The bathroom renovation

Part 1

The bathroom renovation. An extension built fifteen or so years ago thinking about LB’s long term future. A downstairs bedroom and bathroom (always surprisingly) reached through a door under the stairs into what was a narrow garage.  A never quite [don’t ask] finished space steeped in emotion and history. ‘Valuing People’ an unformed kernel of an idea back then. ‘Still Valuing People’ to come. Still.

A failed attempt to complete it a few years after LB’s death. And silence.

Now. The clear out. Shelves of untouched stuff. Dust art installations to fascinate, intrigue, repulse. How does undisturbed dust work? Shake down, replenish and/or pile up?

Who is this little fella in a glass?

“The glass is from the Queen’s coronation” offered Rich.

A 68 year old glass. Seven years of dust. A mystery figure. [And 107 days…]

Sadness and excitement about reclaiming the space.

Part 2

This morning. Just after 7.30am. Shaken awake from strike slumber in a panic of door knocking and dog barking.

Christ. It’s the builder.

You go.

You go.

We grub around for bits of clothing in the dark.

He’s early.

Yeah. That’s a good sign.

Yeah.

I run downstairs and open the door.

Paul.

Sara.

Sorry, I’ve not been well. I may have to leave to get to the hospital quickly.

Crumbs, sorry to hear this. You shouldn’t be at work.

I’d rather be working to be honest. I’m fed up with doing nothing at home. I just can’t lift anything heavy. 

I offer him a cuppa. He’s not allowed fluids other than water before 10am. He’s brought water with him.

“What’s that face for?” asked Rich coming into the kitchen.

Nothing.

Part 3

We learn fragments of Paul’s life across the day. Family, health, (not) stockpiling bog roll and stories from decades of renovating bathrooms. A second builder pitches up to help. His wife texts to check on him. I learn about the technical background to the extension and plumbing failings. No damp stone is left unturned.

Love, quiet graft and commitment fills the space. And, with no whiff of cheesiness, hope.