We’ve currently got the builders in (no, not the painters and decorators I’m relieved to say).  It’s time for new fascia boards, soffits, noggins, bird combs, and hard lips (don’t worry – I’d never heard of them either!).

The surveyor from the building company we chose had taken a sharp intake of breath, shaken his head, and had told us our fascias were rotten, some of the roof tiles were lifting, and all the guttering needed replacing.  He also had a quick look at next door, took another intake of breath, and told us that their new fascia boards had been put in half-assed by some Bodgit & Scarper company (well, he didn’t put it quite like that, but we got the message). We knew the work needed doing, and so we signed on the dotted line.

First of all we had to have the scaffolders in so that the builders could do their thing.  Scaffolders seem to get up even before the lark puts a beak out of his nest.  At 07:15 last Friday morning I was serving tea and biscuits in the garden to three hunky fellows (a girl can look, can’t she?).  However, when the builders arrived (not so hunky unfortunately) they complained that the scaffolders had built the platforms too high, and that they had to crouch down too much to replace the fascias.  They also said that the scaffolders should not have arrived before 8am, and should not have needed to erect the poles five days in advance, thus depriving us of our Sky TV.  Well, we were getting off to a good start, weren’t we?

The builders had a quick glance at next door’s new fascias, conferred with each other, and agreed that their company must have put them in, as they looked rather good and matched our new ones exactly.  I wanted to laugh out loud at that moment, remembering the surveyor’s words.  I mentioned to them that the surveyor had blasted the company who had put them in. This caused a knowing glance to pass between the builders which I picked up on.  I thought that maybe the surveyor had no idea who had put in our neighbour’s fascias and was giving out a subtle message that I should inform them that they needed to get them replaced, and coincidentally, who better to replace them than the builders who were doing such a grand job next door?

To finish the job on our roof and move on to the lower extension, the builders needed the scaffolding taken down on the second day.  This time the scaffolders arrived even earlier, 07:00 (whatever time do these people get up?) and we were briefly the neighbours from hell.

I’m getting very good at making tea.  The builders drink it all day but never seem to visit the bathroom, even though tea is a diuretic.   Isn’t it strange? They’ve eaten a packet of biscuits between them, and every time I look out of the lounge window there’s a pair of hairy legs clad in shorts and hobnailed boots swinging atop some kind of moving platform.

I’m looking forward to tomorrow, because that’s when they pack up and leave us with brand new fascias, soffits, noggins and bird combs, not forgetting the hard lips.  I’m fresh out of teabags, milk, and biscuits!