I thought to myself, because I do that sometimes. I talk to myself also (more than I should) but let’s not go there. I thought to myself, let’s write about this building work, after all it might be cathartic. Before I even wrote three words there were tears falling onto the paper blurring the words Okay, there would have been had it been on paper written in ink. In fact the words may well have been blurred by the scarlet red of my blood, so suicidal have I felt. But… there is always something good to be found. I don’t have to worry about dieting. It’s quite impossible to cook anything. The slow cooker is buried in brick-dust, the kitchen no longer exists and even heating up two TV dinners has become a skill. Balancing one on top of the other, making sure the dish covering one is just large for the top to take another TV dinner while continuing to rotate nicely. Wednesday night has become fish and chip night while Sunday has become Roast dinner down the pub. I buy the builders doughnuts and myself hot cross buns. I’m drinking copious amounts of wine (mostly because the doctor won’t give me Valium and wine is the next best thing) I don’t have to clean (no point) I use someone else’s bathroom as I don’t have one (luxury) and I always have a man about the place. Some of them are admittedly as good as useless but I have men never the less. I don’t have heating but I do have a small electric fan heater which we sit huddled over. I have found washing using a bucket isn’t so bad. I’m beginning to wonder what the fuss is about sinks. So between popping pain killers and laughing till I cry I am managing to stay sane amidst the chaos which begins every day without fail at 7.30. Come rain or shine I drag myself from my bed at 7 or earlier and am sitting in my tatty towelling robe when they arrive. They sadly realised quite early on that I am no Brigitte Bardot so why pretend? If Andrew can cope with the morning nightmare of me then so can they?
There is Mark, also known as ‘Dipstick Mark.’ Named thus by us. Dipstick Mark swaggers around all day swigging from his never-ending cans of Red Bull. I imagine he is flying by the end of the day and seems incapable of doing anything without an ensuing disaster. He plumbed in pipes for the heating and then forgot to turn the water on. We attempted to later that evening only to have a flood. Dipstick Mark returns to repair said damage and fits a tap in the bathroom so we have water upstairs. He then forgets to turn the water back on. When we do turn on the water we discover said tap has a leak. ‘Dipstick Mark’ almost flooded out our bathroom and ruined our new ceiling.
There’s lovely Dan, who I would adopt if I could. I’m not sure life will be the same once Dan goes and I won’t be able to shout ‘Dan,’ every time something doesn’t seem to work. Dan flies out to bring in the washing if it rains and takes in any deliveries. It’s like having my own manservant but without the ‘Mam’ bit.
There is lovely Kevin, the boss. He doesn’t say much but does plenty. There are two Steve’s otherwise known as sparky and the plumber. Not being versed in this language I spent several days waiting for someone called Sparky to arrive. I finally said to Dan,
‘I must keep missing Sparky. I haven’t met him yet.’
Dan patiently informed me that Sparky is the trade name for electrician. Well, I’m not to know that am I?
I’ve had four periods during the time they have invaded my home. Trying to insert a tampon while sitting in a portaloo with three builders outside having a tea break is no fun at all.
I’ve read builder nightmare stories of course but you never think it will happen to you. Oh, be afraid be very afraid. These builders are all the same. I’m actually lucky to still be alive after a rain of scaffolding came hurtling towards me. I have slipped on the mud inside the house not outside I hasten to add. Lovely Dan places the dust sheets neatly on the stairs every day showering the living room in a cloud of grey making the room resemble smoky Joes by the time he has finished. There was also the day they forgot to tell me that although I could see a cat flap hole on the outside, they had actually plastered it up on the inside. That night the cat couldn’t
The worst thing possible they have done is… filled my fridge with Snickers bar. The overwhelming temptation has proven too much and was a disaster for my diet. But I am proud to say I weakened only once and stole one. ‘You’re roughing it very well,’ said Kevin. Is that a gloat I see on his face?
But enough of my story telling. Have a look at the photos.
All donations to the new building fund to repair builder damage can be sent to me directly.