Friday, 29 January 2010


So because the builder originally mis-measured for the floor tiles, I had to wait an extra two weeks for the additional four boxes to arrive from Italy.

If the floor isn't tiled, the machines can't go in, the units can't be finished if the plinths are not installed, the sink can't be plumbed if the units aren't in place, the electrics can't be done...etc etc.

Yesterday the two week wait was up - Hurrah! - but instead of four boxes arriving as ordered, only three turned up.

My left eye began to twitch.

Remaining calm and controlled, I cancelled and rescheduled the tiler, the grouter, the plumber, the electrician, the carpenters, the cleaner and the carpet man.

The missing box was promised to arrive DHL by noon today. The tiler came in at 7.50 a.m. to get started but when he opened the first of the three boxes which had turned up, he saw that these tiles were 5 mm smaller than the original ones, thereby screwing up the entire layout of the kitchen floor, mismatching the joins etc etc.

My left eye developed a flicker.

Remaining slightly less calm and controlled than before, I phone Nick at the tile shop and he said what I was thinking:

"Fucking cunts the whole lotta them! Can't they get anything right? Whaddya wanna do?"

"I want to stuff my hand down your oesophagus and rip your bollocks up through your throat" I say sweetly.

The tiler then suggested that if he smashed out some of the correctly-sized tiles he'd laid two weeks ago, he could compensate by laying the new ones this way instead of that way and the 5mm differential wouldn't be noticed. But...this would mean he would need another box because of wastage.

I phoned Nick and told him to order me another box to arrive by DHL on Monday at his expense. He laughed.

My left eye was now twitching uncontrollably like Herbert Lom in 'The Pink Panther' every time Clouseau hove into view.

The tiler lays the three boxes and finishes by 11.40 a.m.

"The extra box will be in by noon" I tell him, but of course, even if it is he can't finish today as we're still one box short.

Meanwhile, the decorator has papered the hall with my lovely new green and cream striped wallpaper. He packs up and leaves for the weekend. Admiring the one thing that's gone right, I notice that the stripes go green/cream/green/cream/green/green.

My right eye begins to flinch.

Noon becomes 3.30 as we wait for the missing 1 of 4 to arrive.

The tiler sits on a pile of rubble in the middle of what will one day be my new kitchen listening to loud Ukrainian music on his laptop which he's brought with and plugged into my socket along with his mobile phone, thereby sucking greedily at my personal supply of electricity.

At last, Nick calls to say "They've arrived!"

Just before I leave, the tiler says laconically: "I still don tink ve vill hev enuf."

I reach for the chain saw and slice his head off then realise this is counter-productive, so I glue it back on again. Luckily all these building materials are to hand.

I hare over to Camden to pick the box of tiles up. Nick places them carefully into the boot of my car.

"By the way" he says, "that other box you need...they're out of stock. They've got seconds, though. May or may not match. D'ya want them?"

I stop a passing motorist who looks vaguely foreign and ask if he has any weapons of mass destruction about his person. He hands me a Luger, an Uzi and a box of grenades marked Made in Grenada. I gun Nick down along with a couple of pedestrians then lob a few grenades into the tile shop.

I feel a little better but not much.

As I drive home, I thump into a pothole then over a bump and I hear an almighty crack from my boot.

I drive past my house and on towards the Serpentine. I speed up as I approach the bridge then turn the wheel sharply to the left and crash through the stone balusters plunging the car head first into the murky depths below.

It seemed the better option. Now I don't need a kitchen any more so they can all go fuck themselves.


Liz said...

Oh my life Wendy.......... what a 'mare'!! Well by your reading our pub re-furb is going positively... no stop, if I write what I was going to write it'll all go tits up!?! Best not then - just need to say you should have my fabulous Carlton managing your project and I'm sure it would have gone better! As it is - you can't, so good luck etc and watch those twitches - dreafully ageing don't you know.... :) Thanks for making me laugh first thing on a Saturday morning - it will all look lovely when it's finished - even the hall wallpaper!

Liz x

Wild Willie o' Orkney said...

I've just had my bathroom re-tile by a lovely LADY tiler!(she learned her trade in Spain apparently, where as you know, they know a thing or two about tiling). On time,lifted up the old ones in a jiffy,laid the new ones (which SHE had picked up after I'd chosen and purchased last week),cleaned up (absolutely no mess at all whilst she was working - nor blaring radio.)The whole job done in one morning (ie 4 hours) Total cost- £100! I've used female tradespeople before and they're excellent workers.Think about it next time!

Wendy Salisbury said...

Thank you both! At least I got a chance to vent my rage and entertain you.

Hopefully by the end of next week, I should start getting straight again.

Anyway, you'll be glad to hear it hasn't spoilt my social life - blind date tonight with new boytoy who I obviously can't invite up so that'll save me from myself!!

Anonymous said...

Hola Wendy, me gusta mucho tu blog!
Saludos de un Boytoy desde EspaƱa ;).

Wild Willie o' Orkney said...

Well, for his sake,let's hope he doesn't tell you his day job is a TILER!lol.(I liked the new pic by the way)

Wendy Salisbury said...

Hola Boytoy Espanol,

Gracias por haberme escrito!

A ver si compras mi primera novela 'La Inglesa y el Torero' cuando sale en Espana en mayo.