Only in England


A big truck (lorry) is parked at the lower part of our driveway, where it is widest, loaded with what will be the walls of my studio, but which also make it too wide to pull up closer. The drive is about a hundred yards from the garden, where the studio will stand. It is also drizzling.

Two at a time, the lads march the slabs of wood up the drive. One of them looks a little long in the tooth for this kind of work. I’ll have to keep an eye on him in case he falls over. A couple of them smoke. I hope the smokers do the outside work, so my studio won’t smell of tobacco, but I dare not make such a request considering the conditions of their travail.

Now, the British treasury minister, Alistair Darling, a misnomer if ever there was one, has proposed a 2.5% cut in VAT, or sales tax, on everything, to be passed along to the customer. It starts on Monday, which was one of the proposed dates for the construction. I kind of think the builder did not want to cut the price of the studio.

I’m the beneficiary, though, so I’m not complaining. The sooner, the better.