A small block.


Some wedges.

I stood back, utterly alarmed. A confrontation between builders is a frightening experience. The Methodical Carpenter was clearly extremely upset and angry, and the wood was flying.

In front of me, the Methodical Builder tried vainly to calm things down.

“I’m taking my fucking tools!!!”

Crash!!! More wedges.

I did consider some form of intervention along the lines of: ‘Excuse me? This is my cottage. Please stop throwing wood and shouting “fuck” in front of my baby. I’m sure if we all sit down, perhaps with a cup of tea, we can come to some form of amicable arrangement.’

‘Or I will speak to the Syrians, and they will stop this shit’.

But my sense of self-preservation kicked in – the one that constantly prevents me from poking my penis into the food processor.

I’d walked in too late to see the first spark of the argument. But as far as I could work out, the Methodical Carpenter and the Methodical Electrician had been engaging in some form of simmering feud, which had reached a head the previous evening with the electrocution of the Methodical Carpenter. The Methodical Builder, whilst nominally in charge, appeared to have a totally ineffective set of HR policies and procedures to deal with this sort of event, and things had escalated.

Drawing myself up to my full height, and determined to take charge of the situation, I decided to quietly leave, after handing the Methodical Builder his usual cheque for thousands of pounds.

“Don’t worry. It’ll be sorted,” he hissed, in a miserable voice that was almost Shakespearian in its unconvincingness.

I got in the car and drove off. The cottage is almost completed, anyway. Except the stairs, doors, cupboards, wooden floors, skirting boards and everything else remotely related to wood.