Tuesday, 6 May 2008

we dug down and now we're going up

I have stood in the foundation trenches and watched them being filled with concrete. Within a couple of days the foundation  block work was complete and we could see the size and shape of the house. A giant footprint on our patch of this earth.  It looked big but when I stepped in to the lounge it seemed so small. "I'll never fit a three-piece suite in here!" I said. I knew the room measured up to a big space but in the wide open without walls to limit the eye it was impossible to guage. I'm a typical woman when it comes to visual-spatial exercises. 

The next stage was to fill it with hardcore which the digger man dug out from our site and created a great back yard space in the process! We had to compact the base with  a vibrating whacker plate. When that was done we dug up some of it to drill holes through the foundation walls for drainage pipes. The brickies should have left the holes in the first place and we should never have filled it in without making sure there were holes there! It was all our fault really as we are the project managers. Anyway, it is all sorted out. I hadn't planned on getting my hands dirty at the foundation stage but the night before we did the concrete floor I was out working at the site filling in holes with a spade and helping to place drainage pipes. My hands were wrecked. Cracked skin, raggy, broken nails and dirt so ingrained it wouldn't wash out. It wouldn't have been so bad but the week before I had spent £20 on a manicure!

Concrete floor day was exciting. There I was in my yellow steel-toe cap Lidl wellies my father-in-law had bought me years ago laying DPM (damp proof membrane) and expansion boards and pressure-testing the drainage pipes. I really enjoyed getting involved and it fuelled my enthusiasm for the whole project. The best thing about the day was the atmosphere of all these people helping us. Friends and neighbours working out of the goodness of their hearts. It is heartening that there still exists a code of helpfulness in our highland village. Neighbours help one another and know they can call on each other for help. Of course, not everyone is willing to lend a hand. We had people on our site pushing 60 and working hard. Yet, our old friend a fit single man kept his distance and took his dog for a walk instead. He doesn't like to help anyone. Resents giving his time away. Although he is like that the people here are so good that when he needs it they will help him too.

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