A week passed in which almost nothing happened except for the arrival of the Canadian Professor. I continued to have a cough. We continued to have a back kitchen and no heating. There was no sign of the slater, etc. etc. I spent the day in bed yesterday to try and shift this virus, and woke to sounds of domestic Armageddon. A steady thumping from the area of the back kitchen, fiddlers on the roof, and the sound of a drill. Replacing of guttering and tiles continues apace at roof level, Barry has returned to putting catches on the windows, and the back kitchen is open to the sky: in fact, it has almost ceased to exist. My study is full of Hoovers and laundry-baskets and things: the only mitigating factors in the whole set-out are that something is finally happening, and that we no longer have poor old Meg to worry about: I think would have been most upset and put out (for one thing, it is ‘change for the sake of change … ’ and moreover we have had to put the freezer where her bed used to be). A little while ago, the annoying ‘ding-dong’ front doorbell, which hasn’t worked in years, started dinging and donging like a mad thing, and then began to buzz alarmingly. I can only think that back before we bought the house, there must have been a point when it rang in both front and back, and the dismantling of the extension disturbed a forgotten wire. In any case, Barry the Great charged to the rescue, and killed the thing before it exploded. I look forward, how I look forward, to its all being over.
Six o-clock. The back kitchen is as one with Niniveh and Tyre: naught remains but a smoking pile of rotten sarking gradually turning into ash. The breezeblock has been neatly buried, and the birds are, cautiously, beginning to sing once more. The door from the back kitchen opens onto void, which is a bit alarming because I keep thinking of going through it to the fridge. There is some guttering on the front of the house, looking handsome. I will doubtless come to regret the back loo, though dashing upstairs is doubtless good for me.