A carpenter friend from the Pyrenees visited me early on and designed a lovely bookcase to run the length of the windows. Then left, promising he’d come back and build it.
That was 7 years ago.
Day 1 of The Project My friend Jean-Pierre arrives from the south with Aviva, and we start going over details. There are three main sticking points. Each of us voices an opinion, which only serves to bring up even more sticking points. Finally we come to an agreement on them and Jean-Pierre works out what are presumed to be the final details. Whereupon I cook them a light dinner and we retire to our respective beds.
Day 2 Slight delay in the execution of The Project. This morning, tree surgeons come to remove the top two floors’ worth of branches from my tree - which obviously did not get the memo that cherry laurels don’t grow taller than 2 stories, and certainly not four stories.
|Our salesman, with the BHV|
logo in the form of the store
|An uphill battle|
After a bit of a rest and a glass of water, he sets to building the smallest of the three bookcase sections, because that’s which bundles we carried home. Then disaster strikes. Jean-Pierre breaks the drill bit. No idea on what. There shouldn’t be anything in this beechwood that hard. So he soldiers on, using a smaller bit, and by 7:00 he’s finished and that bookcase looks fine. A bit strange, bookless, but sturdy and of the right proportions. Our reward? As I’m too pooped to cook, dinner at my favorite neighborhood restaurant. And an early night.
|BHV's rickshaw delivery service|
won't deliver heavy wood,
A quick lunch and then the fun begins. The tension, too... at least on my part. Details we hadn’t foreseen arise. They always do. Jean-Pierre spends seven straight hours measuring and drilling and screwing and assembling. He’s amazing.
While he continues with the last section, I dust off all 32 volumes of my Encyclopedia Britannica and line them up on their assigned bottom shelf. They all fit, with not an inch to spare. Brilliant! These poor tomes have been off-limits for seven years because they were holding up the two rows of books above them. (Remember the cheerleader pyramid?) Now they stand smartly at attention, smiling at me for taking the weight of the world off their spines (pun intended).
Finally, at 8 o’clock, we all stand back, admiring the finished product. The beechwood is darker than I had wanted, but it fits in perfectly with all the furniture. There’s the problem of the pesky electric outlet and especially the phone-plus-internet jack that needs to be resolved before the last of the three sections can fit snugly against the wall. Another Executive Decision: an electrician will move the outlets elsewhere next week. But the bookcases finally exist. Plus, to be fair, the four hours of calculations at the BHV paid off because it all fits together perfectly, and is exactly as long as the wall. Not a centimeter shorter nor longer.
And the whole project took only seven years, start to finish.