...in the bottom drawer
I knew I'd lose it so I put it in a safe place, and now I can't remember where it is.

currently stashed in: Cheshire Street, London
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August 29, 2004 || 5:54 pm

Yesterday we did a bit more on Juanita's house. Putting up plywood ceilings and trims, and panelling out the bathroom with some pretty horrible masonite panels of fake tiling in beige. But compared to what she had before it is heavenly - easy to clean, non-leaking and new. The idea of the 'neck-down' project is that you don't use your head - ie, a short, intense burst of activity to fulfill the project without 'designing' or thinking too much about anything apart from functionality and fulfilling the client's needs. So although the ply ceilings look, to many of 'our' eyes, pretty funky being left unpainted in contrast to the white wood panelled walls in the main rooms - a bit like a sub-early Gehry effort - we know that Juanita will feel that they are unfinshed unless we paint them, so that's how it will be. So that's why we end up with fake tiles on the walls - they are cheap and practical and quick to put up.

When Juanita and her family came on Friday night to see the work, they really couldn't believe their eyes and were on the verge of tears. After touring the house and the new porches, we all joined hands in a circle at her request, while her sister improvised and recited a prayer to thank God for what we had done. We could have come from outer space as far as she was concerned, as she chanted 'I don't know why they have done this, I don't know where they come from, but whoever they may be, whatever their origins, we thank the Lord for their work, and the Lord bless them and their families wherever they may be.' And then they sang a gospel song in harmony, holding our hands tight.

Yesterday while we were working a group of schoolgirls came round to look at the work, and help out a little bit hammering and cutting wood. All totally friendly and open, curious at the work, and at us, and enthusiastic about joining in. 'I just love helping y'all!' one of them said.

Just after I left the site a huge thunderstorm broke over Greensboro which continued through the dusk. Jagged lightning and thunderclaps on a huge scale that I don't feel exists in Europe. The colour of the sky as lightning streaked across it was, I am afraid, just like in the movies.



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