What I did this summer…1

“We should knock down the staircase wall” she said.

She definitely said “We”, as in “More than one of us”, if she had meant “You should knock down the staircase wall on your own” then she would not have said “We”, she definitely said “We”.

Let me explain…

Our house was built in 1955, its just one year older than I am and like me it was built in that solid, square 1950s style of building, the “Lets not fook about here, they want a house, we’ll build them a solid house that will never fall down for the next millenia” approach to building houses.

The house has no partition walls, it has no frame-and-plasterboard walls that you can punch a hole in when the mood takes you, try and punch a wall in our house and the house will punch you back, so when the 1950s builders decided that the staircase needed something to prevent you from falling off the stairs as you descended they built a brick wall to box in the stairs – a double skin brick wall, I told you they didn’t fook about, its not load bearing or anything but just in case someone ever fell down the stairs with enough force to demolish a single skin brick wall, they built it double skinned.

So its very safe then.

But it makes the hallway very dark.

“We should knock down the staircase wall” she said, “It will make the hallway so much lighter and we can put one of those nice pine and chrome modern balustrades that we saw in B&Q down the stairs, that would be nice wouldn’t it ?”

“Indeed it would my dear” I replied, I stopped short of asking just how much she would be involved in this venture, for of course I already knew the answer to be “zero”, for womenfolk are there for inventing jobs for menfolk to do as they disappear out the door to do that thing they call “shopping”.

It was the May Bank Holiday weekend that I stood on the back doorstep and waved le famille ¬†JerryChicken farewell on another of the things they call a “shopping trip” and I turned inside to address the issue of the staircase wall with the aid of a huge sledgehammer.

Oh one more thing – the week previous I had taken up the wood plank flooring that we’d laid down a year previously, that was a big mistake that flooring, we hated it from the minute it went down and it was going to get damaged by demolishing the staircase wall anyway, so up it came and a new carpet was ordered with instructions to “Wait until we’re ready for it to be fitted” – I hope you’re keeping count of the tasks that I have completed these past two months while the womenfolk have “been shopping”, thats “lift and dispose of wooden flooring” and “demolish staircase wall” so far, ok ?

The staircase wall came down after much effort from myself and the sledgehammer, right down until it was level with the angle of the stairs themselves, that is to say that when you now walked down the stairs you had nothing but a gaping void on your left hand side, scary eh ?

“So now what are you going to do with THAT ?” she asked in a rather sarcastic tone as if all of this had been my idea, note that she had now switched to “You” rather than “We”.

Woodworking skills to the fore now, a nice plank of eight by two planed pine sat nicely on top of and bolted into what remained of the wall, then packed underneath with lots of cement and finally finished off with plaster together with the plasterwork on top of the kitchen door which had mysteriously fallen off while I banged and hammered the staircase wall into submission.

So lets stop and count…

1. Take up the wooden floor
2. Demolish the staircase wall
3. Make good with cement and bricks what was left of the staircase wall
4. Plane and cut to size a nice slab of pine to sit on top of what remained of the staircase wall
5. Finish the edges with neat plasterwork and replaster the wall above the kitchen door

And still “We” hadn’t made an appearance.

And then she found me some more jobs…

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