Friday, 22 January 2016

Lola vs Lola Towers

Cat in a wooden box labelled lola
Photo credit: Hugh
It's been cold - the normal cold of a normal winter, but we were deceived by the mild weather before Christmas into mis-remembering how cold the climate normally is at this time of year. So it felt quite appropriate last week when I went to Badminton Club #2's Christmas dinner, complete with turkey, Christmas pudding and crackers. I much prefer the post-holiday scheduling. So few people signed up to Badminton club #1's traditional pre-Christmas do that we are going out in February, when take-up has been much more enthusiastic.

In the garden, I have spent a protracted and painful time 'pruning' the enormous rose bush. With the bush about 15 feet high and at least 20 feet wide, this effort took up a lot of the weekend and prompted one serious outburst of loud profanity as the horrible thorny branches slashed at my legs through my trousers and threatened to immobilise me by entangling every item of my clothing from above and from below. My legs look as though I have had a violent encounter with an angry cat.

A considerable amount of the foliage landed on the other side of the wall in my neighbour's garden. She is an older woman with some health issues, so I presented myself on her doorstep last Tuesday morning and offered to clear the stuff out - luckily her cousin was staying and offered to help, because it took the two of us at least two hours to get it all into sacks, and two trips to the tip. She now has a great deal more light coming into her living room now that it's not blocked by an enormous rose bush, and she bought me a card and flowers to say thank you - even though it is my rose bush and my neglect that allowed it to get so overgrown. There's a huge pile of the ghastly thorny foliage still on my lawn, but it will have to wait to be bagged and taken to the tip.

The rose bush is just the first skirmish in what is going to be a long campaign of Lola vs The Habitation. For too long have I lived among chaos and disorder, with the garden overgrown and weed-filled, parts of the house in serious disrepair and the garage degenerating and neglected. I have Plans, Big Plans, a Great List of Plans. I hesitate to publish the full list here because I don't want to raise expectations, least of all my own, accustomed as I am to poor outcomes when I have attempted improvements in the past - the appalling airing cupboard is just one example that reminds me of this fact every day. But I am determined, even though at the first sign of some extra holiday I turn my back on the whole mess and plan to go off skiing.

So I arranged for a Man to come on Tuesday to size up the work needed on the garage, with a rival Man scheduled to come another time. The garage is likely to need some remedial brickwork and pointing, repairs to the roof (which is asbestos and therefore challenging), new window frames and windows, attention paid to electrics and lighting, the rot on the side door dealt with, guttering replaced where it has fallen off, and the main garage door either repaired or replaced.

Initially I was going to start my campaign on Lola Towers with the kitchen, because that's actually what I would most like to improve by replacing pretty much everything it contains. But the prospect is so daunting that I thought I'd start with something simpler in the hope that it would give me confidence, and perhaps introduce me to a reliable local builder since Alf has disappeared to jobs I presume are more profitable and/or convenient than mine. Thinking about it, I might even get back in touch with Elf, although I'm not sure he's the right man for the job.

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