Lending a hand – or a stick

22 April 2014

“Flat Kathy,” said Richard this morning. “I need your help.”

“Oh! Alright,” I replied. “What can I do?”

“I have to mix a bit of cement,” explained Richard, as he hefted a heavy-looking bag onto his shoulder. “You’ve probably seen the two holes in the paving on my mom’s driveway. I want to patch them. We can’t put down pavers, because we may need to access the pipes underneath.”

The bag contains some sand and some cement. We add water, and I help to stir the mixture.
The bag contains some sand and some cement. We add water, and I help to stir the mixture.

We walked down the driveway together, and Richard put down the heavy bag near one of the gaps in the paving.

“What is in there?” I inquired, curiously.

“It’s a mixture of cement and sand,” he said. “Could you stir it for me, please, while I add some water from the watering can?”

A big dollop of cement mixture goes into the gap between the paving stones
A big dollop of cement mixture goes into the gap between the paving stones

“Oh, yes, of course!” I cried, feeling very pleased that he needed my assistance. “I knew that my stick would come in handy.”

We stirred, and stirred, adding splashes of water, until it was a rather muddy consistency. When it was just right, he quickly wiped down my stick to clean it.

“Thank you,” I said gratefully. “The cement was making me feel a bit dry.”

“Yes,” he remarked, “cement dries out the skin very quickly, and in this weather, it will harden very quickly too.”

The triangular trowel is used to squeeze the cement mixture into all the corners.
The triangular trowel is used to squeeze the cement mixture into all the corners.

Using a triangular trowel with a sharp point, he placed a big dollop of the cement mixture into the gap between the paving stones, squeezing it nicely into all the corners. Then, using a rectangular wooden trowel, he flattened and levelled the cement, until it was nice and smooth.

“There you go,” he declared, giving me a big smile, “we’re done. Now, to prevent anyone stepping on it, before it has had a chance to dry properly, we’ll park the car right above it.”

Gosh, I thought that was a very clever idea. And it sure felt good to have made myself useful.

The wooden trowel smooths and levels the surface. Now we're done!
The wooden trowel smooths and levels the surface. Now we’re done!

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