Only two days left in my dad’s visit with us. It seemed like two weeks would be plenty of time and now we can’t believe it is almost gone. We would like to keep him for the rest of the summer—or at least another two weeks, but his sailboat beckons! And I think he can hardly wait…
I had hoped that we would visit some of the beautiful sights in the area and some ancient ruins and nearby towns and villages; instead, he has had his nose to the grindstone since he arrived. He arrived prepared with a ball of string and a tiny level and a long, long measuring tape and he has been crawling up and down the steep slope of our property working out property lines and the grades of the slopes. He didn’t think to bring one necessary piece of equipment; but we found it—a machete—in a local hardware store and so, fully armed, no ground was safe from his scrutiny.
And so he spent his 81st birthday…whacking weeds and brambles (with huge thorns I might add), scrambling up and down slopes and scribbling little figures and working outs on a paper pad in one of his jean pockets (not always the same pocket so there was always a search for paper and pencil after every measurement—assuming he remembered to write it down).
Fortunately he brought his own pencil and eraser (for Sudoku on the airplane) as we had neither, but Phil did bring a couple of small notepads and this is where the initial drawings of the plans for our house and art centre began. We had purchased glue when we were at the hardware store as the blade for the machete and its wooden handle came in separate pieces (both used and I guess salvaged). We had to buy a screwdriver and one screw too to assemble it—but that was no problem as just about anything was available at the hardware store—harnesses for horses, shoes for donkeys, about 15 different varieties of hammer and the same for axes, and any conceivable sort of farm tool—mostly used. My dad was in his element!
So with several pieces of notepad paper glued together, my dad drew up a scaled initial drawing of our house-to-be with a scale he drew on the birthday card my Aunt sent with him using the little two inch ruler on the straight edge of his compass (yes of course he brought a compass!). With a bit of help from jet lag and the strong coffee over here we got bonus work hours from him when he couldn’t sleep at night and so would get up and continue slaving away.
Finally paper shortage became a ridiculous issue and we found a small stationery store and bought a real ruler, a small pad of squared paper and another pencil. Armed with these tools, my dad completed his drawings for the addition to the front building which we intend as our home and also drawings for the big building which will serve as accommodation for 6 guests and a small lounge-if all goes to plan!