Thud, thud, thud… Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! Whee! Whee! Thud! Bang! I would at this point like to say that the builders are in - but it is only Roger.
He is in the process of dismantling his old round corrugated iron grain store and as I write the evening is being punctuated by clashes and clatters then the frantic wheeing of the angle grinder followed by vicious thuds, a couple of bangs then silence. Then just as the rest of us, and the wildlife, recover from the assault; it starts again.
I have witnessed the beginning of this project some three months ago not asking why Roger was doing it as you never ask Roger anything ‘cos the result is you are never any the wiser with the answer.
The grain store hasn’t belonged to Roger for six years but like everything round here that doesn’t count for much. Roger does, as the Boy so succinctly put it, “Roger things”. So on a saturday morning in the cold of November Bog Boy and I watched along with J, who hires one of our barns, as Roger tackled the job of dismembering what was once his.
Roger: “Well I put it up so I suppose I’m the best one to take it down again problem is I can’t remember exactly how I did it, I will once I take it down though.”
We watched as Roger swung precariously on a rope yanking it backwards and forwards.
Roger: “It wholly keeps you warm this!”
And he began to climb to the top. For a man closer to 70 than I would care to think; Roger is exceedingly fit and strong but how he has survived for so long without killing or severely injuring himself I have no idea. Health & Safety are not his watchwords – in fact I don’t think he even knows they exist.
The grain store stands roughly 30ft high, is cylindrical and rocks a bit in the wind. Roger says it’s always been like that and he built it so deliberately otherwise he informed me it would have been blown down long since.
Me: “Right Roger, I’ll believe you…”
With that he looked at me and grinned and carried on climbing.
Roger: “Oh I can see how I did it now!”
J and I looked at each other then chorused: “How then, Roger?”
Roger: “I did it with scaffolding poles - then winched the roof up and added the walls a level at the time!”
Right then - ingenious - but not exactly safe! And to think he used to do all the building work on the house! Shudder At the Thought! But then we’ve seen most of his handiwork at some stage or another.
J and I then took bets.
J: “He’s fair going at it – two months!”
Me: “Yeah, right more like a year! More bloody bits of metal round the farm.”
J laughed, took another drag of his cigarette and headed back in to the barn where he works. I continued to watch Roger, half out of curiosity and half because it is something I always do when Roger is working around the farm. Roger has diabetes and we all keep an eye on him. He’s so enthusiastic that he forgets to eat properly and then forgets to test with the result that he either gets too high or too low and becomes quite uncontrollable, very loquacious and garrulous and sometimes argumentative - pretty much like he is always - then he falls over. To avoid this we all remind him when we get suspicious. Dear Charlie says he reckons he sometimes puts it on just to see us rise. Teasing us is one of Roger’s favourite past times.
Eventually I left him to it and after a few days it all stopped. I did ask why he was doing it and he said it was because Mr W was going to build a clamp for sugar beet and had wanted to remove the grain store before the winter so Roger said he would do it so long as he could have the metal. Mr W agreed – happiness all round.
Roger will take the metal to the scrap merchant and that will be his pay – but I suspect that it will keep him busy and entertained for a few more months. I’ll just put up with the syncopated orchestra for a few more evenings….