whether what is recounted actually happens, is a fantasy or is some sort of joint hallucination shared by the two main characters. Someone somewhere knows the answer, I expect, but I am not in any hurry to find out!