Saturday, August 04, 2007

Pipework and Potter

Nestling in my wallet is a cheque for £700 from J the plumber. It's my first proper plumbing money. I don't want to cash it, I want to frame it.

I am of course still running at a massive net loss, if you count the cost of the course, the cost of the tools, the money I haven't been earning at NGO X since I went part time at the end of last year, the massive mobile phone bills I have run up ("no, it's still leaking, what do I do now?"). And if you knew how many hours I worked to earn that £700 you might think I was bonkers. I know some people do. Hell, quite often *I* do. So I wouldn't blame you.

But I did it my way. So I look at that cheque, and I smile.

And the £700 doesn't cover whatever it is I may have earnt this week plumbing in a giant vegetable steamer in a pub kitchen in Abingdon (the job that was flooded out last week). I was doing the pipework, J was doing the drainage, and S was doing the electrics. We were working alongside the staff, who were preparing lunch. It could have been awful, but it wasn't: everyone working in the kitchen was Eastern European, and they were considerate to a fault. There was a moment when I was perched on top of a large, temporarily relocated fridge with an SDS drill -- the drill was vibrating, the fridge was shaking underneath me, sweat was dripping into my eyes and waitresses were squeezing past like nothing untoward was happening. One of the chefs did squeeze me on the leg at one point, but it was a fairly pointless exercise, as I had my kneepads on.

Later, I was curled up behind the fridge fitting the non-return valve and the appliance isolator, swearing gently and melting slowly (it's a long time since I worked in a pub kitchen... they are really fucking hot) when J appeared above me. Leave that, he said, it's lunchtime. And we sat outside for half an hour with a platter of sandwiches and our flasks of coffee. I love it when someone tells me to take lunch. I love going through doors marked Private. I love it when my pipework comes together. And I love knocking off at 3 because the job's done.

So there was plenty of time to finish Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows . Unlike Beth, I was wrong about Snape (well, not wrong, but far from right). But I was right about Dumbledore, if not quite for the right reasons. I found its style as bloated and heavy-handed as most of its predecessors' -- especially the last chapter, which is almost unforgivably trite -- but it remains (sorry Charlie) a fantastic story on many levels and in many ways. Here's to the Free Elf (he was always my favourite).


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Blogger bedshaped said...

How about a nifty photocopy and then framing that.
I think it's hugely important to remember where it all started from.

4:54 pm  
Blogger Jo said...

Already taken a photo! I shall of course hang it in the toilet...

8:53 pm  

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