The things nightmares are made of

It’s been over a year since we had the builders in. That’s the right phrase isn’t it? I’ve only finally recovered. I think I will be scarred for life. But I have reached that stage where I could actually consider having builders in again.

At the time though, my excitement at having an extension I have to admit dwindled by the day.

I stupidly escaped to Cambodia for three weeks in the vain hope it would all be over when I got back. Instead I came home to a demolished kitchen and a living room that looked as though squatters had moved in. My lovely husband had shoved everything onto the couches, into corners, and in piles on the floor. I stared aghast.  The corner of the room that had once housed my couch and a little table with romantic candles now had a makeshift sink and washing machine. My living room in a matter of days had become lounge, kitchen, bathroom and junk room.

Image

‘The tumble dryer finally broke,’ says my husband.

It just gets worse.

‘But we’re on the way.’

To madness I find myself thinking.

‘The builders arrive every morning at 7, so you’ll need to be up.’

‘But I’m jet lagged,’ I whine.

Oh God, did I agree to this. Can we go back?

‘Oh and the bathroom is coming down today. Come and meet the builders and see the portaloo.’

Why is making it all sound so glamorous? I just want to lie down and die. I’m so jet lagged. I don’t want to meet builders.

‘This is Dan, and Steve,’ says Andrew introducing me.

My lovely garden looks like a building site. I look at the portaloo and want to cry.

Image

 

Lovely Dan
Lovely Dan

‘I need to lie down,’ I say only to find the bed unmade, Why is it men cannot make a bed? Is it that hard?

‘Well, there’s no point, we’ll be getting in it again later. ‘Says Andrew casually.

I groan.

Now, I should tell you I am one of those women who clean up as people work. If Andrew does DIY, I’m there with the vacuum cleaner, vacuuming the dust as it falls. I’m dead serious. I can start working and if there is some mess on the floor I have to remove it otherwise I can’t concentrate.

To top it all. I’m right in the middle of a novel.

‘How can I write?’ I moan.

Honestly I’ve never moaned so much in my life.

‘You’ll cope,’ says Andrew.

He’s very understanding as you can tell.

I take another look at the living room and decide we can’t live like this and spend the next few hours sorting everything out. Dan and Steve keep looking at me and I see fear in their eyes. Oh yes, things are about to change. I’m home now.

I had these builders in my home for six months. During that time I had five periods. It’s no fun, trying to change a tampon in a portaloo when the builders are sitting outside it having their tea break.

I wrote a complete novel with them here. It was ‘Pink Wellies and Flat Caps’

PAW1001_Kindlecover_nobleed_198x128

Dan became my own personal little helper. He would run out and bring in the washing when it rained. He took in parcels for me and the whole six months had me calling, ‘Dan,’ numerous times.

Then we had a little holiday. Just a week but we were so stressed that it became an emergency to have a break. We stayed at a lovely cottage in Cornwall which had a bathroom and a kitchen. I was in heaven. While we were away we arranged for the heating people to come in to install our new heat pump…

Right, I need a minute, a cup of tea and a Valium if I am to carry on. Just the word heat pump reminds me of that horror. Forget Freddie Kruger and nightmare on Elm Street. Forget Norman Bates and Pyscho. Just think heat pump and a company called Verdalec. There I’ve said the name. I’ve actually said it. I have never wished evil on anyone but If I could perform spells on these people I would do it tomorrow.  We were doing well. Dan was wonderful. Steve was excellent. Kevin our main builder was brilliant. Everything was going according to plan and then along came Verdalec. There I have said it twice now. I emailed Dan to ask if they had been and whether the heat pump was installed. It took a long time for lovely Dan to reply. Of course, I understand why now. Finally, a text.

‘Hi Lynda, yes they have been. They were everywhere so we couldn’t do much.’

Oh yes, anything to get out of working and having another tea break with doughnuts. Of course, I was later to discover that lovely Dan had queried their mess and had actually gone behind them to clear up so it wouldn’t look too bad when we returned home. Bless his cotton socks. Because I cannot begin to tell you what it looked like when we returned home and this was after Dan had cleared up. I walked into the living room and my stomach sank. I don’t know why. It had looked like this for some time now but after leaving the lovely cottage in Cornwall it just looked a hundred times worse somehow. I went upstairs to take our suitcase and unpack and must have groaned so loudly because Andrew and Bendy came rushing upstairs. If only cats could talk. Bendy would probably tell you he seriously considered leaving home. The poor little bugger had no cat flap and was forced to stay out all night. His food was left outside as there was nowhere in the house for it. His kitchen had gone, which had once been his sleeping place. Our little cuddles on the loo (best not to go into those) had gone, as we no longer had a loo. Plus these big burly men came every day and scared the shit out of him so that he spent most of his time under the duvet. I can tell you I came close to joining him often. We were now all staring at the hole in Andrew’s office door and the scratches along the stair wall. I leaned on the bannister for support and nearly went down the whole flight of stairs as it came away in my hands. Andrew rescued me. I stumbled into the bedroom for a good cry and then saw the black footprints up the bedroom wall leading to the loft.

Bendy explores the building work.
Bendy explores the building work.

‘I’m phoning Dan,’ said an angry Andrew.

‘It’s not his fault,’ I hiccup.

‘Come on let’s go into the summer-house,’ he suggested. ‘That’s our sanctuary.’

Now Is the time to hide behind the cushions. This is worthy of a movie, I tell you. The summer-house was the one place not touched by builders. A place to relax, escape it all. I opened the door, a cup of tea in one hand and my laptop in the other. I opened the door and gasped. Someone had been in there. You know how you just know these things? Of course there were the giveaway signs. Bearing in mind I had cleaned the summer-house thoroughly before going away. It wasn’t just a feeling that someone had been in there, it was more the dirty footprints that gave it away and the throw on the chair all messed up. Of course the mud on the carpet was a complete giveaway.

‘I’ll kill them,’ I cried.

‘Right,’ said Andrew with that look on his face when he means business.

Oh, why did I ever go on holiday?

Dan explained that there had been about six people who came to fit the boiler and heat pump. That they made some mess and that he queried it but they said some mess is to be expected. So Dan, vacuumed and did his best to put the stair bannister back.  Andrew then left a stroppy message on the answer phone of the director of the heating company. Two days later someone came to see me and the damage. We went upstairs and he looked at the door and the boiler.

‘Well you can see the size of that.’ He said.

For one awful minute I wondered what it was we were talking about the size of. Fortunately it was the same thing. The boiler.

There in moments in life when you have to bite your lip isn’t there? This was one of them. I chose not to bite mine.

‘Yes,’ I said.

‘Well it was difficult for the guys to get that in here. It’s a small cottage in all fairness.’

‘Yes but in all fairness, the guys could have removed the door,’ I said.

He looks thoughtful.

‘How can you be sure hour guys did it?’

Now I saw red. Was he blaming it on Dan or the other builders?

‘I’ve had my builders here for three months. Dan even tells me when he spills water anywhere. I somehow think he would let me know if he bashes my door in. Your guys did it.’

‘Okay, we’ll obviously pay for the damage but you understand that damage happens when things like this are done.’

Finally he went. After agreeing to the pay the cost of painting the bedroom wall and fixing the door. I then decide not to go away again while I have work being done in the house. Of course it stupidly didn’t occur to me that they could do just as much damage when I’m in the house as when I am out of it.

Even this sight of me doesn't drive the builders away
Even this sight of me doesn’t drive the builders away

To be continued…

Missing Cats and Book Awards

Hello my friends.

I’m like a cat chasing her tail these days and I’m getting very dizzy. Where does the time go? This year has started off with such a bang that I am walking around shell shocked. I finished ‘Pink Wellies and Flat Caps’thinking this is going to be such a crap novel. I had builders crashing around me the whole time. My house was a mess. I was living without a bathroom and a kitchen for nearly six months while trying to write a novel in my small summer house.DSCF7249
DSCF7250
What a saviour that little room became. But I felt it was going all wrong. I spent so much time stressed and in floods of tears. I had plumber leaks and a garden that resembled a building site and a stressed out cat to top it all. But, ‘Pink Wellies’PAW1001_Kindlecover_nobleed_198x128 got finished and was finally released to fab reviews and within four weeks of its Kindle release it went into the top ten of the humour charts on Amazon. To say I was stunned is an understatement. I just kept watching the sales every day in a state of shock and just before the paperback was released the Kindle version hit number one. I was overwhelmed. I have been even more overwhelmed by the support of my lovely readers. Thank you so much. In the past few weeks ‘Coconuts and Wonderbras’ has entered the charts again at number 6 and ‘Croissants and Jam’ at number 8 in the humour charts.
I am getting such wonderful feedback from you all and I cannot tell you how much that helps. Sitting alone in a little room with made up characters can get a bit lonely, especially as they don’t talk back. So hearing from my readers on facebook and Twitter so makes my day.
Back to where the time goes. I keep wishing I could go back to all those yesterdays that are just sitting there. If you have read Stephen King’s ‘The Langoliers’ then you will know what I mean. I don’t even own a Television and still there is not enough time.
Again thank you for all your support and I hope by late summer to be giving you more laughs. In the meantime I am going to attempt to write a new humourous blog posting every week as many have said they have missed them.
Now it is time to hug my little cat Bendy who managed to get himself in the cupboard and slide down the back and it has taken us almost an hour to trace his cries and rescue him 🙂 Oh and I have been nominated for The People’s Book Awards.logo3
I’d be thrilled if you voted for me here
Thank you.
xx

Almost Cholera, but not quite…

Klik hier voor meer gratis plaatjes
Hello there peeps, sorry for keeping you waiting. You know how it is? You don’t? Well, I came back from Cambodia and am about to dish the dirt as promised except a few days after my return I went down with a shocker of a cold. Now, let me know tell you dear friends that I recall the bugger who passed this onto me quite clearly. I can still see his red nose as he coughed and spluttered behind me on the aeroplane. Rest assured I shall be taking my revenge before the week is out. That is, of course, if my lovely husband Andrew, who now sneezes uncontrollably, has not murdered me. Ah, the pleasure of returning home from holiday. Even our tummies are rebelling somewhat and trying to rid themselves of the last vestige of Cambodia it seems. So,let’s crack on with the show then, I mean Blog. Sorry, you can see I have been resting with Miranda Hart, not personally of course but if anyone can arrange that, let me know. Before we begin I should just say that Cambodia was one of the best countries I have ever visited and I am deeply eager to return again and what follows is my usual light-hearted view on life. Enjoy.
Now, where did I get to? Ah yes arrival at my stepson’s apartment with the building work, which I was convinced would not happen on Boxing Day. Yes, well, never presume. I woke at 7.a.m and for a minute I think I am alone. The beds in the hotel and at my stepson’s are so wide that you can lose your partner. After a bit of feeling around however, I soon found Andrew and let out a big sigh of relief. Any hope of getting back to sleep is dashed by the banging and drilling next door and we get up to enjoy Boxing Day in Cambodia. The rest of the day is spiffing, thank you. That evening we meet some friends of my stepson and his wife who are also holidaying and go for dinner. Ah, first complication of the holiday. What can we eat? The web advice was that all the water is poison and to avoid like the plague. Apparently, we are told, the water if drunk will turn your hair to wire This came on good authority from a monk, well ex monk. As for the food, make sure the hotel you’re in uses good hygiene. Yes, well this isn’t a hotel and I just don’t think it is common practice to ask to see the kitchens here or to meet the chef.
‘Don’t worry, the food is fine here,’ my stepson’s friends assures me. We quickly discuss it and decide that Pizza will be fine and bravely order. Oh dear… That night feeling perfectly fine I decide to stop being so nervous about tummy bugs

Our lovely dinner with Pizza and all.
and tell Andrew I am going to stop thinking about things like that. He agrees it is a good idea. The following morning I tell myself the nausea I am feeling is all in my mind and Andrew confirms this.

‘I feel fine and we ate the same thing. You are bringing this on yourself. Do you want to come with me later? I’m meeting James in his lunch break and we are going for a curry. The whole thing with a pint of beer only costs three dollars.’

My husband, ever the caring partner. Just the word curry sends my stomach into turmoil and I open my mouth to decline but instead rush to the loo to be violently sick instead with my imaginary upset stomach. Oh god… Andrew checks I am okay and then potters off. I am sick several times while he is out and several more times when he gets back. A trip to the temples the following day is cancelled and I find myself pining for home and a safe meal. I lay on my enormous bed feeling very sorry for myself and fighting down the nausea. Visions of being airlifted to a Bangkok hospital haunt me. Oh, God am I to die in Cambodia? A bit embarrassing if I do. What will Andrew tell people? I stress to him should this happen, he is to say I caught Cholera. One has to save face after all. That night I start to feel better and would have slept quite well had Andrew and his son not been throwing up. I decide not to ask Andrew if it is all his mind. The next day we look a little like the walking dead and decide to frighten the local community and take a walk.

All three of us looking the worse for wear. Daughter in law Lisa escaped, but only just.
In the end a very good idea for it certainly blew away the building dust and by the morning we were more than ready for a visit to the floating village. Our Tuk Tuk driver collected us on time and off we went down the Cambodian motorway. A lovely smooth ride until we hit the dirt track leading to the floating village. Let me tell you a trip in a Tuk Tuk through a Cambodian village needs some doing. Several times I was sure my womb dropped out and I didn’t have the heart to ask if we could return to retrieve it. I gave thanks to God that I didn’t wear contacts because after a couple of bumps in a Tuk Tuk on a bumpy road and you nearly lose your eyeballs let alone your contacts and trust me do not and I cannot stress this enough, do not go braless. It really isn’t worth it. Plus, of course, it is disrespectful in a country such as this. I rubbed my head with 4head and prayed the floating village wasn’t much further. Andrew meanwhile was attempting to photograph water buffalo as we jogged along. I pushed my hat back onto my head in the manner of Karen Blixen in ‘Out of Africa’ and attempted to look cool and glamorous. I failed miserably.
‘We here,’ shouts the Tuk Tuk driver and we both stare perplexed at what looks like border control. I look around me and see a tiny river. That surely cannot be the floating village. Then I realise we have to pay to enter the floating village. Neither of us had anticipated this and did not bring much money with us. It is 15 dollars each and we do not have enough. The Tuk Tuk driver pays the excess and we drive through to the next village, Andrew mumbling the whole way that he really doesn’t understand what we actually paid for. Five minutes later we find out. Several boats no correction, several things that look like boats sit bobbing on the water waiting to take the tourists (us) through the floating village. I look at Andrew and back to the logs that make up the boats.

‘Is that what we have paid for?’

I ask breathlessly.

‘Yes, let’s go.’

Answers Andrew.
I take another look at the boat, take a deep breath and in the manner of Karen Blixen about to go on Safari, I attempt to board…
To be continued.