It’s been some days since we have had the builders here. Last Saturday was a Buddhist Poya day so some stayed working until 9 pm on the Friday night so they could travel to their home – most probably in the country and spend time with their families.
Two of the regular workers who have mainly been painting arrived on Saturday and went from room to room with a measuring tape and an eight foot curtain pole. I couldn’t figure out what they were doing – but they are two of the nicest workers who have been here.
Turns out they were measuring the walls and the areas they had painted so they could get paid for same.
A family medical emergency left me in the house on my own on Tuesday but I was not worried as no workers were expected. Within half an hour of the others leaving the doorbell rang and there were two men with a van. I had to phone the son who was driving and passed his phone to his father-in-law and then it was passed back to the son who told me it was okay as they were plumbers come to check the work in the bathrooms.
They fixed the leak in son’s bathroom and my bathroom was fine, but the in-laws had locked their door and I had no key. Access was solved in a scary manner as there is a full length glass door which leads to their balcony. Why it is half way up the staircase I don’t know but as soon as I suggested it one after another the men balanced one foot on the opposite side of the staircase and made the leap on to the flat area in front of the glass door. I had visions of the demise of the second plumber who was quite elderly with a smattering of white hair, and he wobbled a bit but all ended well as they checked the bathroom and exited the same way and headed off in one piece.
When they rang the doorbell I was baking scones and had one tray about ready to come out of the oven and another dozen or more cut ready to go in. I had bought Atta flour which I thought was the equivalent of plain flour but when I tasted one of the first batch after the plumbers had gone, the scones were really disgusting. I found I couldn’t light the oven for the second batch so ended up binning the lot. How was I going to find out which flour to use? I had used the cake flour for the birthday cake and that turned out okay but just okay.
It explains the state of my brain as it took me a couple of hours in which I had thought of asking for help on facebook, the local radio station here which plays 60s, 70s and 80s music. Eventually I worked out that the best person to advise me would be the daughter-in-law – now back in the UK. My email was replied to quickly and it turns out that Atta flour is for rottis, or chipatis etc and should be rolled out thinly. Definitely not a flour for scones. I was advised that cake flour is the equivalent of plain flour and needs baking powder added if you need the flour to rise.
I have been wearing Dunne’s knee length pyjama bottoms as shorts here. In fact I have been to the supermarket several times in the blue and white striped pj bottoms. I don’t think anyone will know they are pyjama bottoms and no one knows me here anyway. The pyjama bottoms are too thick to wear to bed.
Last night we unwrapped the two large sofas, covered in a soft grey material. We have three large leather sofas here but the climate in Colombo is too hot for leather. The leather sofas and chairs will be more useful in the Haputele house where the temperature is around 25C at most.
So we are progressing. The dust is almost at zilch, we have a full size fridge up and running, not the new main fridge with the inbuilt water filter, that has still to be connected. We have an outside cooker and an inside beautiful stove, and the washing machine and tumble drier are in constant use. And we have comfortable fabric covered sofas to sit on!
And I have been out on my own in the neighbourhood!