It’s a quiet sort of life, in a bed and breakfast that’s shut, during a pandemic. We don’t generally meet people, and our days are spent at home, or out in the landscape, alone.
Lots of time to think about things. Lots of time to worry about the drip drip. The roof has been leaking since the snow began to melt at the end of April, and when we stop worrying about our health and the state of the world then we worry about the leak.
A couple of months ago we were waiting for our man, someone who’d said he’d come and look at our leak. He came, although not when we expected – because we know, you always have to wait. He said he’d fixed it, but he hadn’t. In the following weeks neither he, nor any other company, returned our calls. We continued to hear drip drip.
Summer is sacred in Sweden, and from 29th June everyone is on holiday. It’s traditional, not being able to get anything done at this time. Summer closures happen everywhere, including libraries and swimming pools. Just at a time when people have time to use them, the staff take their vacation and close them down. So while up until now it’s been borderline OK to go to the swimming pool, now it’s summer opening times and people can only go there a few hours day, it’s packed out and way too risky to visit. Yes, in Sweden we’re all supposed to be keeping a physical distance – unless we don’t feel like it, for instance if we go to the swimming pool where apparently the usual advice doesn’t apply. I took one look at the crowds in the pool yesterday and came straight home.
But I digress; summer is when things close down and people won’t return your calls. Not much hope of getting our roof fixed then. We had the bucket catching the drips, and had to just hope the next month or so wouldn’t be wet. This morning there was an extra dripping spot on the ceiling, and the stress of it forced Rolf to call the first roof fixers again – the ones who’d failed at it before, and the ones who hadn’t returned his calls since. That’s how desperate he felt. But this time the man answered the phone.
We were so excited at the promise he’d be with us to have a look in half an hour that we forgot that Rolf had booked doctor’s telephone appointment at roughly the same time. He arrived just before the appointment, went up on to the roof, and before we knew it was back in his van and off again. We didn’t know whether he’d gone to collect the right materials to fix a hole, or what.
Then a few minutes later another white van turned up and two workmen appeared – had we sent them an email enquiry about our leak a few days ago?
A hasty phone call to the first roof fixer established that his plan was the same as before, to sell us a new roof ladder, which we weren’t convinced was a solution, so we said we’d be in touch and rushed out to the waiting workmen to invite them on to the roof. Rolf’s phone appointment began around this time, and ten minutes later the workmen knocked on the door to show me images of the suspected cause of the leak, said they’d go and get the materials and come back to fix it. And what’s more, they did.
It seems we’d achieved the impossible. In just one hour, during Sweden’s sacred holiday period, we’d got two lots of workmen to come out and look at our roof, one of them had been on the roof, driven away to pick up materials, and come back and fixed it, and Rolf had had a doctor’s appointment.
So much excitement and interaction in just one hour, after weeks inaction. I’ll need to lie down for a while to recover.