You may have heard that our ceiling fell in last Thursday night. On Friday we made contact with our landlady (may heaven rain odours on her*), and she immediately made several rapid calls. By 4:30pm, the first tradie arrived: a blond and genial plumber (someone somewhere had assumed that “water damage” meant “a burst pipe”), around six feet eight inches tall. He immediately climbed up onto our roof and tramped about in his tradie boots.

It’s a tin roof. A single sparrow landing on the roof makes a noise – noises that are carefully monitored by our self-appointed cat guardians.

Ana (who despite her cuteness is a cold-blooded killer) crouched on my desk. Her pupils narrowed to terrified slits and I could see her thinking, “It’s finally happened. The Great Bird has come to wreak a horrible revenge.”

Meanwhile I lay, swathed in my ever-present doona on the couch. My Mum sat on one of our many shoved-aside couches, doing her embroidery. We couldn’t have been happier with our afternoon’s entertainment.

The giant returned and announced our roof was A-okay. This was good news, since the alternative was having him land in Mum’s lap. He stood on our oven and poked his head through the ceiling vent, shining a torch into the flat roof. “Can’t see water. Can’t see much though,” he declared.

He exited scene left, replaced instantly by a builder who asked all the same questions and declared the ceiling past redemption. Two more men in orange tramped in, and they decided to nail some battens (temporary beams) up for us. The boss left and the other two climbed all over a ladder and our windowsill with the confidence of monkeys. They found the structural supporting beams through the ceiling by swearing profusely and bashing holes in the plaster with a screwdriver. Mum and I watched in delight.

As they stabilised the ceiling, they took apart CJ and his Dad’s (rather artsy-looking) pillars, admiring the standard of the work (“Is he a chippy then?” “He done a good job”) as they went.

The “before” shot:



The “after” shot:



As you can see above, I wasted no time getting my furniture back where it belongs (all the tools were gone by Saturday morning). The insurance assessor did his clipboard thing mere moments ago, and said the ceiling tear-down and rebuild will be covered by the Body Corporate insurance. From where I’m sitting, there’s no hurry.

I was also cunning enough (with visions of a month-long stay at a parents’ house) to ask how long it would take to fix when the time came. The tradies said that if it was just the quarter that was obviously broken, it would take a day. Good to know!

*I THINK that’s a good thing. Anyone recognise the misquote?

Published by Felicity Banks Books

I write books (mainly adventure fantasy for kids and young adults), real-time twittertales, and a blog of Daily Awesomeness. @Louise_Curtis_ and My fantasy ebook is on sale at

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