Crazy paving

They're digging up the street outside the The Shakespeare. Right outside - inches away, in fact and it's a big operation. They'll be replacing pipes and drains and Lord knows what else before laying down some brand new and - we hope - really beautiful paving.

The work was originally scheduled for last October and we'd had the archaeologists rooting around all summer so that they would be sure not to disturb any ancient artefacts when they brought the big guns a bit later on. To tell the truth, they did wake me from a nap at one point but I don't suppose that was the kind of disturbing of ancient artefacts they were talking about.

The great thing is that the whole operation will need to be finished by Holy Week since the area of town where we are located becomes a heaving mass of humanity for eight days solid and it wouldn't be too good for the city's image for old women and children to be seen randomly disappearing down pot holes. Actually, I watched my brother fall down a pot hole once; well, not fall so much as disappear vertically, arms pinned to his sides like an Irish dancer, long hair extended upwards in a cartoon fashion. To this day it remains the funniest thing I've ever seen in real life. He must be very proud.

Anyway, sorry, I digress. Ah, yes, the roadworks. The thing is, for the first few days, there didn't seem to be any progress being made at all. Machines lay conspicuously idle while, from time to time a couple of (always different) blokes would pop along for five minutes, point at things, chew on their pencils and then toddle off again. Two or three days ago, a stern-looking man wearing the type of spectacles which say 'I mean business' stepped into the fray. Suddenly the whole street was a hive of activity, machinery was actually switched on and myriad tools appeared from nowhere as the whole team swung into frenetic action.

I don't know if it was the case, but it appeared very much as if a quiet word from the town hall had played some part in proceedings and the company under contract had been - mmm, how might we put this? - strongly advised to get a move on. The whole thing has come on in leaps and bounds; if they keep it up at this rate, never mind Holy Week, we'll have our exquisite paving design (come on, you have to dream) ready in a couple of weeks.

In the meantime, I might buy a pair of serious spectacles for the next time we need some work doing in the pub.