An Absolute Nightmare. And A Blessing In Disguise?


Step into my parlour.. and please don’t forget to wipe your feet.



The sand blasting man is back. To take the black paint off the beams and the fireplace and the red paint off the floor.

Yesterday did not start well. Not when, even before breakfast, one is faced with a choice between two equally undesirable scenarios. The dust and airborne sand created by the blasting has to be expelled from the room so the man’s eyes, already compromised by his heavy protective helmet, can penetrate the gloom and focus on the task at hand. So, do we point his extractor fan out of the sitting door and plunge the hedychium, the turk’s cap lilies (freshly in bloom) and all else on the terraces into the maelstrom from hell? Or do we position it adjacent to the side window and line up the crosshairs on Acer ‘Ozakasuki’? There may have been words which, given that you’ll possibly be reading this ahead of the 9.00 p.m. watershed, really don’t bear repeating.



With a heavy heart, even heavier than will likely result from a certain leadership election later on today, I opted for the Acer. On the basis that it was just that little bit farther away. Perhaps far enough to dissipate some of the force.




The sand hopper. Which also, conveniently, expels air under pressure. Mike’s makeshift defences protect the face of the bank from the imminent onslaught.


So could the day get any worse? Well of course it could.

The gardener, the somewhat Grumpy Gardener by this point it has to be said, retreats to the weeding on the Precipitous Bank. After less than a minute she is forced to relocate her position having been overcome by dust even though she was around the corner and some way back from the blasted blasting man’s fan.

Footsteps on the path. The blasting man has emerged from the sitting room and now has his head buried deep within the workings of his air compressor. Mike, being as we know fascinated by anything mechanical, goes to assist. The blasting man’s head is first to emerge. “Looks like she’s overheating.. we’d better let ‘er cool down a bit.” I don’t think he was referring to me.

A layer of fine sand settles quietly across the valley and for a blissful moment all is calm.



The blasting man grabs the first useful thing to hand.. my two gallon watering can. Mike unravels the hose as I run with the business end of it up the path, past the sand hopper and onwards toward the compressor parked some distance away on the drive. Flames flicker up from inside the machine. Seconds later, mercifully, the fire is out. The watering can was enough. But that marks the end of sand blasting for the day.



After the gathering together of hoses and other assorted bits of kit it is some minutes before we can venture back inside the house. Later still to go upstairs to the bedroom, the room directly above blasting ground zero. Of course we knew the bedroom was vulnerable. The spaces between the floorboards are up to a centimetre wide. In places in the sitting room the ceiling has been removed although the builders had done their best to cover the gaps with hardboard. We’d laid heavy duty dust sheets on the bedroom floor and weighed them down as best we could. It wasn’t enough.



The sand has found its way through. In places the spray pattern up the bedroom wall reaches two feet or more above the boards.

The unexpected hiatus in proceedings may have turned out to be a godsend. He’d only been blasting half an hour or so before the compressor met its demise. I can scarcely imagine what would have happened if it had carried on all day. As it turned out we’ve had a bed for the night and the opportunity for another trip to B&Q. Defences have been bolstered. There may now be a national shortage of masking tape. Better import more before the trade barriers go up. That and dust sheets..



And so it all resumes later on today. With the benefit of a new compressor.

Wish us luck.