I was asked at the weekend what job I was doing now. A property developer role – I said. Wow, they replied. How incredibly exciting. Sounds like you’re living the high life.
Yes indeed. Perception is interesting. Perhaps I should have said apprentice builder, but to be fair even that role doesn’t explain how I am most definitely NOT living the high life.
This project is just too far away for me to commute every day and the budget doesn’t allow for unnecessary expense. I spent the first 2 weeks sleeping in the property. We erected some dust sheets and I took over a bedroom furthest away from the stairs to limit the dust reaching my sleeping accommodation. We were going to demolish downstairs first and would leave this bedroom until the end of the third week.
We cut the electric supply into the building and drained the water systems. But we did tap in a simple power supply (needed for the builders too) and fitted a tap into an outside toilet that we have also kept operational. So I had basic electric, cold water and a loo. I already owned an inflatable mattress and a flask. I went on a mad spending spree and bought a kettle for £2.50 (really) from Sainsbury’s. I was set.
It’s a little unnerving to sleep in a partly demolished property on your own with a single electric lamp. Our workday finished at 430pm. How was I going to use up my time without the usual entertainment? What would I eat? How was I going to wash? Was I going to get any sleep?
Well..I can tell you that nothing mattered during that first week apart from sleeping. I have never worked on a building site – no surprise there – and it’s close to two decades since I engaged in strong physical exertion for 8 hours a day. My first night I washed in a bucket, brushed my teeth, inflated my bed, ate a banana sandwich and was asleep before 8pm.
Of course I woke at 430 the next morning – bright and alert – so my whole body clock was screwed for the rest of that week. I tried to stay awake longer the second night but the work was too exhausting.
The third night was easier and on it went.
I am not sure what my fellow builders thought when they turned up to start work each morning. Although I washed as best I could, I had no mirror. I couldn’t wash my hair and I had a feeling that my cavernous wrinkles were like a magnet to the filthy dust and dirt being extracted from the walls and ceilings. On one morning a little chunk of grit fell out of my ear and I had a fair amount of straw embedded in my hair. But I don’t think I smelt. So that’s OK.
I am now living in a caravan – borrowed from good friends Sue & Colin. Bless you both….bless you….bless you.
Yep. Living the high life.