I haven’t written anything for ages because I haven’t wanted to think any more than is absolutely necessary about it all, filling my spare moments instead with crappy American TV, but that just leaves me feeling generally scuzzy and bloated, so I’ve returned.
My husband was right; the money did come from somewhere. Our families between them have managed to lend us what we need. ..I’m extremely grateful.
When I told a friend about it, feeling shamefaced about not being able to run up a debt in my own name, he said to me, ‘it’s the best way, that’s how the Chinese and the Jews do it, they don’t go to banks, it’s only us ( Europeans) who get banks to help.’ . I don’t know what to think about that really.
The day after we learned that we wouldn’t have to live in a building site (albeit with some very fetching stonework) cobbling together a home from things that the everyday folk leave behind, we went to the house and I asked about the garden. I didn’t want it to be forgotten and since the architect had told me it was in his hands and not to worry about it, I was starting to feel a bit panicky. And good job too- the builder told me that he didn’t have the permission to re-build the garden and containing wall and that if it didn’t come in the following 7ish days, we’d have to wait another year to start the job. The civil servants issuing the licence would soon be going on holiday ( in July they work a summer timetable (ha ha ha) and in August they don’t work at all) and in September the river would grow again, bringing new possible floods and no chance of rescuing our garden until the water receded again in May or June 2012.
I make an effort never to speak English in front of the builders- it’s rude, they don’t understand and it leaves them standing around grinning like idiots, which is how I spend a lot of my life and it’s not nice. When he told me this, my husband said under his breath, ‘are you angry?’…..‘Angry?, I’m fuming’ I roared in full brazen ear shot, ‘blah blah they said it was all taken care of blah blah, how are we going to move in here and not allow the kids out of the back door for fear of being swept downstream for the next 12months never mind start a business?’ A big clanging gong of silence reverberated round the the front yard where we stood, the builders did that thing that you do if you’re caught up in a domestic at a friend’s house; they looked at their feet and tried to shrink themselves. I left barely managing to grunt a goodbye before reaching for my phone to ask the bloody architect what the bloody hell he was playing at. The phone was engaged, I sat down at a bar too angry to stop the kids from chasing a balding chicken off down the road, ordered a large coffee and picked up the phone to try again at which point it started ringing and the builder started telling me that the licence was ready and would be with him recorded delivery in the next couple of days. Really..? Is that what happens when you shout in your own language..? Because I can do that, I could do that in the banks, I could do that to the grant application people, I could even do it to the Mayor if it might speed along the dripping sewage pipe.
What i’m not going to mention however, is how the physical permission arrived as promised, the builders started working- machines in the river, men digging and drilling until somebody from the town hall stopped the builders to tell them that we don’t have permission from them (the Town Hall and the Rivers’ Authority being two separate bodies) to build in their river because I completely forgot to apply to them too. I’m not going to mention it because that would be too depressing.