The past week has been an endless succession of meetings with builders, plumbers and electricians, as we prepare to start renovating our new home, a rambling 17th Century Farm House, which has been in Jasper's family for generations.
While it's a tremendously exciting prospect, it's a daunting task. I have already skipped up the stairs to the first of the six bedrooms, brandishing a wall paper scraper and attacking the woodchip with gusto, only to tear a huge crumbling chunk of plaster from the wall, out of which spewed horse hair, dirt, sand and earth. I stared dismally at the small pile of rubble by my feet and realised that i had a opened a can of worms; being bloody minded has its uses though, and I grimly resolved to complete the task in hand.
Eight days and about a hundred gallons of water in the steamer later, I have finally finished, although if i ever see another piece of wood chip wall paper again, i shall scream. The builders were gratifyingly impressed with my handi work, and also commended me for my use of a sledge hammer, with which i single handedly demolished the fifties hearth, to expose a cavernous inglenook fireplace, perfect for curling up next to with a glass of red wine during the cold winter evenings.
They are a nice lot, the builders. I make them cakes and shortbread every day, and always ensure that they help themselves to tea. They were visibly surprised when i presented them with the first lemon sponge.
"Blimey!" Kevin exclaimed. "We didn't even get a cup of tea on our last job"
I looked appalled.
Gary agreed , shaking his head. "We were there six months and the woman who owned the house never said hello to us once."
"How rude!" I said, thrusting a plate of shortbread at them and flicking the kettle on.
As I type this, they are demolishing the three foot wall dividing the current kitchen and dining room, to make one huge kitchen and living area, complete with the dark blue, 4 oven Aga that has haunted my dreams for the past ten years. I haven't actually called in there today. Jasper went down earlier with a banana loaf and some currant biscuits because I'm still too embarrassed to face them after yesterdays episode.
Lily and I had popped into the Doctor's to collect my Mother In Law's prescription. They were running late and we had quite a long wait , during which I idly flicked through back issues of Country Life, whilst Lily busied herself stuffing my hand bag with medical leaflets about how to improve your pelvic floor muscles/reduce the risk of heart attacks and recognise the symptoms of senile dementia.
Having finally signed for the prescription, we whizzed home to see how work was progressing in the farm house. The builders were having a tea break in the kitchen when we arrived; their eyes lit up at the sight of the plate of cheese straws and they were soon chomping away, emitting grunts of appreciation. They had almost eaten the lot when a tall man strode in brandishing a new S bend. I was just wishing that i had combed the plaster filled dredlocks out of my hair, when he introduced himself as "Eddie the Plumber".
Goodness, he was heavenly! A dark haired, broad shouldered vision of loveliness with wonderful Slav cheek bones and piercing blue eyes. He flashed a smile, revealing a perfect set of even white teeth.
Even Lily had abandoned Iggle Piggle and was gazing up at him with her mouth open.
I bustled off feeling rather flustered to make him a cup of tea, and returned to find him bending down talking nonsense to Lily, who was flirting shamelessly, staring coquettishly up at him from beneath lowered eyelashes.
"She's gorgeous." he smiled, as I handed him a mug.
Lily was searching for something to give to him; in the absence of a piece of cake or a carrot baton, she began delving into my enormous hand bag, which was full to bursting with toddler related paraphernalia. With a flourish and a chortle of triumph , she produced a shiny, crinkly pink package, which she handed to Eddie with a shy smile.
"Thankyou!" he exclaimed, affecting delight.
The smile froze on his face and I noticed a flush creeping up his neck. I peered closer at the object, and saw that he was clutching a Chlamydia Testing Kit.
"That's not mine!" I blurted.
"No really." I squealed. "She must have put it in my bag when we were at the Doctor's."
Eddie looked like he's just swallowed a pigeon. The electrician walked out. I watched his shoulders shaking as he retreated. My face was blazing.
They all stared at me.
"For Goodness sake, i haven't got the bloody Clap!" I said huffily, going even redder.
Eddie handed me the offending item, which I stuffed unceremoniously in the bin
"Kids eh?" he said with a sympathetic smile.
I can hear the Dorset Gossip train building up a head of steam....
"Choo choo choo! Mrs Miller's got THE CLAP!! CHOOOO CHOOOO! "