Breakneck speed?

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Bricklayer in Paoua, Central African Republic

Bricklayer in Paoua, Central African Republic (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I don’t think so. I refer to the building work that has been going on at my house. E’s nephew runs a building and construction business and has guys working for him, some of whom are apprentices or what you might call ‘newbies’. The work they have been doing is rebuilding that part of the garden wall E and I dismantled last October as it was in danger of falling down by itself. The problem was caused by its age, the aggressive plant growth on the neighbour’s side of the wall and of course the weather. The house was built in 1877 and we assume the wall to be of similar age. The work they have done is good but they have taken a lot of time to do it. I know it could have taken less time as I have done quite a lot of bricklaying over the years and I am not a qualified bricklayer. As I write this on Wednesday evening there still remains two or three bricks to be laid at the junction with the adjoining wall which could have been done today but they pressed on and began to reconstruct the steps at the approach to the front door. We thought the existing three final steps too awkward to negotiate and neither do they provide much space on which a caller could stand. I had it in mind to do the work myself last summer but never had the time. So for a day or so E and I will have to enter the house through one of the garages instead. Last night, that is Tuesday as I write this, the two guys who had been working here on that day, were about to leave when I noticed that the grid beneath the kitchen window was blocked and there was a huge puddle of muddy water on the path. They had been flushing the dregs of mortar out of the mixer onto the path and into the grid. I insisted it to be cleared of mortar which meant reaching down the grid and taking it out by hand. Sometime during the summer months I clear out this particular grid in the same manner myself for grease and fats from the kitchen sink can block the drain if it isn’t kept in check. We try our best to prevent grease from entering the drains but there is always some nevertheless. All appeared well and they left but soon after the grid filled up again and another pool of water lay on the path. We called E’s nephew who responded immediately and came around to unblock the drain. It took about thirty minutes before we could say the problem had been sorted out. This morning, Wednesday, two different members of his crew turned up instead! Even so at the end of this day I discovered the grid cover blocked by the remnants of mortar. There is little possibility of further problems now as the mixer is being used at the front of the house away from all drains. I hadn’t any electrical work scheduled for both Wednesday and Thursday but I did have an electrical job out in the garden. On Tuesday evening I discovered that one of the three wall lights by the greenhouses wasn’t working and I gave it a quick check but realised the whole unit needed replacing so I purchased one on Wednesday morning and spent a little time fitting it. The rest of the day was spent catering to the needs of the bricklayers and just pottering about. E made a start on painting the bedroom woodwork with an undercoat ready for overpainting later with a gloss paint.

Shirley Anne

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