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Tuesday, May 20, 2014

I feel I should respond to yesterday's comment from Mrs Trellis of North Wales, by saying that the only circus Amelie would run away to join is this one...

In fact, if Popovich had been there on Sunday, I'd never have got the girl home. She'd now be in Portsmouth with a crate of Whiskas.

As it happens, however, we are currently one child down. I'm typing this on the sofa (it's a smart sofa), surrounded by burly council workmen, who are attempting to fit new windows to our flat, and whilst it would give Toby a good opportunity to use one of his favourite words, "Noise!", you don't really want someone climbing up to the balcony windows...

...when there's just an eight-foot hole in the wall.

So I drove Toby over to St Leonards yesterday afternoon, and deposited him with my parents for his own safety. It means that not only does he escape the noise, danger, dust and inconvenience, but he's also spared the experience of having to sit through 'Jo Frost Family Matters' on ITV. I'm not enjoying it at all. It's just as well I can't hear it over the drilling. I'd probably like it even less.

Anyhoo, it's been an interesting experience so far. We'd been notified in writing that the council contractors would be arriving at 1pm to start work, and would need us to move our belongings at least a metre away from all the windows. Which is nice, because it implies that we have the space to move them into, which, if you've ever visited our flat, and squeezed sideways down our hallway, you'll know is optimistic in the extreme.

Can I just say at this point that it's quite hard to concentrate on a blog post when someone's attacking your balcony door with a sledgehammer about three feet from your head..? I'd go in another room, but frankly they look even more like war zones. I've just had to step over rubble to go to the toilet.

Ok. So having abandoned my son at his grandparents', I returned home yesterday afternoon and began Operation Windows, the biggest logistical undertaking since Bill Gates launched Microsoft. I spent the evening clearing everything from under our bed, so that I could move it a metre across the room, a somewhat dusty task which did at least lead to the discovery of a box containing printouts of all the e-mails that Lisa and I exchanged back in 2003, in the year before we met. I'll be presenting them to Amelie on her 18th birthday. She'll no doubt be living in poverty and need something to burn for fuel.

With that done, I still had every other room to complete this morning, so I was naturally delighted when the workmen rang our doorbell just after 8am to confirm that we were expecting them. I said "Yes, this afternoon". To which the man responded "Ok, we'll see you this afternoon... about eleven-thirty".

As it transpired, they weren't back before twelve, and by some miracle we were ready. I'd had a minor panic attack when I moved Amelie's bed, and found that it was basically being propped up by a foot-deep pile of lost toys, games, hair accessories and miscellaneous debris - I kept expecting to find Lord Lucan sitting on the wreckage of flight MH370 - but Lisa valiantly sorted through it all, while I tackled the hideous mould on the wall. I think it brought us closer together.

As another brief aside, I should just mention that my keyboard is now so covered with brick dust that touching the mouse pad is like scraping my fingernails down a blackboard. The workmen have just apologised to me, using the excuse that this job is "a lot more difficult than we thought". It's a concern, as it's currently 3:45pm and I look like Brody in season three of Homeland. I'm thinking of this scene in particular...

Although our flat is a lot less tidy.

Anyhoo, Lisa left 45 minutes ago to fetch Amelie from school and take her dancing. She's fully expecting the work to be done by the time they get back, which at the moment is looking doubtful. Amelie's not one to complain though. At least not about anything reasonable. She prefers moaning about trivial, irrelevant stuff, so the fact that we currently have a gaping hole in the side of our flat will barely seem worth her mentioning.

I think I've just lost a filling from the vibrations.

Anyhoo, I might not be at work this week, but the good news is that I've arranged for a mystery shopper to go in there undercover and check the performance of my colleagues during my absence. Lisa's Mum is getting her eyes screened at the hospital this afternoon, so I'll be debriefing the woman later and putting the squeeze on her for some detailed feedback on our service. No doubt, heads will roll. Although, knowing her, she'll just say "It was fine" and start talking about the horse racing.


Phil's Mum said...

I think Toby and I will wait till you're all nice and clean and tidy before we return.