Monsieur Trazic arrives suddenly on the morning of the third of January, a hunk of blue-grey metal and anti fraction double glazed glass perched on the back of his obligatory white van. Julian and I are in darkness, facing thunderous amounts of unfinished web designing, packing and accounts in a week that was supposed to be dedicated to finishing the kitchen and walking in the mountain.
I watch Monsieur T as he works, a few dozen kilos of joy bundled up into a checked cotton shirt, and a long bottom sagging slightly in unlabelled jeans. As he chips and hammers he sings his door into being just like the Aboriginals sung their land:
‘A vice there. Hold it..….Ah oui. C’est ça!’ He reaches a top B flat, I am sure, on the word ‘ça’, and ‘oui’ has a rather sexy wobble to it which could be called vibrato.
When he gathers up his tools and jollies himself out, Julian and I lay a terra cotta tile at the base of the new glass door, watch the light splash across it and imagine it multiplying, all the way to the back of the kitchen, spilling into the living room and the gallery. Looking through the door, we imagine flowerbeds and a terrace replacing the cakes of lime plaster as high as bar stools, the spade, wok, pipes and plastic buckets and bins cluttering the apron of land in front of the house. Then Julian makes a start in the form of a beautiful shiny step out of lime plaster and red sand.
The next morning we get up and breakfast in the sunlight. We make plans for staircases that wind and hidden double drawers, and we agree that to start the day, and indeed the year, if a bit late, in the light is good for the spirits.
Ps Though I am biased because my very own Father Christmas sent me an original autumn leaf soduko puzzle from Princeton, check out my favourite New Year blog message .