Last Friday I felt a bit down and I was wondering why. I realised it was because the builders were about so much and were rather taking over. I think I felt kind of powerless to deal with it and given that it affected my home and my privacy, I found this a rather uncomfortable position to be in.
I bumped into my neighbour on Friday night and she told me that the builders had said they would be back on Saturday. I didn’t really want to speak to the freeholder, who the work was being carried out for privately on the two flats that she owns. She had no idea that they were coming back the next day. But I assured her that the builders said that they were and in the end she agreed to see what she could do, as it would affect my barbecue. She did manage to get them to agree to come early and said that they would be gone by 2pm (it was 5pm as it turned out). In some ways I felt sort of elated that I had tried to do something about it, rather than just letting the builders do as they please.
The next day the builders started work before 9am, but they did start on the windows that would most affect the barbecue. Late morning I found one of them in my garden with his ladder. He put it up in my garden and then trampled on my plants to go up and down the ladder. After a few minute is went outside to say that I didn’t appreciate him standing on my plants and that eh should have spoken to me before coming into my garden. One of the other builders told me that it was not my private property and bizarrely I then had to explain to him that it was and that I owned my flat and garden. Then the main builder shouted at me and told me that I should direct any comments to him because he was “the boss”. I told him that I had nothing to say to him and he answered back (I already knew he was really rude) and in the end had to very firmly say to him that I didn’t want to talk to him and walk off.
It’s not that I can’t stand up for myself (although sometimes I do it somewhat nervously). It’s that I think I find it hard when people somehow threaten (in a psychological sense) my home, which is in its own way a sort of security for me.
Sometimes over the last couple of weeks I have found that I could leave work pretty promptly, but then my heart has sunk because I have realised the builders might be here. There is a part of me that thinks that it is justified to feel the way that I do (and I think it is fine to not like people treating me and my neighbours with the contempt that the builders do). But there is also a pat of me that thinks that I should learn to “hold things more lightly”. If you don’t get your security from ‘things’ then people can’t, either deliberately or accidentally, affect that.
Things to ponder.
London’s Alleys – Gunthorpe Street, E1
19 hours ago