Thursday, 6 September 2012

Get Your Rocks Off



It’s a pathetic attempt to spice up a tawdry tale of house renovation with an over-worked reference to rock and roll, but there has been a noble tradition of glancing rock references in the titles of the various texts in this blog, and chipping 50 year old tiles away from our cracked walls seems close enough to “getting your rocks off” to warrant defiling the memory of Bob Dylan, Manfred Mann’s Earth Band, the Rolling Stones and Primal Scream.


After landing in our Bogotá flat in November of last year, we have finally secured the resoures to undertake the substantial refurbishment that the building has been crying out for for years (it’s sort of like a Sherman from Sherman for me). The fact that the entire city is built on a swamp in the middle of an earthquake zone has meant that buildings tend to move, slide, tip over and generally crack. Added to that some buggers came along a few years ago and built a 6 storey block of flats right next door, which meant that our entire building settled on that side, leaving doorframes in a parallelogram shape with rectangular doors that no longer close in them. It’s fab.

So the builders have moved in. On Sunday we had a kitchen. On Monday we had a pile of rubble. On Tuesday we had no bathrooms worth mentioning. The pile of rubble sacks by the front door looks like something from the Battle of the Somme. We live on the fourth floor – I sincerely hope these boys are going to devise some sort of pulley system to get the rubble down from here, for there’s tons of the stuff. In the first photo, you'll notice the onerous health and safety precautions that have been taken. These fellas use toilet roll to protect their noses from the dust, and scrunch up their eyes to make sure there's no injuries from shards of flying porcelain. Just like in Welsh theatre construction workshops.

Enjoy speculating on our misery. The four of us now snuggle up together in a single room in the 3rd floor flat, sharing with Patricia’s cousin. Whether or not Pati’s cousin’s patience will last longer than the stamina of the builders I don’t know, but for the time being we’re on our best behaviour and bring cakes and biscuits to hide behind. Although all things considered, this is small suffering compared to the sort of lunatics who’d live in a tent in west Wales for three years waiting for planning permission, don’t you think?


By the end of the day there was no kitchen left.

Bizarrely, against all expectations, they had cleaned up by the next day.

Like a British Army base in the Bogside.

Not so long ago we used this space for ablutions.