Most people watched the celebrations on TV or went to parties, but not me. You know what I used my extra day for? Grouting. Grouting bathroom tiles. And not even my own bathroom tiles, but my Granddad’s girlfriend’s bathroom tiles.
Just because I’ve been doing a BTEC in building studies, the whole family think I’m George Wimpy or something. I’m not even a year in yet and most of the fiddly stuff comes much later in the course. So far we’ve mixed cement, laid foundations, made a hut-thingy out of breeze blocks (then knocked it down again) and learnt about different types of pipes. None of those things teaches you how to stick thin lines of white goo between 1970s tiles in an old dear’s bathroom.
Granddad met her at the Legion one Friday night. Alice her name is. A bit of a posh name for the Legion I think, but they seem to get on well. She calls Granddad “Leonard” and sometimes he forgets she means him as she isn’t saying Len like everyone else does. They’ve been stepping out for almost 2 years now. I said what did stepping out mean and he said it’s like dating but more sedate.
He comes round one night and says to me “Danny, any chance you can come and have a look at Alice’s bathroom? The grouting is a bit black and I’d do it myself, but I can’t with these hands.” And I says, “Granddad, I’ve only been at it a little while. What if I make a mess of it?” And he says, “You won’t lad, you won’t.” Then he offers me £10 to do it. When he’s gone my Dad offers me £20 if I do it and don’t take Granddad’s money. So I say yes.
So Granddad wants to impress Alice if he can and ‘Len from the docks’ doesn’t get much chance to look good. Least that’s what he says, but I’m not so sure. I saw her watching him when they didn’t see me and she seems pretty keen on him, even just making her a cup of tea. Her face had that funny look you saw in black and white films but don’t see so much these days, like a kind of a glow to it.
Granddad came in and out whilst I was working and it was quite useful to have him keep an eye on me. Turns out he used to be quite handy too but now he’s got knotted knuckles so he can’t grip anything for long. He showed me how to do the scraping and then the filing in and wiping down. Lucky the tiles were on firmly. I think redoing the whole lot might have been beyond us.
After Alice made us tea in her best china and told us about when she’d been young and wanted to study but had to take a job instead. She said how lucky us young ‘uns are these days, having all the chances we have. Some of my mates wouldn’t see it like that, no job prospects and no money, but guess she has a point.
Turns out college were impressed I’d be doing level 2 stuff and I they think I’m a keen student now. It got written up in my report. So I’m going round Alice’s with Granddad again later to see if there is anything else I can get some practice on.
Inspired by “Extra day for Iran nuclear talks”