Good foundations

There was an auction this time fifty years ago.

I wasn't at it but my father was.

The bidding was brisk and soon rose to £900 [offered by the Da].  The auctioneer then stopped the bidding, took the two interested parties outside and explained that there was a reserve of £1,000.  “£1,010” says the Old Man and thus he [and ultimately myself] became proud owners of a fair slice of Wicklow, along with a cottage with no sewage, no water and only one power socket for electricity.

I was still at school then with another year or two to run.  I was young and had yet to discover the delights of life.  I hadn't even smoked my first pipe nor grown a beard. 

Having bought the place my father [an engineer] designed a large extension to the cottage and between himself and myself we built it.  He was the brains and I was the brawn, so I got to do the easy stuff like digging foundations by hand, block laying and a lot of carpentry, while he did the hard stuff like telling me where to dig for drains.  If any of you have ever built a house single handedly, you'll know what's involved.

Building

Me [on the left, block laying].  Father [on the right, checking my levels]

Quite a lot has happened since then.  I lost my father, my mother and my sister to The Grim Reaper.  I also lost a brother but as far as I know, he's still around somewhere though I haven't seen him in years.  I went through college and a lifetimes graft before the mast.  I met Herself and 36 years ago [on this date, as it happens!  Happy Birthday, Kid!] the daughter came along.

The path from being a spotty teenager to a nice lovable old pensioner has not been easy but it has been fun.  Given my chances again I doubt I would do anything differently, which I suppose is a good reason to be content?

So I'm sitting here in the extension what I built all those years ago and am wondering where the fuck all those years went.  In some ways the house hasn't changed much in fifty years.  I put in central heating, a new kitchen, doors out to the estate and a couple of roof windows but that's about it.  The house is not only still standing but there isn't a settlement crack to be seen.  When I build foundations I really build 'em. 

I suppose that's the moral of this wee tale?

If you're going to build foundations for life, make sure they are really fucking strong.

It's only fair to share...Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInPin on PinterestShare on RedditShare on StumbleUponShare on Tumblr

Comments

Good foundations — 16 Comments

  1. "nice lovable old pensioner"

    Airs and graces?

    Just because we love you doesn't automatically qualify you as 'lovable' and certainly not as nice.

    We love you for your qualities of being a cantankerous old grouch with honest and insightful opinions of the world , humanity and the follies of 'the gub'mint'

    • Of course I'm lovable.  Just ask Herself or Penny [especially Penny].  Half the women in the village stop me when I'm down there just to chat.  They say they want to just chat to Penny, but I know the truth.

    • Actually I could now nearly pass for my Dad.  When the photograph was take he was the same age as I am now.  Weird thought.

  2. But in that pic it's not raining – you are sure it was really Wicklow?

    I built a conservatory on my house in Staffordshire a few years ago (my get-fit or die campaign after bad health problems) and it rained every bloody day I was home to work on it.

    • My delay in replying is that I have been out in the sunshine all day.  Long walks followed by relaxing on the terrace.  The lake has dropped by a few inches too so doubtless it's time for a downpour.

  3. Oddly enough, I have no foundations in my life at all. My father was an army officer, and my awakening years were spent in Singapore. Then back in UK, we moved around a bit. I left school at 16, worked on a building site for 6 months to get some money, and then spent the next several years trawling around Asia, ending up in Australia for 7 or 8 years. Since then, I have spent more time living in Greece than UK. All that notwithstanding, I have a solid and comfortable existence.

    I just need the stimulus of a challenging situation, otherwise ennui takes over.

    In some ways I envy you your stable environment, but realistically, I know I would never be able to cope with it. I really need that constant challenge to keep me motivated.

    We all have a different approach to life, I guess. I know not many would want mine, but it suits me.

    • I haven't traveled as much but I did have a strange history in that I never really knew what I wanted to do next.  I accidentally drifted from job to job [hard to explain but opportunities just seem to arrive out of nowhere].  Each job was better than the last, and each one was in a different direction.  It was just pure luck and circumstance without any goal.  I thought I would be bored after retirement but the opposite is the case – time is flying past and I never quite seem to have the time to do stuff.  No ennui here!

  4. Happy memories.  A few years ago we bought a Victorian cottage, which needed extensive renovation.  First was to stop rainwater dripping through the roof of the dining room, then substantial flooding from rainwater running through the below-ground kitchen door.  New foundations had to be extended to 2.5 meters down, for a single 8ft wall.

    Ten years and extensive work mean we now have a dry, warm and very comfortable cottage.  I thought we had a home for the rest of our lives.  Pity the wife now insists we move somewhere else, so it's up for sale.  I want to stay.  Any advice?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *