Every chimney has a silver lining, just as every song has a happy ending.
Ben and Nick turned up and finally fitted my chimney ("Told you all along, mate, soon as I saw it, you should have ordered a 5inch lining"). The work didn't take long - but we did spend time sitting around, watching concrete dry.
Ben's phone rings, and he leaves the room, talking in fluent French.
"That's nothing," says Nick. "You should hear his Japanese."
It turns out that Ben is a Psi-Trance DJ, who is big in Japan. They've come to my house from a rave in a St Pancras warehouse that's been going on since early March (I walk past the warehouse later. It's true - the windows are pounding, and the street is littered with empty cans and people sleeping in cars). Ben and Nick get changed and head off to Shoreditch, where Ben does a set and Nick does the groupies.
With a wave, they're gone, and I'm alone with my wet concrete.
And that, I think, is the last I'll be seeing of builders.
And then there's a knock on my window. Standing on my scaffolding is a vision of a Polish labourer. All pale skin, whispy stubble, and the dead eyes of a killer.
The council have sent him to paint my windows. Oh Zvlott, spray your emulsion in my direction!
I've never forgotten the first words he mumbled to me - "allo! pliz, i need entry."
Oh Zvlott, you had me at "allo".