Doing two courses simultaneously was not the brightest idea I’ve ever had but I got through it and life has returned to normal – well, sort of. While the cerebral part of me is able to concentrate on writing again, my physical environment is not normal.

You see, we are having a lot of work done to the house. This work isn’t out of a need to keep-up with the Joneses but is due to necessity. We have been living in our home for fifteen years and lots of things have come to the end of their life-cycle. The trouble is instead of being small things like a kettle or a toaster, they are big things like windows, an oven and a conservatory. We’ve tried putting these things off as long as possible by adopting ingenious ways of getting old, decrepit  things to work. For instance, we could get the oven going if we used a children’s paintbrush to flick the fan. I wish this was a joke but, unfortunately, it’s not. The main problem, apart from finding the money, is that I don’t like having workmen/women in my home.

This is not because I have some irrational fear of overalls or a burning hatred of rigger boots but because I can never fully relax when people I don’t know are at my house all day, for days on end. Having workpeople in my house feels me with dread for a number of reasons:

1 – What am I supposed to do with myself? I can’t go for a run or exercise because this would mean I then need to have a shower etc. I can’t do that when people are in my kitchen/bedroom/ garden fitting ovens, windows and doors. It’s just not right, is it? They’d probably think that I’m some mad woman who’s trying to seduce them with my middle-aged body. I wouldn’t be but they wouldn’t know that. OK, so I can’t run but I can write. But how can I when there is banging and crashing going on? I could, shudder, do the housework but there is no point when I’m just going to have to clean-up again at the end of the day. I could go out but that leads me onto problem number 2.

2 – Going out for the day. This seems to inevitably lead to an explanation of where I am going on how long I will be. Why do I do this? It is none of their business nor are they the slightest bit interested in what I’m doing. I blame my overprotective parents who made me account for my every waking moment as a child and teenager. Old habits are hard to break. And where would I go anyway? It’s like being exiled from your own home.

3 – Making cups of tea. I have a real problem with this mainly because I don’t drink tea myself. My husband does but no-one in our house drinks coffee and therein lay my first problem. I presumed builders drank tea. I mean, everyone knows that. But no, apparently twenty-first century builders drink coffee and we didn’t have any so I had to make a mad-dash to the shop to purchase some. The second issue I have with hot drinks is that because I don’t drink them, I don’t know how often I’m supposed to ask the builders if they want a drink. If I don’t make a conscious effort to think about it the whole day could go by with my sipping water and the builders throwing my dirty looks.

4 – Use of the facilities. This is my number one problem with having workpeople in the house. I don’t like them using my toilet because I have to clean it. I don’t mind if they only pee but they don’t and the sometimes leave my toilet in a mess. And I’m the one who cleans it – yuck, yuck, yuck.

So now you understand why I have put this off for so long (my husband couldn’t care less, mainly because he is at work and doesn’t have to deal with these problems). But now I have to face all my fears in one huge massive hoard of builders, window fitters, kitchen fitters, electricians, plasterers and decorators demanding cups of coffee and to use my toilet. Deep breath, I can get through this.





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