After Dave and James left the other day, having posted the previous shots, I was supping a beer and looking at all the fine work we had done. A little nervous, to be fair (excuse any slightly whimsical or Victorian turns of phrase – I’m reading “Johnathan Strange and Mr Norrell” at the moment, which is rather fabulous, and I’ve always been prone to a little literary influence), about what I could possibly achieve and how soon.

Our neighbour dropped by on the way to his polytunnel (the neighbour who leant me the scaffolding, you may remember) and I offered him a beer. Which he took. He used to be a builder, so I also offered him the ladder to see what we’d done.

Beer in hand, wearing flipflops, he positively glided up the ladder and had a good look round. Then he pretty much danced across the 4cm joists in the bathroom-to-be ceiling, seemingly oblivious to the 12-foot drop below, and had a good look there, too.

Me: (in French) I’ll probably have the wall finished in about four days.

He: I could probably do that in a couple of hours. Three tops.

Me: No. Seriously?

He: Oh yes. I could come along tomorrow at eight if you like.

Me: I abso-bluddie-lutely would like.

There was only one small problem. I didn’t have enough blocks up there. So I spent the next day (yesterday, if you’re still paying attention) moving about a ton of concrete onto the roof (my own blocks and a load of free ones from Dave), shifting sand and generally getting ready.

The neighbour showed up at eight today and did this:


It was a joy to behold. I told him so.

He: (Still in French) Ah, but put me in front of a computer in an office and I can’t do anything.

Me: Yes, but I don’t think anyone seeing someone working in an office would say: “Wow. That’s amazing!”. (Correct me if I’m wrong.)

It wasn’t even a very large, or expensive, beer.

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