Out of the Doldrums

I really didn’t think it would affect me much. The work would be done outside the house for the most part, I’d be able to sit inside, write, work, clean and of course make the builder-required cups of tea. The Handyman would be around to oversee the work, so I’d be free to continue as usual.

I was naive.

First there was the pre-work arrangements, involving trips to various workshops, grotty stores and building suppliers. There would be idle chat followed by more serious discussion of materials, costs and timescales, accompanied by glasses of rich, dark tea. The tea was always good, these kinds of places would run anyone who made sub-standard tea.

Then there was the pre-work work to be done at home, railings disassembled, tidying up, emptying out. And the inevitable wait. Builders always arrive late, thankfully in Turkey, it’s generally hours late. In Ireland weeks seem to be the norm (though they will arrive on time then, if you know what I mean).

And then the work itself, none of it major. We had four separate sets of ‘usta’ over the space of two months. All required tea, coffee and biscuits. For those here for days we developed a little routine in each case, altered by the demands of the work. Meals waited until the workers left, concentration went out the window and there was a hush over the house while they worked. Internet skimming was possible but nothing deeper.

And then the post-work work. Furnishing, cleaning, adding the vital extras that the ‘usta’ didn’t do. Again the Handyman did most of the work, my main task was to steady the ladder, pass the tools and hand out the black sacks.

Finally we’re done.

Now we’re left with the ordinary tasks: digging and watering the trees; planting, tending and watering vegetables; cutting grass; digging flowerbeds; spraying trees and roses for pests; and of course the spring-cleaning that never got done.

Nothing like a rest to soothe the soul…

  • Val

    I bet you are glad it’s all done.
    I hated having builders in, especially when they knocked the chimney through the roof and onto the bed! Then came in, had a look, went out to the van (we thought to get tools to move the rubble), half an hour later they were still in the van having a tea break!

  • Val

    I bet you are glad it’s all done.
    I hated having builders in, especially when they knocked the chimney through the roof and onto the bed! Then came in, had a look, went out to the van (we thought to get tools to move the rubble), half an hour later they were still in the van having a tea break!

  • Oh Val that sounds awful!!

    We did nearly have a builder come through the roof into the bedroom but I think a joist stopped his fall (though it crossed his eyes too!). The only thing was DD (6) burst into tears when she saw the ceiling, she thought the house was broken. Luckily the Handyman fixed it up good as new.

  • Oh Val that sounds awful!!

    We did nearly have a builder come through the roof into the bedroom but I think a joist stopped his fall (though it crossed his eyes too!). The only thing was DD (6) burst into tears when she saw the ceiling, she thought the house was broken. Luckily the Handyman fixed it up good as new.

  • Basedow Maureen

    Is the labour surplus in Turkey at an end? I can't remember an usta who didn't show up with a bevy or hierarchal-ly organized assistants and helpers to fetch, carry, hold ladders, etc., the handyman equivalent of the waiter/asst. waiter/busboy/asst. busboy onslaught in restaurants. Why were you working alongside him? Was he a relative?

  • There were assistants for some ustas, but other than occasionally there were usually two people working maximum. DH was in the role of supervisor. Half the time his tools were better than the ustas so out of frustration at seeing them try to hammer in a screw he'd get his own tools out and mainly use them himself.
    If we hadn't been closely supervising the job would not have been done with the attention to detail necessary. An example we got a new front door, but the usta never thought we'd need a threshold under it!