Image via WikipediaWe're about halfway through the Great House Rebuilding following the Great Water Disaster. It's actually been easier than at first thought, only the spare bathroom's had to be completely gutted and the hardcore packing the floor removed, the two bedrooms have dried out to a certain degree and only required the floor tiles to be lifted and new ones laid. Of course, the bathroom tiles couldn't be matched and so the walls have had to be smashed and new tiles laid to match the floor.
It's been a week of banging, dust and workmen scraping their way through the house - and another one to come, including tiling, repainting and the like. Sarah's driven demented. At least I've been escaping by day to our bijou offices in darkest Satwa.
The builders are Egyptian, with a couple of Bangladeshi labourers. I am ashamed to say I had strong preconceptions about Egyptian builders, at least any of 'em born after 2,500 BC. My prejudices have been turned on their heads by Mr Oussama and his merry men. They turn up on time, are careful and clean up after themselves, have so far (and no reason to assume this won't continue) done a grand, workmanlike job and have been a cheerful bunch altogether. They are highly amused at Sarah's grasp of the mechanics of building (Our girl's daddy back in Oireland is a builder, see?).
The fly in the ointment has been a number of routine maintenance tasks that have been taking place alongside The Big Rebuild. Our landlord is a wonderful chap, a very honourable National of Yemeni stock who is always scrupulous about any maintenance we've ever requested. The trouble is the execution of his desires is in the hands of his 'man', who combines a strong mendacious streak with a total inability to accept any form of practical reality, no conception of time or its value and an unerring ability to create situations where we end up hanging around waiting for him for hours on end.
Sarah, who has seen a great deal more of him than I have in the past week, wants to drink Vintage Grand Cru Extra Brut from the man's skull. Interestingly, he doesn't seem to realise how close that has been to becoming a reality as the days have dragged by.
In hindsight, we should have moved house rather than put up with this. But then hindsight is a marvellous thing, isn't it? I've locked up the champagne and sharp knives, just in case...