The waiting game…

Having escaped the site for a couple of days to celebrate a friend’s birthday and to get some much needed rest, I find myself with a gaggle of lost souls sitting at a kitchen table contemplating the current global crisis and wondering how and when we are going to get home. This short break away from site has turned into a longer sojourn than expected for all of us. The birthday celebrations/short break also involves a friend who lives in Spain, and has been held in another friend’s home in Portugal and it is their kitchen table at which we are sitting. Our return flights have been cancelled. Our re-booked flights were also cancelled. Portugal has declared a national emergency which includes limiting movement. The Spanish border is closed, and no ferries are running.

We do have a snorkel, but only one and it is a bit of a swim back to Blighty!

At the moment our short break has turned into 10 days…but that is only if we can get another re-booked flight this Saturday. No guarantees. Definitely a waiting game. Ah well!

At a time like this, the joy of working with competent and trustworthy builders is invaluable. The work continues in South Somerset and Neil and Andy have carried on at speed in my absence, sending pictures to keep me up to date with the progress. Bless ’em for being so damn good.

Pete and Morgan have also had several good weather days in which to complete the external render and …drum roll….it should be completed this week. Then a lick of paint and the facelift will be complete – ish. Doors, windows, drainpipes…still to do but you know what I mean.

In the meantime, every external wall upstairs is insulated and most of downstairs is being done this week. The stair man is visiting to measure. The plumber, electrician and tiler are all booked in readiness for first fix and the carpenter is booked in for door linings and other wood-related jobs.

We will be vigilant in regard to the current madness. All of our ‘trades’ are self-employed so we will continue, with the support of our builders merchants, to finish this project in a timely and healthy fashion!

In Portugal, we are lucky. Staying with a friend means we have access to a washing machine and other homely and needed goods. We are in the mountains north of Porto surrounded by little villages so no panic buying. We are surviving on great home-cooked food and lashings of wine and playing card games. No money has changed hands yet!

A couple of us have also managed two games of golf (alas, course closes Friday!). Now it’s time to repay our friends for their hospitality. We are stepping forward for jobs around the house. Sanding and painting doors, garden furniture and fences, weeding the garden and whatever is needed and useful.

We obviously don’t know what the next weeks and months will bring. Isolation may be a necessity but, ironically, it may also bring us all closer together. Let’s hope so.

Wishing you all good health…


Not really a builder. Nor a girl in the youthful sense of the word. Bitten by the building bug and keeping a record of the experience. Know a little but learning a lot!

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