HAVING THE BUILDERS IN

We’ve been staying this past week in the house of Elisabeth and Robert.   The builders are in, and as a result the place is incredibly noisy, dusty, chaotic.

The ground floor is uninhabitable.  Walls have been knocked down; the remaining walls are bare to  the brick.   There are holes in the floor.   Ceilings have all been removed.   To escape this you have to struggle through a plastic double curtain on the stairs to keep the dust out.   (This  doesn’t work.)   Everything, including you, becomes covered in a fine layer of dust, no matter how often surfaces are wiped.    The upper  floors are not too bad, except of course that everything from the ground floor is dislodged into them.  The attic itself was being decorated by Robert and John, so was not available to use.   Worst of all was the bathroom, where there were only floorboards through which light from the builders downstairs seeped up through the cracks.    Sometimes  when desperation made you chance going there, someone would be drilling at a point which felt as if it were directly under you, and you were convinced you were in imminent danger of collapsing in a very undignified heap right through the floor.

I thought the pair were coping very well.   The builders’ voices (in Polish) echo through the house.   They seem happy in their work with much laughter.  Their hammering, drilling, sawing is continuous.   Polish Radio can be heard everywhere in the house.   There are endless decisions, major and minor, to be made in every room.

It is, at present, a mess.   And yet … the basic house is of good proportion: sunny, light and quiet.  You can perceive, even among the dust and disorder, the bones of the new rooms beginning to emerge.

I was remembering Elisabeth’s first attempts at interior design as a teenager when she redecorated a bedroom for herself when Joanna vacated it to go to University.   Just using things we had in the house, and recruiting the help of her girlfriends to paint a stencilled wisteria on the walls, she created a room of such calm elegance and charm, I felt like moving into it myself!

Robert too has excellent taste (proof of which being that he married my daughter!), and a New Zealander’s abhorrence of anything too pretentious.   Although I don’t know if Elisabeth would claim just at the moment that she ‘can sew cushions’ (not that it matters since her mother can – or she can purchase them!)  – Robert can certainly buid wardrobes.

They have weeks to go but I have every confidence that they and the team they have hired will create a lovely home.

Rory and Sarah’s project is also coming to a successful conclusion and is very spacious and charming.   I look forward to visits to the capital and the completed houses of both my Southern children.   And if we have to do a little house / dog / baby sitting in exchange – well, that’s no great hardship, is it?

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About adhocannie
I am a good natured woman with a long memory and a swift tongue. I like loooking at things and thinking about them. Also food, clothes, travel, reading, sewing. I try to see the ridiculous in things, but sobriety of reflection keeps edgting in. I have husband, children, grandchildren, friends... I feel rich in things that matter. I am a happy exile. I like writing. I do not like talking about me (though I do.). You willl be much more interesting.

2 Responses to HAVING THE BUILDERS IN

  1. Carolyn says:

    Strange isn’t it. how we have so often been at similar points in life, as when we were both, although unknown to each other at the time, living near Grangemouth. We have both recently been dispensing words of encouragement and wisdom on what to us are the well known pit-falls and difficulties of having the builders, (or any workmen in).

    I wish I had the facility, by means of diary or blog, to look back on the years gone by and see how life usually does work out, despite the multitudinous challenges and difficulties faced along the way.

    I wish also that I’d written many of your lovely, poetic, thought-provoking, or reflective postings, alas, sadly this is not the case!

  2. adhocannie says:

    Yes, I can write the story, but you can sing the song!

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