Thursday, July 15, 2004

A Story of Builders

Once upon a time, before you were born, children, back in the 1960's, the church of england® thought it would be a good idea to sell its old vicarages for a few thousand pounds (mostly they are now worth millions) and build new ones that were just as ugly as all the other houses that were being built in the 1960's. If possible, they should even be hideous. This is called incarnating the Gospel.

Many of those houses are now falling down. In the case of our house, it's not subsidence that is causing the problem, but heave. Apparently a drain runs under the house (good idea, what?) and this had been broken by a tree root and the clay was getting sodden and swelling, thus splitting the house apart in the middle. Last autumn we reported our concern about the interesting cracks that were appearing all over the house, to the diocesan surveyor. After much head-shaking, a structural engineer was sent for. Howard is a romantic's idea of a structural engineer: flowing shoulder-length locks, and cowboy boots. More shaking of heads and sympathetic noises. Our home obviously had but a short time to live: it might be six months, it might be six days.


This was late November. Howard was clearly loving it: this was going to be the kind of problem that adds some spice to a structural engineer's weary days. How to get a 4 metre long concrete lintel made and installed above the long French window and adjoining windows. Even how to get it into the back garden in the first place (knock down a wall? hire a crane higher than the house? lower it from a helicopter?) was providing hours of amusement.

So I said, "I hope you won't come and do this work the week after Christmas. If you could wait till the New Year...?"

Today, they came to start the work.

posted by Tony at 7/15/2004 06:28:23 PM

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