This morning I am again sitting in a plane with a coffee in my hand crossing the North Sea heading for Russia via Stockholm.
Behind me (and at times the whole family) are four weeks of a very different life with at times fourteen hour working days, filled with plastering, plumbing, rewiring, painting, flooring and all sorts of other forms of physical labour at a house we bought in the center of Oxford – my “Patient 58″…..
Many years ago I did a somewhat similar thing when I interrupted my vet course at university after a couple of years and worked for three months in an iron factory. Not only did it pay for a trip to Australia, it also focused my mind and showed me how lucky I was, being able to sit in a lecturing theatre and looking forward to a life of treating animals, rather than to standing on the factory floor at 6 am drilling holes into turbines and greasing engines.
With my “Oxfordian (bricks and mortar) Patient” I took the opportunity to apply my veterinary skills to a completely different task and to transform a pretty run down Victorian townhouse into a pleasant place to live in while studying in this beautiful town. Also thrown into be deal was the probably unique opportunity of working on a project together with my sons and some of their friends and learning more about the things that matter in their lifes.
As you can see “Number 58” needed help and rather a lot of it……
Still being jetlagged from our return trip from the Americas, we set up camp on the old mattresses in the basement and set to work – all the time in the knowledge that the first tenants were due to move in on 1st of September.
In the four weeks that followed, I don’t think that we made too bad a job – judging by the before and after images:
Four weeks later, with me having lost 3 kg of weight and being in desperate need for a shave, the patient was “discharged” with the first student moving in a day earlier than planned and me looking forward to the next adventure the life as a vet has to offer….