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Inspired by Builders (after a fashion)

Writing.ie | Member Blog

Chris Mills

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I am once more looking out at a rainy view as my eyes have strayed away from the laptop screen in search of inspiration. Blogger’s block strikes again. Then I hear it again, the thumping and banging sounds from next door. Next, the sound of drilling assaults my ears with muffled voices just audible in the background. Yes, you have guessed correctly, builders are at work next door. With not only cold and wet weather with which to contend but building work too, sometimes life just does not seem fair. Rain can aid my concentration with its rhythmic fall but there is very little the creative juices can do with the sounds of a pneumatic drill or the engine of a dumper truck. Maybe the delicate music of a lump hammer might inspire a composer to write something thrilling for a percussion section but I alas, have trouble stringing a coherent sentence together against the background noise.

Conscience forces me to admit though, that I am being rather a NIMBY about this, but when you have construction work on the other side of a party wall the strain on ones nerves tells very quickly. If we were decently detached then the builders could bang away to their hearts content. I suppose I should be grateful that I am not living next door to a major building site. It is only one extension and renovation job after all, even if it does feel as if the activity has been going on forever. This sort of carry on never happened in any ‘Bob the Builder’ episodes. Things were all fun and jolly in Bobsville and nobody had to wipe up any dust caused by drilling vibrations (and they had a talking dumper truck). At least the builders are not my contractors so I am not required to conduct the traditional tea ceremony.

Actually, the wind and rain is horrendously bad now, which confines the workers to the indoor renovations. Thus, the noises are nearer to hand; sometimes sounds are startlingly close. I just hope the mortar in the connecting walls is sound enough to withstand the strain. Come to think of it that last sentence has reminded me of an item or two of building related trivia which I shall now pass on to you. I was recently in Waterford for a weekend and visited Reginald’s Tower, (which I believe successive rulers had extended upwards a couple of times) a Norman tower built in 1171. Apparently, it was the first building in Ireland to have mortar used in its construction. The not so appealing part is that in those far off days mortar was made of a mixture of fur, blood (origin of these ingredients unspecified), lime and see mud. I suppose it was an improvement on wattle and daub after all. Therefore, if anyone should ever ask what you know about medieval construction methods you will be able to give a concrete answer (ouch, sorry).  

And lo, my building stress has given rise to a blog post….  

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