Tag Archives: plastering

Perks of the Job

An unexpected bonus of working in other people’s houses as a builder’s mate is not the coffee on tap, the bacon butties or the biscuits.

I’ll let you into a little secret – it’s the sneaky pleasure of having a nose around.

Me and the builder don’t talk about jobs in terms of what work we actually did there, it’s more, ‘oh, you must remember that one, you know, the one with the awful, red, flowery wallpaper and bizarre yellow sofas’ or ‘the one with all those very odd mirrors in the bedroom.’

It’s great fun, passes the time of day and you can tell a lot from people’s houses. Does that make me sound awful? C’mon, we all do it, don’t we?

I particularly like working in houses with lots of books and am vaguely suspicious when they’re conspicuously absent. Many a happy coffee-break has been passed looking through the shelves thinking, ‘ooh, read that’ or, ‘oh, that looks interesting.’ Same for artwork and pictures. And I adore family photographs.

We’ve worked in some creepy houses though. One had a bedroom stuffed full of life-size dolls. The owner was in her 30’s. In another, there was a massive model railway track taking up the biggest room upstairs, the bathroom we were working on was tiny and the owner worked nights, so all we heard were sinister snores from down a very and gloomy dark corridor.

On the upside, I’ve picked up some fabulous home decoration tips. People have the most brilliant ideas. My favourite was the huge hallway, a large square room basically,  painted entirely in black. Sounds hideous, but it was stunning. My hall is the size of an outdoor toilet so I don’t think I can steal that idea. And I definitely couldn’t fit in the matching chandelier.

Anyway, we had a very productive day yesterday pulling out an old bathroom suite ready for the new one. Then the builder asked me to pop a few tiles off and handed me a hammer and chisel. Easy. Four tiles in, there was an anguished cry. I popped my head round the corner to where the builder was standing. The entire other side of the wall had cracked.

Change of plan – we’re plastering today…

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Getting Plastered

Back to work, but luckily the builder’s son is doing a week’s work experience with him, so at least there is someone as incompetent as me on the job.

A very large skip was delivered early, so our first lesson was how to load it correctly. All flat stuff in first, then stack the edges with other, bigger flat stuff.

Finally, place all the rubble sacks on top. To finish off, all the gaps are plugged with baguette wrappers, coke cans and old Sun newspapers.  I just thought you chucked everything in, squished it down and hoped for the best.

On a break, I got chatting to the painter. Anyone else ever find when they mention MS, someone will always say, ‘ Oh, I knew someone with MS. Terrible it was. Just awful. Downhill like that (clicks fingers loudly).’ Oh, cheers mate. That’s supposed to make me feel better?

We moved on to the plastering. Quite possibly the most boring, tedious, soul-destroying job ever. All I have to do is follow the builder round and round the room, scooping out plaster for him. Yawn. Then clean out the buckets. Yawn. Then do it all again. Then we wait for it to dry, then go over it again and repeat five or six times.

Last job, pipe work. So boring I won’t even go into details, suffice to say it’s maths with bits of copper. Some jobs just drag. And I was freezing, even though I was wearing the woolly thermals my mum bought me. It was one of those days. Next time will be better as the kitchen units will be delivered and I can hopefully make myself more useful.

Mid-way through the day, The Teenager texted me to say his wrist was sore again (see Muddy Hell for details…). I texted back that I would bandage it up when he got home, and no, he couldn’t have a Domino’s pizza for dinner to make him feel better.

I got home tired, cold and sore. Maybe I will take up the builder’s idea that I start up his social media instead of helping fit kitchens? He wants to create a Twitter account for his business, so must start thinking of suitable, buildery-type tweets. Something like – Blimey, the price of bacon sarnies is shocking…….

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