Tuesday, 4 January 2011

The 40 Minute Warning

All the days of the holidays seem to morph into one, and yesterday, like no other, there seemed no rush to get up and go, until Kevin came in (he sleeps at erratic times now), and said "If you want to have a shower for the next three days, you've got 40 minutes before my brother gets here, he is putting a new bathroom in!"

Just like that, no planning. Kevin has always had a flare for the house, he was until, just before christmas a very good upholsterer (by trade). His workshop is at the end of the garden and he takes great pride in the house, (unlike me). Over the last few years, we have always joked that he must finish the house before he shuffles off his mortal coil, otherwise it will be left to me, and i just wouldn't get it right! The thought of me doing house design, makes Kevin shudder!

We had been politely ignoring Kevin's demise, which i suppose became apparent in September. From September to December we have played this little game where he would say to me every day, "I felt really tired today, so I haven't done any work, had a day off." I would respond "Well, there's always tomorrow, when you feel a bit better." Or something along those lines, it wasn't quite groundhog day!

In all the years i have known Kevin, his business has been something i have known not to interfere or get involved in, but i wander if perhaps i should have said something before. However he is a proud man, with a sense of purpose and independence and i didn't want him to feel there was nothing for him to do. His work has always been important to him.

It was only in December, the week before he went into a hospice for a week, and we got the final diagnosis of "nothing more we can do..." that i actually mustered up the courage to ask him to close down his business. I think this was partially becuase he has had my bosses' sofa for three months, and I was getting embarrassed, i am not sure i would have even had the conversation has it not been for that. He took it very well, agreed immediately, perhaps was even a little relieved. He then responded with "I can sort things out in the house instead!"

Hence the sudden rush to get a new bathroom. Whilst he is not well enough to do it himself, he is determined to complete his vision of how he wants the house to look. I think he sees it as his gift to us. Whilst we are currently living in chaos, i do know that the end result (concocted in the early hours of yestermorning) will be much better than anything i could design or think up.

In all the years i have known him, we have gone places and he has pointed out with pride the work he has done. He wants to leave his mark, so when people come round in the future they can see his handiwork, even if, technically, it is his brother's.

I notice that the table downstairs is covered in various house furnishing catalogues, we had them hidden away and he has dug them out. I suspect there is more such work to come! I could be a little peeved by the lack of consultation, but that was only ever a game anyway. Kevin has always made the house look nice, the only unwritten rule we ever had, was that if i didn't like it, i was allowed to say so and it would be respected. I like the new bathroom he has chosen, so its just one less thing to worry about when he has gone.


  1. I bet he gets it done....my father went through the same process and didn't leave us until he had finished everything.

    On an aside, I doubt he'd go for it, but more than happy to get a gang of guys around to give him a hand...


  2. Thanks for the offer Chrissie, bu i think he is enjoying working with his brother.