The profession which Ricey Bob denied working in had been quiet
lately. In times of recession, his finely-honed skills were seen as
unneccessary expense when a falling piano or an exploding
telephone could be arranged for next to nothing. Time lay heavy
his hands as he waited for
the next call, and waited, and waited.
Mrs. Bob, however, had plenty of jobs awaiting his attention.
Foremost amongst these was the construction of a brick wall
the formal part of the garden from the more utilitarian kitchen
Ricey Bob was no bricklayer, and had not looked forward to the
Of course, he was familiar with cement, but that was a very
different matter. Very different indeed, he thought, smiling to
himself as he recalled a few of the interesting characters he had
worked with, albeit briefly, over the years. Bouyant Barry -
now, that had been a fun day....
The arrival of the delivery van snapped him out of his reverie, and
went to sign the delivery note and help the driver unload the
coils of material and lay them next to the palletts of bricks,
followed by two boxes of Ends. Thank goodness, he thought, for
Bricky-tape, and for those wonderful people at MaxConstruction.
After making himself a cup of strong, sweet tea and connecting
garden hose, Ricey Bob made a start on the job at hand. He
removed the plastic wrapping from the first roll of Bricky-tape,
revealing the large coil of half-inch thick, 3.5-inch wide grey
As he unrolled a 25-foot length, it shed a small cloud of the dry
cement and sand with which it had been heavily impregnated, but
most of it remained trapped within. It was surprisingly heavy, and
dragging it into position along the concrete foundation strip was a
like handling a dead anaconda.
With the Bricky-tape in position, Ricey Bob filled his watering can
and started to walk along the length of the soon-to-be wall,
on the recommended litre of water for each metre of Bricky-tape.
Now for the fun part. He laid the first brick squarely on the
tape at one end, and tapped it down gently with his mallet (his
Special Mallet, as it happened - how times changed!). Reaching
the box, he picked up one of the Bricky-tape Ends - a neatly cut
rectangle of the same Bricky-tape, of the same size and shape as
end of a brick. A quick dunk in a bucket of fresh water, and then
slapped it up against the end of the first brick. A second brick was
then placed adjacent to the first, and two quick mallet-taps
it soundly up against the Bricky-tape End and then bedded it down
securely onto the tape beneath it. Another End, another brick,
tap...dunk, brick, tap-tap...dunk, brick, tap-tap. There was a
simple satisfaction in this routine.
It took about six minutes to finish laying the first course of bricks.
Already, the mortar in the Bricky-tape was beginning to set, and
would soon be firm enough for him to start on the second course.
tea-time, Mrs. Bob would be impressed.