The garage is sound! No leaks!
The wall ... the one with the cracks in it ... this one in fact ...
|Lower right of window|
|Upper right of window|
... has almost dried out to the point where it could be reinforced with steel rods.
The bathroom, which wasn't originally on my "To do" list, is about to be ripped out and new fixtures and fittings installed.
All-in-all I reckon nearly £4000 of my money has evaporated into those two projects.
Now, knowing everything is either finished or well in hand, I can
It was in 1971 and I was 12 years old.
Memory is fickle and my recollections of this time are sketchy to say the least, but at 12 years of age I do recall that I very nearly committed suicide.
There are many ways of doing such a thing; many involve pharmaceutical product of one kind or another, arriving on low places at speed or firearms.
In my case it would have been suicide by Margaret Middleton.
Margaret was a big girl.
She stood a good five inches taller than I did and, in times of trouble, she was perfectly built for several people to hide behind.
One day, just after my twelfth birthday, a note was passed to me in class.
It read 'Meet me after school at the gates! Margaret'
It was a note that struck fear into my heart and made me yearn for several hours of detention.
You see, Margaret always got her way and she was quick with her fists when she didn't. If she didn't get you, her two brothers would.
I spent all day in school telling my friends that she didn't scare me and that she'd have to wait until the world froze over before I'd go out with her.
But I was quaking in my boots!
I therefore decided that at the end of school I would run like hell across the sports field, climb the fence and take the long way home.
As I was halfway over the fence I heard a voice say "You little shit! I thought you'd leg it this way!"
It was Margaret!
She punched me!
Then, to my surprise, she gave me a curly-wurly (a chocolate covered toffee bar) and told me that she only wanted me to get my best pal, Les, to stop sending her notes asking to take her out because she was going out with Tom 'Knocker' Powell.
It was like a great weight had been lifted from my shoulders. I felt like I was almost floating. I was in the clear!
Oh and the up-side of the story is that she gave me a handful of notes, all in the handwriting of my pal Les, which I was able to use for many weeks as a means to torture him.
But I was brought back to earth with a stern warning from Margaret.
She said "If I had wanted to go out with you and you'd run away from me like you just did, I'd smash you face in!"
Now that did scare me. After all, she'd just punched me in the nose and fattened my lip. I dreaded to thing what her version of a smashed in face looked like.
This is the first time that I have ever admitted that it was she, and not her brothers (as I told everyone it was), that beat me up.
I do so in the full knowledge that none of my school friends will be reading this ... I hope.