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You’ve Got To Love The 80s

A funny old decade, the 80s. Women were encouraged to don shoulder pads that would put an American Footballer to shame, and men were allowed to wear heavy Aran jumpers, tuck them into their blue jeans and finish off the whole ensemble with white socks and black suede shoes! What’s not to love? The reason we mention this aberration?

Well, that’s when The Laurels was built. In fact, 1982, to be precise. Maggie Thatcher (insert Marmite-type comment here) had already been on the ‘throne’ for a couple of years, encouraging her friend Gerry Mandering to divide boundaries in an effort to extend her reign. Whilst Maggie was annoying the Argies and planning to annoy the miners, led by Arthur Scargill, who, for reasons best known to himself, insisted on wearing a Shredded Wheat on his head, some builder or builders unknown were constructing this fine building. We’re not exactly sure if it were they or some other plumbing expert, but someone had clearly discovered that the 80s was when water suddenly started running uphill. This may have been a very slow process that went by unnoticed – You know, the way the magnetic North Pole and Magnetic South Pole are currently rotating around the globe, so, in a few millennia, North will be South, and South will be North. Magnetically anyway, if not from a ‘true’ perspective.

Anyway, we digress. The water running uphill thing. We’d always been a little suspect of the way one of our showers would drain. One day it would be absolutely fine, but another day our guests would report that it was very slow draining. This seemed to go on with no discernible pattern that would enable us to nail down what the problem might be. Fast forward a wee while, and we had the perfect opportunity to rip up the floor and investigate. And this is what we found.

Shower Drain
Yep, the shower drainpipe does, in fact, run very nicely in a downhill fashion, only to suddenly divert into an upward, gravity-defying direction before finally plunging downhill again into the main sewer. The thought process around this isn’t clear, but having ripped it all out and routed the pipes in the direction normally favoured by Newton, we have a super-quick draining shower. Our future guests will no doubt be completely oblivious to this massive improvement, but that’s how it should be.
Whilst all this plumbing was going on, Helen was patiently adding the three coats of varnish to our Breakfast Room floor, as required by the instructions, to ensure it would do ‘exactly as it says on the tin’. Her comments on this particular task are largely unpublishable but suffice to say; it took her a while!
Outside, the Specialist Surfacing Engineers had arrived to cover everything in some black, sticky stuff first invented by Mr McAdam some time back in the early 1800s. Having applied a nice thick base layer, followed by a super-smooth top layer, the expanse of new black stuff was something to behold.
Tarmac Carpark
Tarmac Carpark

In the video below, you can enjoy their day’s work compressed into less than 60 seconds by the magic of our time-lapse camera. It’s almost as interesting to see what they do whilst waiting for the top layer to be delivered as it is to see the actual tarmac laying.

We particularly like the bit where one of the ‘engineers’ cocks his leg upon the control arm of the roller. Keep an eye out for it.

Meanwhile, back in the 80s, which is where my poor addled mind clearly was, I decided it would be a really good idea to put on my roller skates and christen our perfectly smooth tarmac. So it was over a decade since I last put on some skates and over 30 years since I first did this with my Aran jumper tucked into my jeans; I tottered around on eight wheels.
It soon became evident that my brain was writing cheques my body couldn’t actually cash, but I very much enjoyed my brief spin, even if I did need a lie down afterwards.
You’ve got to love the 80s!