Mr Blighty has entrusted to me the role of project manager for home improvements, phase 78.
He made me solemnly promise not to use the kittycat notebook or the pen with the pink fluffy feathers on the end. Something about losing credibility.
Mr B left me with a detailed list of home improvements which I am to oversee, and the order in which they each need to be done. The list includes words like "architraves" and "double gang socket" so already I am floundering.
I decided to play to my strengths so spent a couple of happy hours putting together little folders for each project. Stationery is vital in this sort of situation.
The most pressing project is new fitted wardrobes for Boy 1's room. Last week some men came and dismantled his old cupboards. Boy 1 is not the least bit perturbed by having his clothes and belongings in various boxes strewn across the house. He will take to student life like a duck to orange, er, water.
Then the wardrobe guy came to measure up for the new wardrobes. Measurements for a Savile Row suit would be less precise and extensive. Wardrobe man was with us for so long, I almost made up the guest bedroom for him. He and Mr B had lots of in-depth male bonding type chats, including about our septic tank (always a great ice breaker socially).
I need to organise the next steps. Mr B did a very specific 22 point timetable for this - with lots of complicated numbering, it went something like this:
Section 1 Provision of Beverage Refreshments to Workmen
1.1 Beverage Refreshments shall be provided to Workmen.
1.1.1 Beverage Refreshments shall be provided in a cup, on a tray and with accompanying biscuit assortment at the following times:
1.1.1.(a) 9am, 10am, 11am, 12am and at 2 hourly intervals thereafter until 3pm when they start packing up to go home at 5pm;
1.1.1. (b) Biscuit assortment must include chocolate biscuits.
For the purposes of Section 1 "Beverage Refreshments" shall mean standard Indian tea and/or instant coffee (either with milk and one, or just milk); it shall on no account include any herbal teas or chai lattes, or any other beverage which might call into question the fitness of the Workmen to carry out said duties.
After a lot of headscratching I think I need to arrange for the following to be done:
No, that's wrong - er
No, that can't be right can it??
5. Lie down
5. Lie down
Within a short time it all went awry. So awry that first thing Monday morning I had no painter or carpenter able to do the job in time for wardrobe man to fit the wardrobes.
And then :
I panicked and by 11am Monday morning I had 2 lots of carpenters to do the same job (that is, one lot more than necessary), plus another guy also threatening to do the job as well. And the first two were both keen to come round the next afternoon to see what needed doing.
Workmen, it seems, are like London buses - none, or 3 number 74's coming along in convoy at the same time. Or if my experience as a single girl is typical, like boyfriends: either your love life is a Gobi desert of no suitors at all or ...I was trying to explain this to Mr B who said he'd really rather not know.
So I had visions of trying to juggle the 2 sets of workmen, to keep them apart, like a demented wife in one of those old West End farces, with a subtle title like "Banging in the Bedroom". (" No, don't go into that room, why not come downstairs and have a cup of tea with the Vicar!"). Now I am not an expert, but this does not seem to be good project management to me.
But luckily my saviour arrived in the form of Ron the Plumber Extraordinaire, who has done various jobs for us in the past and turns out to be so much more than just a plumber: electrician, builder, carpenter, philosopher, man of few words and serious style icon: never seen without a pencil behind his ear. Ron and his son Little Ron (both are 6ft 5) arrived, surveyed what needed doing and told me the painter would be able to get the work done in time. "But he told me he couldn't!" I blabbered. "We'll speak to him. He 'll do it." (Ron seems to run all of West London workmen, and if Ron says "Jump"..)
Of course Ron thinks I am a completely hopeless case but I think he enjoys sorting me out. I tried desperately to impress him by showing him my new folders. "And that helps does it?" he said.
Next time he comes I'm going to show him my kitty notebook.
P.S. This post has been delayed because the electrician turned up today and switched the power off mid-composition, how can an artist work in these conditions!
P.P.S. All that hooha about the Athlete's Village in India not being ready and fit in time for the Commonwealth Games - just like to make it clear, me and my kitty notebook were in no way involved. In any way. At all. Never even been to India. Honest.