After long planning, much searching and hours sort finances the build of the new extension has begun. The premier worry was foundation levels, we live on a granite sheeted hill, and the worry was that there would be weeks of chipping away with time, patience and money withering away. Last Monday week, under a cerulean blue sky and temperatures in the 20's work began, foundations are perfect and the only two places where the granite reared its head enough to be a nuisance are no problem, foundations are tied into the granite.
Day One was spent clearing the site. Peter my builder [a man who is never happier then when he is measuring a site, digging holes with a digger, and flying up and down the road on the dumper]and I walked the site and I chose what buddleia's and lilac's I wanted to save and where we were going to move them to. The box hedge has been halved and now resides near my bedroom window; the cotoneasters were dumped, they grow like weeds here.
Day Two The foundations were dug out and frabjous day! We have lift off, no tedious weeks of hammering away at granite. By two in the afternoon word had gotten around the village that there was a dishy young hunk working up the road and we found ourselves inundated with local teens dressed up to the nines, all wandering in with the most delighful of excuses
"Mammy sent me up to get some eggs". - Sorry pet, we don't sell eggs I replied, wondering vaguely in my innocence why she was standing on tippy toe and peering over my shoulder up the garden. Amazing child, of at least fifteen years of age, she actually walked back down the yard - backwards- staring fixedly at something behind me, not, I guessed, my favourite rose. A sudden blush, a giggle or three from herself and pal and I realised that Lazlo had appeared and the girls had completely forgotten my existence.
Over the course of the next two hours we had groups of two's, three's and fives all walking Mammy's dog; more egg buyers, [my neighbour would be in huge profit if he was at home to hear all the requests for eggs], three lovely lassies 'got lost' and thought we were part of a local park. Yes - the garden looks lovely but no, we are not the local park!
Lazlo? Oh he took the adoration in his stride. Sun glasses on head, teeth shining like pearls, muscles rippling under his tee-shirt and wedding ring sparkling. The first thing he had shown me on day one was a picture of his new bride. He is six months married and uxurious. Having met her today, I can see why. Sophia Loren move over, Nadja is beautiful, speaks excellent English and has a lovely manner. She dropped him off to work as she headed off to her own job, or jobs I should say. The lady is not work shy. Fair play to her.
Rain stopped play yesterday; cloudbursts were everywhere, and we got our deluge too. Today was better and the footings have been going in. Peter keeps a weather eye open, literally, and targets so much to get through each day so that there is no wastage. He would make a great NCO in the army. Everything is organised with military precision; even the awkward task of getting cement up our narrow lane; his attitude is "no problems only solutions" which is a favourite saying of mine.
He won the contract to build not because his was the cheapest quote, rather, he got the job because [a] he "got" what my plans were, and [b] two other builders had spoken about blasting any rock that might hinder foundation-laying...BLAST???? Dear God in Heaven, the old lady would never stand that...she's heading for 100 years and wouldn't be the better of a stick of dynamite. My knees nearly buckled when I heard that.
I like to think that Mum would be proud of this new stage in the old lady's life; a new kitchen and shower room and a bedroom for her beloved grand-daughter. On sunny days I feel that she is with us, I am sure I saw her flitting about the foundations the other night. The foxes certainly are, they have laid claim to every corner so far, the smell is powerful, but hasn't managed to put off the builders or the doe eyed females who wander up to 'take a look'.
Peter sometimes brings Max, his golden retriever with him. He's had more offers of dog walking in the past week than he can count; Max divides his time between sitting watching the blocks go down, trailing foxes, and sucking up to me at the back door with limpid eyes of a very gorgeous brown and trying to convince me that he hasn't been fed since Sunday week. His pot belly belies that. Now, if I could only get ten weeks of sunshine, or at least dry and mild weather...