Does anyone remember The English Patient? You know, the Michael Ondaatje novel made into a fabulous film by Anthony Minghella, set before and during WW2 with Ralph Fiennes as the mysterious, air-crash-surviving, seriously disfigured, aristocratic archaeologist with memory loss? Well there’s a bit when nurse Hana (Juliette Binoche) hand-feeds him fruit from the garden of the bombed-out monastery where they’re camping while the Allies push up through Italy … and he says, “That’s a very plum plum!” For some reason that line got stuck in my memory and I recalled it upon righting a wonky roadside wall in Berwick.
Our client is one of the commuters that travel daily to Edinburgh. One day he bemoaned the fact that his garden wall was leaning on a lamp-post and would soon drop into the street. It was going to cost £xxxx to re-build and why wasn’t there anyone who could push it up straight for less? It would save the nice, old masonry; it would save money; surely there was someone who could do it? A fellow traveller suggested giving Smith & Garratt a call … so he did.
I’m not going to tell you exactly how, but we did it. I don’t know why, but it feels like a ‘coming-of-age’ thing. I am 57; I have been repairing old buildings for decades but, until now, I have never had the job of righting a wonky wall. Few have. It’s a coming-of-age thing … and I’ve done it. Anyone can see. The wall that was leaning on a lamp-post – about to drop into the street – is now a very plum plumb!