At 6:19, the local NPR weatherman informs us what to expect in the coming day. That is to say, he ought to. Instead, he often tells us that the day ahead will be 'decent'. After 10 years, we still are not sure what this means. "Do I need to wear a hat?" my husband shouts at the radio. He, the weatherman, (I'm beginning to sound like Hilary Mantel "he, Cromwell, ...". Nevermind. If you read it you get it if you didn't, you won't.) also doesn't like hot weather. He is, it must be said, a bit podgy, and perhaps finds heat uncomfy. However, to be told that in July the temperature will be back down in the 50's "where it belongs" is annoying. This is all beside the point. The point is that BEFORE Lou McNally annoyed us, a sound like a chainsaw going through a cement block with great difficulty, assaulted us. I shot up in bed. My husband shot out of the bathroom. Jack lifted his head wondering if this was the arrival of the mother of all bad bikkies. You may remember my neighbour who burnt his house down? I remember it because I'm still picking pieces of his house out of my hair. Well, he's now building a new house. I am resigned to the sound of it - indeed we built the world's biggest garage workshop a few years back and my neighbours suffered in silence through much annoying hoopla. But not at 6:19 in the morning. At 6:19 in the morning, we should be listening to the birds and Lou McNally. I telephoned my neighbours. They did not answer. I suspect they are on holiday, blissfully unaware that their builders are running amok. I pulled on clothing and applied red lipstick.
I jumped in my car (neighbours here are not 'next door' in the usual sense of the word) and drove down the road to my neighbours' driveway. I roared up and parked behind a youth who, headphones clasped on his head ,was unaware that he was to meet a cranky neighbour. He smiled. Guess what he was doing? HE WAS SAWING A CONCRETE BLOCK IN HALF WITH A CHAINSAW". Pouring water on it, by the way. I pass that tip on in case you ever want to SAW A CONCRETE BLOCK IN HALF. Anyhow, he seemed a nice enough kid who clearly had a lousey job. But as luck would have it, the builder drove in at that moment in his spiffy truck . Thinking only of my 9 guests tucked up in bed no doubt having classic dental terror dreams, I calmly shrieked that it was 6:19 in the morning. It wasn't, of course, a fact he made obvious by glancing at his watch and raising his (furry) eyebrows. It was by now about twenty to seven Nonetheless, early to be SAWING A CONCRETE BLOCK. A meeting of minds was not achieved. I jumped back in my car only to realise that he had me parked in. Undeterred, I proceeded to turn my car around by backing up and going forward about 30 times. Fast. Now, at 9:28, my guests sit at the table, replete with the first of our local blueberries, scrambled egg and ham, homemade muesli, bread and jam. Happy as clams. They are from New York. They tell me how peaceful it is here. They ask the weather forecast. I tell them to wear a hard hat.