The Idiot Gardener and The Suburban Bushwacker will know how I feel. I suppose there are a lot of blokes out there who will know how I feel. Most of them of course will say in hushed, incredulous tones, ‘How could you be THAT stupid?’
Bambi Basher would probably just do the decent thing and put me down out of kindness.
Not that any of them would argue with the logic I applied to come to the decision I did. Not at all. The logic was sound. What they will marvel at is that I, a trained soldier with experience on many of the World’s battlefields would use logic as my only defence against the wrath of a woman. A very thin line indeed and about as much use as a chocolate fireguard.
You see. I contracted a mate to finish off the restaurant.
To me, he was the obvious choice. I am tired of using local odd job men. It never works out cheaper in the long run and then I am left to live with doors that don’t close properly, door handles that fall off in my hand and drains that remain stubbornly blocked. Unless you are on top of them, they will finish the tiling and then send the plumber in who will smash everything to hell again. They don’t know what on earth an earth circuit is so it is entirely possible to be electrocuted by your own washing machine and since they now use plastic water pipes instead of steel ones, the old trick of earthing the chassis of such appliances to the nearest pipe no longer works.
I have a 200 square metre thatched dining area and no-one would be surprised to learn that I am dead keen the wiring is done properly lest I see a not inconsiderable investment turn to ashes. Besides which, overdone clients are worse for business than overdone steaks.
My mate, therefore, was the ideal man for the job. He has his own construction business, a lumber concession and his own sawmill. Among his staff he boasts trained electricians, carpenters, plumbers, mechanics and brickies. Being a Brit, he understands basic building regulations and promised to have the job done in six weeks.
Marcia agreed with me in the end, but only in the way women do when they say something along the lines of, ‘No Darling, that’s fine. I understand, truly I do!’ and then drive the stiletto home by muttering into their dinner, ‘Have it your own way’.
The six weeks elapsed mid February. There is no point me blaming the delay on the Angolan authorities who have been, even for them, stunningly slow in renewing my mate’s visa leaving him stuck amongst his trees down south rather than beavering away industriously on my land. It would only strengthen Marcia’s argument that we should have contracted thieving, inefficient Angolan jobbing builders who can’t even bang a nail in straight. There would be no value in pointing out I am similarly afflicted, my visa having expired in December meaning I had to be smuggled down here from the old house and am now stuck here lest I fall prey to the transit police between here and the city and to suggest that, by her logic, maybe she would have been better off marrying an Angolan might only serve to give her ideas I would find disconcerting.
My mate is both apologetic and sympathetic but he is safe half way up a mountain with his trees and it is me that has to live in close proximity to Marcia. I want the sand dunes between me and the sea to build up, not erode them with me pacing backwards and forwards along the beach which is about as far as I can get away from her if she is in a mood short of diving in and striking out towards Brazil.
I can cope during the week but at weekends I feel the loss of business as keenly as Marcia. It is just that Marcia is rather more demonstrative. I was a salesman once, and I did look at potential clients as persons walking around with my money in their pockets. Clearly she feels the same way and with every one of them that walks away disappointed having learnt we are still not open, she gives me hell. Financially, we are in that happy equilibrium espoused by Mr Micawber, "Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen six, result happiness.” but Marcia feels that while there is no reason expenditure should not remain the same, annual income could be considerably enhanced were it not for a decision I made.
I could not give a damn about some butterfly wasting a lifetime's worth of accumulated nectar by flapping its wings in China thereby provoking a tidal wave in the Americas (although I have had my fair share of one of those recently), all I know is that some lazy git in an Angolan Visa office managed, by doing absolutely effing nothing, to cause me and my mate a perfect shit storm.