By “The Photographer’s Assistant”
The Photographer spent the morning making his list. Things were serious. The Daughter had gone beyond Hoovering and moaning about the danger to her mother’s health from the awful bedroom carpet, which she claimed could give an athsmatic a really dreadful attack. The Photographer was under the cosh. The carpet was old and gruesome, but what about the bank balance! He had examined the room thoroughly and had to admit that it was freezing in any weather. He had decided upon a full renovation. Four inches of insulation would have to be added to the inside of the outside wall, where, incidentally, he had discovered a slate hearth, which had long ago belonged to a fireplace.
The Photographer made his list carefully. No interruptions were permitted. He had been up and down the stairs all morning with his tape measure and builder’s catalogues, and he felt that he had made enough progress to go to the builder’s yard in the next village. Surprisingly, the Moor was quite well suppled with working materials, probably due to the real need to keep the buildings standing upright against their will.
The Photographer arrived at the yard and the general alert went out. They were pleased to see that the Assistant, complete with bag, pen and list was also there. The Photographer sometimes needed a translation service for his more outlandish ideas. Richard,the poor man entrusted with the order, laid across the counter, calculator in hand, looking as if there was some possibility of understanding, but not completely. The Assistant poked about with interest. The builders never thought that she was a woman without a clue, understanding that she was the chief decorator. On her last trip in, Richard had shown her a new and interesting range of paint, which she had been giving some consideration. It certainly seemed to mix up well. Something had caught her eye. The Photographer tended to use saws in a haphazard way. Here was a real bargain, which he had to agree on. Saws were on offer at £10 for two. What a bargain!
It was nearly closing time and Richard was looking tired. It was too late to arrange delivery, and they would in any case, have to send their most patient delivery driver, at least this was what Richard was thinking quietly to himself. The truck would have to be unloaded in the most haphazard of circumstances, amidst mud and The Assistant’s vegetable patch. God alone knew where the Photographer would want the stuff put.
The work continues. It will probably continue for months. The builder’s yard will be under siege and it is just possible that if it goes on too long, Richard will have some sort of nervous attack. Watch this space!
November is the month of the water supply. The bore hole and its mysterious workings are maintained by Martin. He has arrived with his son, who after a year or two, appears to have decided to go into the family business.
The Assistant is in a gruesome mood. The Photographer had not told her of this arrival, which meant that the water supply would be cut off for at least three hours. This was her housework and cooking day. Further, it was also the day when the Boyfriend and Daughter came to supper each week. The Daughter liked to pretend she was coming for a nice supper, but really she came to check up on her eccentric parents latest ideas. There was the time when she learnt that there was to be a poetry reading by the stream in the garden, and she was congratulated on the tea, which she was making, which she knew nothing about! The parents could be quite outlandish and she had to live in the little town amongst public comment. Occasionally, when she was in town she would pick up on some scheme that her parents had come up with and would have to make an urgent phone call to the house. Martin filled and emptied vessels while the Assistant ticked away in the background. When Martin, or rather his son had finished, there was a sigh of relief until the Assistant tried out the flow of water from the tap. What was this trickle? No respectable housewife could put up with this! Martin made a French style shrug of the shoulders. What about the bath upstairs! How long was that going to take to run? It already took ten minutes of The News At Five! Martin urged his son to turn things up a bit, which was a slight improvement, but there had been grit in the system indicating that the equipment was sucking, so that was that. Martin daren’t meet the Assistant’s eyes. He came up with an offer. If he attached a new filter below the kitchen tap, the Assistant wouldn’t have to buy drinking water. The water would be drinkable. The Assistant was in heaven. Martin was her hero again. The Photographer, unable to deny the Assistant anything on pain of death asked for a quote. Heaven!
So the winter will continue. Will Zany, the Daughter’s dog eat the Christmas cake, or the pudding so carefully made by the Photographer? Will the Assistant be able to keep the Photographer under control? Will the bedroom survive? Will the annual seed order arrive on time? Will the Assistant collapse under the weight of Christmas cards, presents and the terrible demands for a traditional time? Will the Boyfriend secure the turkey crown of his grandmother’s dreams in a rugby scrum in Tesco? Find out next month!
The insulation is in place! The Assistant is warm in bed…..just the 72 metres of T&G to fit and the new lighting system…oh, and the floor to sand and paint…..no worries Christmas is months away yet isn’t it?