Can he fix it?
Yes he can... I wouldn't want you thinking Bookhound's perfect or anything, we do both have our moments, but not only can he cut the crusts off cucumber sandwiches, he can draw plans and build things too, and he hasn't actually done this whole building from scratch thing on his own before, but we decided it was surely only like making a quilt really, except out of blocks... sort of.
So our planning permission went through unopposed, because mysteriously we were the only people the planning department wrote to asking if we objected to this building going on in our vicinity.
This may have been because we are the only people living in our vicinity, and we decided not to be NIMBYs, we didn't mind at all... let us not stand in the way of these nice people building in our back yard we said. It's going to be a small extension at the far end of the house that will solve some damp issues, inevitable in an old stone built cottage and also make that end of the house more self-contained with a kitchen of its own and the potential for ...for lots of things.
It goes in the local paper too and you'd be utterly amazed at the number of people who obviously read the planning applications because it's been non-stop around town these last few weeks,
'What are you building now then?'
'Isn't that house big enough already?'
By some miracle Bookhound had the footings dug and ready for inspection within twenty-four hours, much to the planning officer's amazement, er... ahem... and then it was time for the concrete to fill them. Never knowingly under-dug here when it comes to something that's involved playing with a digger for a week, the trenches were just slightly deeper than required and thus could happily take the weight of a multi-story car park should the need ever arise.
Oh dear, concrete.
After a fairly lengthy debate when we weighed up costings and what would be involved in mixing up 3.6 cubic metres ourselves (that's the royal 'ourselves') versus getting a lorry load in, it was eventually a no contest.
I bought Bookhound a brand new shiny orange gift of a cement mixer and said get on with it. This perhaps akin to him buying me some cotton seed and saying make your own fabric.
So of course I didn't say that, I don't want him crocked half way through all this after all, who would do the shopping and cut the crusts off the sandwiches then?
But the logistics of getting this stuff around the back of the house were very unstraightforward and we've done this before so we know what happens. The rotating lorry arrives, dumps several tons of liquid cement with a penchant for setting rock solid quite fast, dumps it miles away from where you need it and you then run like things possessed with wheelbarrows full and against the clock.
So being older and four building extensions wiser, Bookhound rang around, had reps to visit and it was agreed that a man with a pumping lorry would also be required. This all has to be synchronised because they happened to be coming from opposite ends of the county and we're working to a tight budget, so you don't want to be paying the pump man £80 an hour to be pumping fresh air while your cement lorry ambles along four hours late thinking it'll come to you drekkly via a drop in Bideford.
So it was all set up and by yet another minor miracle and a few phone calls diverting the absent lorry from Bideford, it all worked like a dream after a complex manoeuvre and docking out in the lane akin to something going on with the Mir space station.
Except more like a very fast moving nightmare for poor Bookhound, as the pump man languidly pointed the spewing hose pipe and stood and watched him shovel, and the lorry man stayed right out of the way on the lane drinking our coffee and taking in the lovely view.
Just a few dodgy wellie-top moments when a minute longer and Bookhound would have had that real-life Pompeii experience.
And then the small problem of what to do with the spare 0.4 cu metres of concrete because they insisted on delivering 4 when we only needed 3.6. We toyed, only toyed mind you, with the idea of a greenhouse base somewhere, but a base it would have remained having waved goodbye to three greenhouses since we've lived here. I took pictures and cheered from the sidelines whilst glaring at the pump man...who didn't get a Kit Kat with his coffee despite hinting that he'd like one.
Anyway now Bookhound's onto the building and it has corners and little sides and things and I go out every day and utter words of encouragement along the lines of
'Oh that's nice'
' Doesn't it look lovely'
about a row of breeze blocks, because after all he has admired my quilts in the making for years, but that's all next week 's instalment.