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The commanding officer turned up first, assuring me that his second-in-command, referred to affectionately as grandad ( this by a man who, in the space of twenty minutes has just revealed to me, as a conversational gambit, his numerous age-related ailments and replacement body parts) would be along shortly. Half an hour later we were still discussing our various ailments over a mug of tea whilst awaiting grandad's arrival. When he finally rolled up, looking very laid-back for a man over an hour late, Grandad, like his superior officer, turned out to be a very engaging character. He assured me, after the briefest acquaintance, whilst we were enjoying a cosy pre-work tea break, that he would marry me were it not for the fact that he already had a wife. Sadly, I don't think that I would have been able to cope with the absence of his front teeth, so it was probably for the best.
We convened in the bedroom, none of us having a clear idea of the precise requirements for the conversion of my airing cupboard into a wardrobe (closet to those of you an ocean away). Captain Mannering (obviously a pseudonym) described the job, enthusiastically and with some pride, as an on-site design-and-build project. I, it seemed, was to be the designer and so retreated to the kitchen to carry out my alloted task against alarming background noises of banging and tumbling masonry. Several mugs of tea and a lot of sawdust later design and the initial demolition/construction works were complete.
The mutual admiration society meets again this morning for final fixings and minor snagging jobs. I am about to dash to the shops to replenish the supply of tea bags. They have asked for an endorsement of their services, so here it is - I would invite them back to my bedroom as quick as a wink.