Standing in a circle were seven guys hanging out in the kitchen at Quinta Blackberry. Ah, no, it wasn’t party time. Diggory our builder had somehow managed to get the plumber, the electricians and the kitchen carpenters together at the same time. I didn’t have a clue what they were talking about as no-one spoke English, but rapid decisions were being made. Paint was sprayed over my kitchen tiles, diagrams were sketched. Blue paint was to mark where the electrics would go. Green was for the plumbing. Or the other way around. I hope they remember when it comes to doing the job.
The tiles now had thick lines of indelible paint over them. Oh good. “The tiles have been sprayed”, explained Diggory, in excellent English. “Is better we replace them”. I assumed he knew what he was doing, and I nodded as though I knew he knew what he was doing. We went into the bathroom. “We have to chip out some tiles to put in the fixtures, maybe we save them, but is unlikely”, he said.
“Can you try?” I asked, “may be just chip round here, put in some more white ones” I said, pointing to the side of the old, broken loo and trying not to sound desperate. I did rather like the tiles that were already in the bathroom. Diggory, or rather his tile man, would do his best, but it would be difficult, he said. The tiles would crack. It wouldn’t look professional. A conversation went ahead on how high I should have the tiles. Tile over the old ones or rip them out? Ripping them out would apparently be better. If you say so, I thought. After all I’d seen his work, it was impressive, and he came with good references. I was in his hands. Metaphorically.
We’d already had the electrics done. What had been done however, wasn’t suitable for what was needed in the kitchen. They’d have to add another fuse box. Oh good. We could have a wire around the outside of the house or coming down through the attic. Then the choice was taken away. It would have to be the attic. They could drill through the ceiling.
The eight of us trooped upstairs to where the previous owners had a kitchen. I believe a second kitchen is Portuguese custom so that when we are older our children can move in with their children and cook, clean and do everything else for us in the way that we now do for them. I haven’t checked with the kids about this yet. Maybe I’ll mention it just before they need help with homework or something.
The upstairs kitchen was also given a glorious coating of spray paint, necessitating brand new tiles. As was the upstairs bathroom. Oh good. When it’s all done, if we have any cash left, then it will be party time.