Sunday, December 1, 2013


Such excitement! No sooner had I written a blogpost about the purple crosses and the prospect of having holes drilled around the house when a pair of hi-vis vests appeared. They brought rods and clipboards and other equipment and assured me that they were going to work manually rather than mechanically. They proposed to drill down no more than three metres – less if they found sand and/or water. Oh joy, that wouldn’t take long, the water under the house was high enough to sustain the hydrangea beside the deck – a bush that has never known rain and has always been watered by hand but is now flourishing and growing like Topsy without any help from me. Shame it will have to go once the demolition begins.

While those fellows were busy poking rods into the ground all over the place, another big van drew up outside and a very tall hi-vis vest wearing an akubra hat and glasses on a string appeared. He called me Elaine – a change from what people who don’t know me usually call me, and which I much preferred to what they usually call me – and said he had come to measure floor levels. It required line-of-sight for his theodolite, and that proved difficult. He even went next door, braving their hysterical dog, to try from there.  He ended up with his head in my pseudopanax, smacking at its big leathery leaves, while trying to focus on the calibrated stick his mate was holding steady just inside the front door.

One furry had sloped off into my wardrobe where she hides curled up on my slippers at the first sign of danger, especially if it shakes, bangs or fizzes. The other barely opened an eye from his morning nap. My head was snapping left and right, waiting for a geyser* to blow if the first two hi-vis vests struck water.  It didn’t happen, although before they went away they reported that there was both liquefaction and water underneath the house at a high level – like I didn’t know that already. It’s why the carpet in the back bedroom gets soaked sometimes. Foundations for the new build could be tricky: perhaps I will end up with a pole house.

The vest in the akubra hat was still peering through the pseudopanax and I suggested he break off a branch or two – it needed pruning anyway. He smiled gently and said he could manage, and eventually he and his mate packed up and went away too. One furry emerged from the wardrobe and the other opened an eye, blinked and went back to sleep.

*geyser: column of water (usually boiling hot) gushing from the ground in this part of the world

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