Friday, 7 August 2009

tea with the roofers

Billy and Lee are here for the second day. Billy looks about 90, a small agile man, able, it seems, to create miracles after discovering the serious errors made by the joiners who replaced the window bits of the dormer, but who seem to have guessed wildly when it came to the roof bits. Billy has puzzled, and thought, and discussed tactics with Lee, who is his nephew, trying to avoid taking out the heavy, custom-made double glazed panes that he feared would probably break in the process, and today he has put much of it right. The rest will be finished tomorrow. I and my limited budget are hugely relieved.

Lee has crinkly eyes that disappear when he smiles, which is often, and a seriously hard-image haircut. Both adore tea and cake, and take it very seriously indeed. We had an in-depth conversation today about the merits of Ceylon tea, in bags or in leaf, and how deeply flavoursome yet refreshing it was (with two sugars each, mind you). Later I was presented with a complex Masterchef-style critique of the ginger-caramel cupcakes, served warm from the oven - there were lemony notes, and a hint of walnut, they thought. Yesterdays dropscones* were wildly applauded too. Such is the nature of our agreement - they call me "Pet" and work on my vanity so that I continue to bake for them, and I tell them to "be careful up there", and work on their sweet tooths while they continue to rescue my roof. We genuinely like each other, and tomorrow we might have lemon and walnut somethings and perhaps a different tea to celebrate the ingenious solution to the bodged dormer problem.

I look forward to my new welded-lead front guttering. Billy made a beautiful job of a neighbour's porch with an ornate lead roof that will be the first thing to be looted come the revolution, and says he has added it to his portfolio. Roofers with a portfolio and an ability to talk like Gregg Wallace! I feel privileged to serve warm cake to such a team.

*there were three little dropscones left over yesterday, wrapped up and forgotten. Millie stole them in the night, chewed delicately all round the edges, and scattered them round the house. After I had cleared up the remains of two, and went back to find the third, I saw that it had just disappeared. The dog was heard scuttling up the stairs. Later I found that she had buried it in the cats' litter tray. Yes, is is revolting....


Susan said...

An excellent post which made me(us) smile (even if there are no photos of Miss Millie). Ahhh - the handy man with a portfolio and the ability "and desire" for Masterchef-ish chat - be still my heart. I can see why you'd be showing of your excellent baking skills.

And to end with a big laugh and a mention of "her" name. xo from les Gang

Anonymous said...

There seems to be an abundance of interesting characters around your place these days!

Linda said...

Builders/men-who-do - there is almost nothing better in a girl's world.
Millie and dog were just showing their appreciation of cakes!

kristina said...

That cupcake looks gorgeous! And very impressed with your builders' knowledge of tea and cake! K x

Frances said...

Thank you so much for you kind comments!

I would love to sample one of those caramel ginger cupcakes myself. The combination of flavors sounds quite wonderful.

I do like you idea of pulling out a fave recipe from times of yore and giving it a go. (I'll need another week off just to figure out which recipe to try!)

Best wishes on that roof. Sounds like you got the right team for the job. xo

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