Thursday, January 31, 2013

The End of an Era

They said it would start in the spring of 2012 and be over by August. Then it was to begin in July, then August to be finished by October. But the scaffolding—in preparation for our new windows—did not go up until the day we returned from our visit to the States in mid-September, 2012. Even then, however, they told us the project would be over by Christmas.

Through hail, wind, rain and snow; I bet the workmen
wished they had begin the project on time.
Well, since that day in September, we have been looking out of our windows at a criss-cross of galvanized steel pipes. It looks unsettlingly like a prison from in here, as if we have been locked up for some tenant-related misdemeanor like trying to hide holes in the walls by spackling them over with peppermint toothpaste, or turning the spare bedroom into a meth lab.

But, as they say, when life gives you lemons, open a fruit stand and have some underage illegal immigrants work all the hours God sends, selling lemons for 5-cents a day (but that 5-cents is in addition to free room and board; that mattress under the table in the meth lab is a lot more comfortable than where they are used to sleeping) and pocket the profits and buy a jet ski. Well, that’s what I thought they said, or maybe it was something about lemonade.

Anyway, you get my drift. Not one to pass up an opportunity, I was out on my new deck on day one. To me, it was not an unsightly scaffold; it was an extension to my balcony. Not everyone was as quick to seize the opportunity as I was but, over the weeks, more and more tenants began using the scaffold as an auxiliary storage area. As the months went by and deadline after deadline passed, I became so accustomed to my new deck that I realized I was going to miss it when they finally took it away.

This has been my axillary recreation area since last September. 
Well, that day has come.

Yesterday, they began dismantling our recreation decks and storage areas. The front of our building is now scaffold-free and as I write this (no, really, the truck pulled in just as I typed that line) they are getting ready to remove the rest. By this afternoon, the galvanized, steel-pipe prison will be gone.

Accordingly, after the workmen left yesterday, I spent one last evening on the deck. I had a contemplative cigar and a soothing beverage, washed the windows (really, when am I going to get a better chance to do that?), packed up my chair and table, took down the flag and returned to the confines of my flat.

Another era comes to an end, just six months behind schedule.

The men are out there now, wandering past my window, clanging pipes around, taking up the decking. Maybe if I go out there with a flask of tea and a few portraits of the Queen, I can convince them to leave my bit up.

What I'm seeing outside my window at this moment.


  1. Love it. Only in the UK..

  2. It just goes to show how adaptable we humans are. There is nothing that we can't adjust to given enough time and ingenuity!

  3. I wouldn't mind so much, but where am I going to put the barbecue and the deck chairs?

  4. My condolences, Mike. I hope that life doesn't feel too dull after this.