For the past six months there has been building work going on right next door to my house. In what I understand to have been the last undeveloped back garden within a 25 mile radius of Dublin city, a house is being erected. With this development comes all the mess, and noise, that you would expect.
I live in a small house with single glazing and paper thin walls, completely devoid of insulation. Maybe whoever threw it up in the eighties thought global warming was coming faster then it did. Or maybe they were just after a quick buck. Who can tell?
Anyway, suffice it to say, a lot of the time it seems like I’m living right in the building site. I work a lot from home, my office being a small table and shelf in the living room. Phone interviews are out. Recording anything longer than 30 seconds is out. You set the recorder to go, wait for the whine of the circular saw to subside, hit record, and keep going until the next bout of hammering starts. You can’t hang laundry outside, or it comes in with a fine layer of dust and needs to be put straight back in the wash. The car is constantly covered with said same layer of dust. And the dog is slowly losing her mind with all the activity.
It’s not all bad though. The builders are sound and shout pleasantly down from the scaffolding/roof as you go about your daily business. “Off to school?”, “Off on yer bike?”, “Hello doggy!” they coo any time we leave our house. They have even signed for packages a couple of times when I’ve missed a courier. “I pretended I was a laaayydeee!”. They like to listen to some radio station playing, you know, the hits of the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s, singing along loudly and commenting on the news.
Our garden is a tiny patch of dirt I have tried to improve by adding a plastic play house and some potted plants, but the little bench by the back door catches the afternoon sun and makes a pleasant place to sit and do homework or read a book with a cuppa. Recently myself and Little Bird were enjoying a bit of this afternoon sun when The Weight (Take a Load off Annie) by The Band came on the Builder 106.9 FM. There are lots of guys who come and go next door to do the scaffolding, insulation, roof tiling and so on, but the main crew are foreman James, of Kilkenny, and Polish first mate (is that the correct building term, or am I getting muddled up with pirates?) Piotr.
“Take a load of fanny?”, James starts giggling. “Take a load of fanny?”. Getting no response from Piotr, he continues. “Take a load of FANNY??” Why would you want to take a load of FANNY?”. Piotr, in an attempt to end this terrible joke, forces a mirthless laugh. “Fanny is Irish for gee.” explains James helpfully. I hear James returning in to the house, with a spade full of cement or whatever, muttering to himself “Take a load of fanny”. After a brief pause Little Bird turns to me: “Mum, what’s a gee?”. “It’s a slang word for vagina, love.”
Later that evening, I hear a call from the bathroom. “Mum, we’ve run out of loo roll, I can’t wipe my gee!”.
Thanks guys, and happy building.