Saturday, October 21, 2006

Conservatory Horrors (2)

Still trying to write, publicise a new book, and set up a new Scottish Home website in the middle of a building site! I had a week's blissful respite, while I tutored a fiction writing course at wonderful Moniack Mhor in the hills above Loch Ness (see my other wordarts blog, for a fuller account.) My husband had done his very best to clean up before I came home, doing sterling work with brush and mop and duster, but no matter how often you clean up plaster dust, it tends to settle all over again within the next few hours. The low point came on wednesday when the concrete arrived for the base. Actually, the concrete didn't arrive for several hours. The workmen who had been building the walls waited and waited. Eventually they left and an hour later two more workmen turned up, nice polite lads both of them. (All the tradesmen involved have been fine - it's the organisational skills of the company itself that we keep calling into question. ) They waited as well. I made them a cup of tea. At last the concrete lorry turned up, several hours later than planned. 'Are all those pipes to be concreted over?' asked one of the big young men, innocently.
'I don't know' I told him, exasperated beyond belief. 'That's what I'm paying the company many thousands of pounds to tell you!'
Normally I'm not quite so prone to irritation, but we have done so much of our own project management on this job that we feel we ought to be somehow billing the company in return. We have just had to organise our own builder to restructure the drainpipes above the proposed conservatory - a necessity which these so called specialists never even mentioned.
Yesterday I was about to write a cheque for the second slice of money when two thoughts struck me. One, we have had nothing in writing about additional work which the company have agreed to do on a couple of upstairs windows, so I have no idea what they are planning to charge me for this. And two, we haven't seen hide nor hair of a building control officer, when we know that they usually come out to check work in progress, particularly on - as this is - a listed building. Have they even been told that work has started? Until I get the answer to both these questions, I find my hand curiously reluctant to write out a cheque....
There is only one element of progress to report. Several young men energetically barrowed concrete through the house (and were touchingly concerned about not walking on my kitchen floor in dirty boots) Now the new floor has set solid ('turned to stone' as my son described it, when he was a very little boy) and - praise be- I can get into my kitchen without negotiating a piratical plank.
More as it happens.

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