As I sat on the bottom step applying stripper to the last of the three banister posts, my body feeling better aligned than yesterday (Pilates) but my mind definitely not (my bag of shopping lies forgotten under a cafe table following my class) I lamented to C…
“There’s no sign of the bathroom delivery, chimney sweep or internet connection. It’s going to be one of those days….”
Earlier, doing my coffee rounds accompanied by slices of cheese on toast….it’s becoming a cushy number for tradesmen chez pebbledash…I discussed with K where we would put the bathroom when it did finally arrive.
“What about in his ‘workshop’?” he said, jerking his thumb towards the snug. “C’s only cutting a bit of skirting and he’s got a whole room!”
“It’s not going in there” I said adamantly “it will get damaged.”
“You should turf him out!” joked K, mischief glinting in his eyes.
“He is better there than anywhere else.” I replied. “We’ll store the bath in the lounge and the rest in the kitchen. We want to move the lounge sofa out so we can decorate so there will be space temporarily. Perhaps you and C would help move the sofa into the kitchen…..?”
A fifty year old (plus) K looked unimpressed at the suggestion.
“I’m knackered after moving all that plasterboard” he replied, hand rubbing his back theatrically.
“Fair enough….but it’s not going in the snug. It’ll get knocked and bashed. We’ll put it in the lounge. I’ll sit in the bath to watch TV if I have to” and accompanied by snorts of laughter I made my way downstairs figuring that its arrival would soon force them all to work something out.
With the simultaneous arrival of both chimney sweeps and bathroom…it being as I had predicted, one of those days, I called up to K to manage the delivery whilst I set the sweeps up in the lounge. Hampered by a hallway encumbered by the stacks of plasterboard destined eventually for the bathroom and a prostrate C sprawled on the floor putting finishing touches to the understairs cupboard I heard K ask for a hand….unnecessary for the delivery – there being two of his own team and one driver – but the instruction did at least encourage an oblivious C out of the main thoroughfare within which he was so ungracefully spread. With the mad flurry over, paperwork signed, bath blessedly delayed and K resuming his battle upstairs….the bathroom not being quite as straightforward as he’d hoped with the walls, composed of lath and plaster and brick pointed with lime and horsehair needing now to be battened and boarded in order to provide a sound base for tiling…..a blackened-faced sweep reappeared.
“There was one more thing I wanted to ask” he began “would you like to see the brush coming out of the chimney?”
“God yes!” I exclaimed.
He looked chuffed.
“It’s out there now”
Rushing outside, camera in hand, emitting girlish squeals I was followed by a more reservedly inquisitive C.
“Whats all the fuss?” he asked as I clicked animatedly away. “Its just a brush”. But he stayed and watched, as I did, as it cleared our chimney of ancient soot.
Excitement over, the sweeps …a father and son from the ‘oldest chimney sweeping family in the UK’ it was boasted…moved on to the snug chimney to repeat the process as I continued with my post and banister…..the latter sanding back rewardingly. Meanwhile C, appearing to be steadfastly avoiding the mural hanging in the WC much to my disappointment, decided to crack on with plying the hallway in preparation for the tiling. First, though, the mountainous pile of stuff stored in it needed to be moved. The stack of leftover reclaimed floor, for which we have not yet decided upon a use, we together manhandled into the loft. Bits and bobs were plonked irritatingly in the lounge adding to the clear out needed next week before its makeover commences but a home still needed to be found for the weighty pile of slate tiles. I watched C hump a pack up the stairs into the open plan bathroom/bedroom before hearing a territorial K let out a cry.
“You’re having a laugh aren’t ya?”
C stood still, arms downstretched, shoulders curving under the weight of the pack.
“I need to get the hallway cleared” he said.
“Put them in your room!” cried K, somewhat unreasonably considering they were destined for upstairs. C meekly pointed this out. “I thought it would save you the job” he said, pack still hung from his arms “if they have to be moved best to move them only the once”
“I appreciate it…but they can’t come in here. No way. We’ve got no room”
“O’s room?” C asked tentatively.
“No.” I said firmly.
Reluctantly C thumped back downstairs, biceps straining and,stacking the pack carefully on its side, cleared a space in which to carefully manouvre the rest.
“You are not to move those packs again.” I instructed him once finished. “K and his team can worry about getting them upstairs next time” and with an appreciative chuckle C set about plying the floor.
Meanwhile K was busy trying to rig up some kind of temporary shower for S, O and I. Once finished he joined C for a coffee to mark the end of the day. Placing his empty cup down he reminded me about a valve he had put on the temporary pipework.
“Oh, and use the bedroom door,” he said “not the bathroom one as the bath is in the middle of the room”
“How very Hotel du Vin” I said.
“I thought so myself” and with a wink and a wave he was off.