I could not get my car through the intersection of two streets near where I lived because the renovations in a nearby house had spread out onto the road. The footpaths were filled with scaffolding piled high and there were trenches in strategic places that made crossing through the street either on foot or by car treacherous.
I took the baby out of the back of my car and put him into his pram intending to try to find another way through on foot. We only lived two minutes away at the end of the street. I did not want to be marooned here.
I found I could not push the pram for more than a few meters before I encountered yet another obstacle. The police were busy redirecting traffic and they were useless. The tradesmen working on the house refused to stop their work. They too were useless. The people stuck at the barriers and there were a number of them arriving every few minutes were also submissive and seemingly helpless. I went from one point to another trying to find a way through, whereas others, especially the women were content to sit back and gossip among themselves.
I overheard someone complain about the difficulties of renovation.
‘You’d only do it once,’ a woman said. ‘Once is enough.’
I had already been though it twice, and yes, I thought to myself, she is right, there is not only the emotional and physical cost, in these types of disruptions, there is also the financial cost. I have never known a renovation that did not cause a conflict between owner and builder. Here there was no owner to be seen.
I came into a room, which led out to the other side of the house at the top end of Beaconsfield Road. I decided to test it. The first jump down to the landing below was rocky but the landing seemed safe enough. After that there was a higher leap to the ground. I would ask someone to hand the baby down to me once I had made the leap and then they could throw the pram down after us. I was determined. I would not sit here waiting endlessly.