The whole house has fallen silent.
Okay, it’s silent apart from the sound of a programme called The Repair Shop
at Christmas which is blaring out on the TV (Mr B likes his TV at full volume) - but there is no banging, no scraping, no vacuum cleaner hoovering up dust. In short, the workmen have all departed and The Doorway Widening Project is finally finished. Unless
you, too, have had building works going on in your home, you cannot imagine how relieved we are.
Not that all the men who have worked on our project over
the past three weeks have not been totally helpful, hard-working and general Good Eggs because they certainly have. I haven’t envied them their task especially as the whole job has been quite a relay with the builders giving way to the plasterer who
in turn handed over the baton to the wall-paperer who passed it on to the painter and decorator - with others such as the electrician arriving for cameo performances and the Big Boss putting in occasional appearances just to throw the proverbial spanner in
the works as and when he felt it necessary.
As each new face turned up on the doorstep to introduce himself, I knew I would have to discover and remember
what Magic Beverage he would need to keep him happily hydrated throughout the working day. Each one would survey the work carried out so far by his predecessors and try to work out where on earth to start. Phone calls were sometimes needed for the purposes
of clarification. I mostly kept out of it, on the basis that I would only confuse matters further. I know my place.
It was left to Quentin to cross the finishing
line. What do you need to know about Quentin? Well, shall we say that Quentin liked to chat. A lot. Over the course of his two days with us, we learnt all about his family life, his long distance relationship, the extremely expensive doll he is buying his
young daughter for Christmas, his views on social mobility and his verdict on various TV programmes. He and Mr B bonded over football, even though Mr B, as everyone knows, supports Spurs while Quentin is a proudly self-confessed Gooner. “I thought you
said you were a football fan!” taunted Mr B - Quentin, fortunately, took this in the spirit it possibly wasn’t intended. He was Mr Affable, through and through, as well as a hard worker. He could work, talk, discuss footie with Mr B and drink coffee
(“coffee, two spoons of sugar, milk then add the hot water”) all at the same time.
We will miss his chatter - but, how good it is to have our
house back! At last I can start pinning up strings across the walls on which to hang our Christmas cards. It hasn’t been the same, collecting them in a growing pile on the sideboard; in years past as each line filled up it was a sign that Christmas was
approaching. Still better late than never and tomorrow Team Baldwin will arrive, bringing plenty of Christmas cheer with them. They will clamber up into the loft for me to retrieve the tree, the boxes of baubles, the candle decoration for the mantlepiece,
the star for the front window, the garlands for each doorway.
We will celebrate Jack’s 20th birthday with a take-away curry and birthday cake. There
will be plenty of chat and much jollity.
Quentin would be in his element…