Camping it up

I’ve got the builders in. (Ooo-err, Missus.) And being at home at the moment is less like living in a house, more like staying at a campground.

Tools are everywhere. Broken tiles abound like shattered dreams on the seashore of night. Going to the toilet is fraught with unimaginable hazard. My bathroom is more a state of mind than a place to freshen up, and I’m showering at the gym daily. (Who’d have thought the best incentive to go to the gym would be renovating your house?) I’ve cleared away most of the 400 or so tiles on the walls, exposing everything from chewed plasterboard to bare breezeblock to ratty plywood, but scheduling problems have left a few days in between plumbing and tiling where the only place to wash my face is the kitchen.

And the dust! I’d forgotten just how much dust even one room’s worth of refurbishing makes. Once again, I thank the stars for making me choose hard floors rather than anything fuzzy; they’re much easier to clean.

And, of course, I thank the Poles. 600,000 Polish people have come to London since 2003 and, unlike any other ethnic/cultural group, they’ve caused no problems whatsoever. They’re hardworking, friendly, thoroughly decent, here to work not benefits-sponge or import controlled substances. All builders in London are now Polish, everything from carpentry to plumbing to tiling. And they’re pretty good at it.

Which is, of course, why my home looks like a campsite this week.

Because Poland is a Catholic country, and Easter is important to Poles. Which means those 600,000 Poles have all fucked off back to Krakow for two weeks and I’ve been left in the lurch with – horrors – British, Aussie, and Kiwi builders. Go figure.

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