Inheritances are tricky things. They are occasioned by sadness (at least feigned). Expectation (though not displayed outwardly). Resignation (see expectation). Greed (let’s admit this now). But what most defines an inheritance is accommodation. I discovered this years ago when I inherited my grandmother’s house outside of Wimbledon. My inheritance brought me face to face with the world of concrete (and pumps) and the realization I had to accommodate or perish (not literally, of course).
Incontinent cherub and crumbling foundation
My grandmother’s house is more cottage than house: living room, kitchen, one bathroom and two bedrooms. No front yard to speak of. A lovely English garden in the back, with a fountain. The fountain is a cherub from whose penis water trickles down a calcified and rust-colored groove into lichen-covered basin.
What the reading of my grandmother’s will failed to disclose was the deplorable state of the home’s foundation. In fact, the foundation was in such disrepair the housing council red-tagged the home as being uninhabitable. Which meant if I entertained any notions of living there or of selling it, I would have to fix said tottering foundation. Enter concrete.
My father’s trowel
Up to this point, my experience with concrete was limited to watching my father trowel a patch of ground in our backyard for a barbeque pit. I soon learned shoring up the foundation of even a small home involved using ready mixed concrete or renting a concrete pump. For the uninitiated, renting a concrete pump, not unlike renting any large piece of machinery, can be daunting. Here are my tips when purchasing ready mixed concrete in Wimbledon.
- Determine how much concrete you need. (In my case, circumstances dictated I rent a pump.) I am lousy with math, with calculations, with practically anything that involves using the left side of my brain. I took measurements of the cottage and relied upon the humanity of the good folks at Builder Depot to advise and they advised (and recommended) a contractor to pump and pour the concrete. (I realize this advice is light. Consider this more of a primer than an in-depth How-To on concrete pump rentals.)
- If the Gods favor you and your project requires you purchase ready mixed concrete (I am casting no aspersions on concrete pumpers; I am speaking only from the point of view of cost), there is no shortage of contractors in the Wimbledon area who come highly rated (of course, you must do your due diligence and vet each).
- Do not bargain shop. Your project literally rests upon the quality of the ready mixed or pumped concrete you procure. Scrimp on hand towels or even a cherub fountain but not on concrete.
I have elected to keep my now level Wimbledon cottage. I may be forced to sell it in the future but for now, I am content.