This week, perhaps in response to my rubbing a lamp and wishing for a tool-belt wearing genie to arrive in a puff of smoke to finish off the many irritating little jobs left behind by departing builders, men dutifully arrived and issues were resolved.
Genies rarely give a specific time of arrival however, so Monday morning found my mum, O and I sat at the breakfast table prepared to wait in all day for the much anticipated arrival of UK Power Network – booked to address the issue our building company’s electrician should have foreseen in that our incoming supply to the house was not large enough to accommodate our new gadgetry.
At 8am on the dot we heard a sharp rap at the door.
“Excellent. They’re here early.” I said, turning to my mum. “With this done our day will be our own….”
“P!” Called O excitedly from his highchair.
“It’s not P…” I said gently as I made my way to the door. “P is long gone now. Its the electric men.”
I opened the door.
“P!” O squealed again.
“Wheres my mate?” a smiling P said before stepping past me into the house and making his way towards his giggling fan.
“I didn’t know you were coming…” I said as, defaulting to what was once my morning routine, I began dutifully spooning coffee granules and sugar into a mug.
“I’ve come to help K put in the fireplace” he explained “and I’ll take away my tools”
Mentally I gave the air a little punch. For all their teasing regarding C’s recent occupation of our snug the room has been, over this past three weeks, used as a cheap alternative by both K and P to the Big Yellow Safe Store and my patience had been beginning to wane. In fact, with the tools having caused inhibited access to the snug resulting in numerous blaspheme-inducing accidents combined with the water torture of having our bathroom completed in minute increments and I’ve started to worry about the resilience of my mental health. P’s timely arrival meant I could cancel the visit to a man in a white coat in which I planned to discuss the minimal triggers which have been flicking my own electrical switch accompanied by the most seething of rages. Bathroom cabinets off centre, radiator taps unconnected, shower heads unfixed, the inability to find anything.
“Ive just stopped looking” is S’s more measured response. “If I cant find it on first look I give up.”
Indeed it seems incredulous that in a house within which tools can be found in almost every nook and cranny….a hacksaw was discovered yesterday in the laundry basket for example….this morning I could not locate even one flat headed screwdriver. Progress, however, was to be made. I stirred P’s coffee with a sigh of relief and considered illustrating my appreciation further with a slice of Robot cake. 8.15am. Perhaps too early.
“Alright mate?” Said P turning towards O’s grinning face. “I see your hair hasn’t grown.”
“P!” O cried again.
“I know I’m P. I’ve known for years…”
I put his coffee down beside him and slithered into a seat round the back of the table usually reserved for waifs, it being positioned so close to the wall. My own seat, in which I’m oft instructed to take with a command from O of “Mummy, sit” had been offered in a similar way to the now out-ranking P.
“Have you had a chance to do any work on your place?” I asked.
“No” said P with a pat to his chest “I’ve had an infection then went on holiday. I went to stay with some friends in Norfolk.”
“Oh how lovely” I said.
“It wasn’t lovely” he spat back. “It was boring.”
“Theres nothing to do. Fields everywhere.” He took a gulp of his coffee and obliged the impatient O who had all the while been hellbent in an operation to curb all talk of holidays by the hopeful repetition of a one worded question.
“Alright mate. You stand there. Ill throw. You catch.” and in the manner of a practiced grandad he expertly unclipped O from his highchair.
“We went to this fair.” he continued eventually. “Everyone brought their dog and they all stood around looking at them. Weird.”
“Um on.” pressed O, “Ball” and talk of boring holidays was obligingly aborted.
Whilst the two of them continued with their game, another knock sounded and finding on this occasion the scheduled electricians I directed them to the snug where they proceeded to prepare for the dangerous sounding operation of cutting a live electric wire. Meanwhile O’s game was becoming a little stilted with a reluctant O daring to venture no further than the island to retrieve a dropped ball, apparently cautious of the high-vis wearing strangers lurking in the darkness beyond.
“Come on mate” said P reaching out for his hand “lets see what they are up to.” They made their way to the doorway.
“There they are” said P to his little companion “sat on the floor. Doing nothing.”
I couldn’t see whether they furnished P with a response but O at least seemed satisfied and so they ball game was resumed.
The door sounded again.
“That will be K” P took a hasty gulp at his coffee, “I’d better get on.” And to O’s dismay he followed K upstairs to begin his days work.
With amperage now, very quickly and with apparent simplicity after all that worry, upgraded to the desired 100 amps and the go ahead to get cracking again with the remaining tiling of the hall floor, a fireplace albeit ornamental installed in the bedroom, a surplus-to-requirement radiator removed and a shower head affixed …I’m happy.
I don’t quite know however, how to break it to O that P’s work is done…..