Monday, 4 February 2008


6.30am Wake up with a headache over one eye.

8.00am Realise there is no milk for Tiger's cereal. Decide to walk briskly to Co-op. Recall watching 10 mins of Wife swap on TV last night - the bit where Wife A informs Child B (not hers) that cow's milk is half pus. Buy goats milk instead. Get home. Feel sick. Scrutinise milk order to see if milkman can deliver goat's milk. (No.)

10.10am Remember that new car is due in garage for 1500 mile check at 10. Fortunately Tiger is dressed. Bundle her in car sharpish. Have discovered pain in mouth is large ulcer. Still feeling sick.

10.13 On opening the car door, I spy a beefcake-sort of man with a windbeaten face and a lumberjack shirt opened to reveal a reddened chest and a vest. He's also wearing an incongruous woolly hat, which he probably thinks he can get away with. Beefcake man looks at me with a sort of 'Oi' expression about his face, and stutters ' Is ... ' Unfortunately he can manage only that, as if lost for words at the sight of a non-made-up late Grit with a queasy stomach, headache over one eye, and a swollen mouth ulcer. Grit stares. Beefcake man stares back. 'Is ... er ... in?' he tries again, one thumb raised to the house. 'Who?' asks Grit. I recognise Beefcake man now. And my question is not unreasonable. Beefcake man could be here to meet Dodger, the owner of the middle flat who has recently been making free with our insurance and our maintenance budgets. And that's when I recognise Mr Beefcake. He is the roofer who has seen my underwear.

At this point I must pause to tell this glamorous tale. It might show how my life may be so easily compared to that of Kate Moss.

The other day, Dodger, who owns the middle flat that we don't live in, appeared at the door with Roofer man while Dig was in the shower. Apparently, says Dodger over the intercom, the best way to the back roof is through our kitchen window in our top flat. That way, Roofer man doesn't have to bother getting out the ladder. Dig, a kind hearted person who wants to be nice to everyone and is blind to mess, throws some clothes on and lets in Dodger and Roofer man through our top flat. (Oh dear. They are our bedrooms.)

At this point, Grit is not here. If she was here, she would have said No. Make an appointment and come back later. I have left old underwear all over the floor (being my bedroom after all) and today is also the day I am doing a spot of clothes organising, so have tipped the entire contents of the wardrobe over every surface. How messier can it get? Oh yes, I remember, there's a pack of sanitary towels perched on pile 7, a month worth's of newspapers by the door, toys all over the flat and a baking tray in the sink soaking off some fish skin.

But Grit is not there. And Dig lets in Dodger and Roofer man, who stagger through the H-bombed flat, probably thinking choice descriptive words for the inhabitants while they're about it. Roofer man climbs through the kitchen window to see the roof at the back of the house, incidentally leaving the window open all day while the heating is on. But he probably thinks jolly good because it saves getting out the ladder.

When Grit returns home after being out with her glamour associates, Shark, Squirrel and Tiger down the local mud spot where they have been engaged in mud education, she finds Roofer man has been standing on her knickers and probably scrutinising her bra hanging from the ironing board. (Yes, the bra I got for £1.50 down the charity shop, because I am mean and poor.)

And here he is again, 10.14am, no appointment, and not even having the courtesy to know the name of the sad unfortunate whose flat he wants to stride through and climb out the kitchen window to save getting out the ladder. Worse, he makes the fatal mistake of offering, in his mocking 'I'm a roofer me' tone, 'Wot? don't you know the name of your own husband?'

Grit probably does not fit very neatly into Roofer man's idea of the type of young lady who titters at his jokes. She does not wear short skirts. Or make up. And neither is she in awe of his vest or grateful for his roofing services. I am a woman with a headache over one eye and a mouth ulcer, and this man has stood on my knickers. Consequently, I would like to say 'You ***ing ****er ****hole ****er of a ****ing git'. But I do not. I am restrained. I do disdain. I say, 'Yes, I do know the name of my own husband' then get in the car to drive off.

But as I see him going to the house I reconsider, thinking just how nice Dig was last time and how I wasn't there. Well this time I am here. I leap out of the car and chase Roofer man up the path, stick my head round the lobby door and upset everyone by demanding he goes round the back and gets the ladder out.

11.10am. At the garage, I am told by someone who looks like they should work in the perfume section of John Lewis that the car undertray is broken. I have never heard of an undertray. But it is broken. And apparently it is not under warranty. It is our fault. Possibly because we have been throwing stones at it or driving over speed bumps.

11.20am. Return to find Dig putting down the phone. He says Dodger has complained because Roofer man's been on the phone complaining about how Grit was rude, and if we want him to do the roof it'll cost us three thousand pounds because he has to get the scaffolding out.

12.00 Thank goodness there is only the afternoon and evening left.


Brad said...

Goodness gracious, Grit swears like a sailor in her own mind, that’s a health sign.

grit said...

is it a sign of good health or bad? on some days it may be the only thing which keeps me sane.