No nails so all work has stopped. Naturally, I was supposed to be annoyed and champing at the bit but actually, I was rather relieved and Dominic doubly so. There were things we could have been getting on with. Cutting the base boards to go round the outside of Stalag Luft III to deter tunneling for example. I could also have cut the timbers to make door and frame but neither Dominic nor I could muster a sufficient head of steam to gain steerage way. Without an excuse, though, idleness is hard to forgive while there is still breath left. Thankfully, Klein pitched up unexpectedly from Germany late yesterday afternoon and decided to accept an invitation to supper and stay the night. Tools were downed, bodies washed and I got on with the much more relaxing task of rustling up a chicken curry. Klein’s favorite tipple is whisky and cola but having overcome his shock at learning he was seeing me sober for the first time in the fifteen years we have known each other, he was too considerate to think about drinking in front of me. Nice of him but all bollocks, why should social drinkers suffer because an old alcy has finally seen sense? I hauled a bottle out and poured him a drink. After that he helped himself.
Klein slept so soundly that by ten this morning I was ready to check his pulse; having a German national die in his sleep in my house so soon after eating one of my curries would take some explaining. It was lunchtime before everyone was truly up and about. Instead of hard labour, therefore, the rest of the day was given over to a rather more civilized guided tour of all three sites. And this was a good thing. It meant that Alex, Dominic and I actually spent quality time together with Klein. There was no hurry, we just ambled and were easily and pleasantly distracted by the so often overlooked little things. I caught a lizard and demonstrated how, when alarmed or angry, it would change colour from a dull and drab brown camouflage to iridescent blue. Even Klein, who I thought had seen everything, was impressed. Back home we discussed top bar bee hives and how to catch a swarm. I told Klein that my enthusiasm for apiarism had been dampened by Marcia who refused to countenance hives in the garden. Like the bees he is so evidently fond of, he had Marcia sipping nectar from his hand and authority for a hive was duly granted. An impressive feat given Marcia had been stung by a bee only two days before. As an agricultural consultant to the Angolan government on behalf of the German government, he knows everyone who matters and promised me good laying hens and ducks to stock Stalag Luft III.
A lazy day but by no means a wasted one.
|Harald Klein and Alex with the dogs, Eddie, Charlie and Doggie.|
|Dominic studying a bit of wood, me drinking Fanta and Alex testing the recently installed steps|
|One of the cottages showing skylight detail|
|Foundations going in for the next of four cottages|
|The nicely settled in pond. Full of pan sized fish, just begging for a few willow trees|
|A normal coloured lizard|
|Which, if rudely snatched from its reverie, turns blue with apoplexy|
|Just as I did when I discovered the builders had managed to set fire to the toilet|
|Eddie and Charlie taking a breather in the shade|
|Last job of the day, water the raised beds|