I like to think I am the ideal customer as far as workmen are concerned.
I keep them supplied with plentiful cups of tea
and coffee during their working day and try very hard to remember who takes tea, who prefers coffee, who has milk, who likes sugar and who reckons he is sweet enough already. Sometimes I get it wrong - but then I excuse myself on the basis that I am, after
all, Only Human.
I also take an interest in their work which I am sure they appreciate. I now know the difference between an acrow and an architrave, understand
the importance of a lintel and have watched in wonder as Luke the plasterer filled in gaps between walls and doors with expandable foam filler.
touch!” he warns me - but too late as I simply couldn’t resist. I whip my finger away from the foam in double quick time but there is a tell-tale smudge of the Sticky Stuff on it. Luke says it is a devil to remove. I hide my hand in my pocket.
I am, you can tell, In Denial.
You may be wondering what is happening at our house. And so very close to Christmas too. It’s our latest scheme to make life
a little easier for Mr B and me - the Door Widening Project will enable smoother passage between rooms for Mr B’s wheelchair. We are at the end of Week One and I am doing my best to stay positive through all the noise, the dust and the disruption to
anything approaching Normal Life. Mr B alternates between Resigned and Grumpy, depending on (I) whether he can hear Homes Under The Hammer on TV above the noise and (ii) the length of time the front door is open, thus letting cold air sweep through the house.
On Days One and Two, there were times when we had to take ourselves into the kitchen, close the door on the chaos and stay there, imprisoned like birds in a cage, gazing
out of the window at the Outside World. I, Nosey Parker that I am, enjoy gazing out of the window at passers-by rather more than Mr B. I also have a carrier bag full of windfall apples, gifted by friends Ian and Sallie, to be peeled, cooked and frozen which
keeps me busy for a goodly while. Mr B watches the Peeling Of Apples and says he is hankering after apple crumble. His wish, I tell him, is my command. At least, I hastily qualify, in Matters Crumble Related - I don’t want him to harbour Great Expectations.
The workmen cannot be faulted for their care and consideration - every day when they finish work they clear up after themselves and ask me if I am happy with their work so
far. Nevertheless, every day after they have departed I find myself sweeping up, washing the floor, dusting the window sills. It is the only way I feel as if I can regain control of my home. Mr B watches my endeavours and reminds me that there will be more
dust, more noise, the following day. I just keep on dusting.
I now feel strongly that all new homes should be built with doorways wide enough to accommodate a
wheelchair, so future-proofing them for owners who may one day grow old and frail. I am sure somebody, somewhere will come up with a reason why this can’t be done but I’m not prepared to concede the point.
Obviously had our doorways been wheelchair accessible in the first place, I wouldn’t have to deal with dust and disruption.
But, then again, I wouldn’t know the difference between an acrow and an architrave - and life would be so very much, well, poorer.