First of all, let me introduce myself. My name is Sandra and I am Rob’s mum. Just in case you are wondering, I can assure you that Rob is alive and well, although he is exhausted both physically and mentally at the moment! He apologises for not keeping his blog up to date recently, but the emotional and mental strain of having to see part of his beloved house reduced to a building site so that the dry rot that attacked the bathroom, utility room and kitchen could be treated took its toll on him. By the time he gets into bed at night he had nothing left in him to do anything but sleep!
Given the problems Rob has had in the past, it is a testament to his mental strength that he has managed to deal with all of this without retreating to his bedroom and staying there for days on end as would have happened not so long ago! His dad and I are so very proud of him for gritting his teeth and just getting on with things! The devastation caused by dry rot has to be seen to be believed! It is a living organism that penetrates right through everything to get to wet wood and can be seen in the brickwork. It looks like a spidery cobweb and I must admit I felt really uncomfortable seeing it as it is the stuff nightmares are made of, at least it was for me! However, Rob and Helen stuck it out and I take my hat off to them!
The work in his house started on 1 December and things went really well. The affected walls had been taken back to brickwork by Rob and a friend, and then with the help of his dad so that costs could be kept down. The workmen cut out rotten timber, including door frames, ceiling timbers and floor joists, and then rendered the walls with a special concrete mix. All this took a few days and then it had to be left to dry. As it was now inching towards Christmas Day, nerves were on edge as to when the plasterer could come in to finish off. Rob and Helen had decided months ago that this year they wanted to entertain over the festive period and had set their hearts on this. It was going to be a very special time for them as, due to Rob’s illness, they had never been able to do this before! As the days passed, I in particular became increasingly worried that it was a pipe dream!
At last Rob was told that the plasterer would arrive on the morning of Tuesday, 22 December to complete the job. As soon as he heard this, he was determined that Christmas was back on. I said I would help him clean up the mess but when I arrived at his house on Wednesday morning and saw the state of it, I thought never in a million years would this be possible! How wrong I was! I did what I could, but Rob worked like a Trojan stopping only for the odd cup of coffee! When I left several hours later, the difference was unbelievable. The utility room, kitchen and dining room had been transformed and was fit for entertaining! Helen had been out shopping all day buying food etc and Rob told me that when she came in and saw the fruits of his labour, she burst into tears. And who could blame her, truly a miracle on Ruby Street!
When Rob’s dad and I arrived at their house on Christmas evening, we were greeted by Helen and her parents, and walked into a warm and welcoming dining room that even sported a small Christmas tree complete with lights! What a difference and what a magnificent achievement. We had a really lovely evening, with delicious food prepared by Helen (who was in her element to be back in her kitchen doing what she loves), plenty of wine and good company. The icing on the cake for Rob and Helen was that their beloved chihuahua Mabel was there to join in the fun as she had been staying with us for months because of the danger the dry rot posed to her. A good time was had by all and it is a Christmas we will all remember for years to come, and for all the right reasons. Rob, we salute you!!
Finally, I would like to wish everyone a happy, healthy and peaceful 2016 and ask you to support Rob in what will be a huge challenge for him. What I will say, is never underestimate him when he says he is going to do something, you do so at your peril!