I took off my cap and wiped my brow, the weather forecast had been wrong and I wished I was wearing shorts rather than the jeans that were helping the sun bake my legs. I licked my lips and glanced over at those sitting on the grass enjoying a mid-afternoon drink, I was tempted to join them. But I was close to finishing and I wasn’t going to quit now. I nipped another piece of tile and glued it in place. Just a few more and I’d be done.
Passers-by passed by, some said hello, most just ignored me, assuming me to be the artist or an authorised repair man. Only I knew that I was just an odd jobber giving something back to the community.
I’d notice the state of the monument a few days earlier, bare patches where the tiles had fallen or had been picked off, bits of graffiti, a smear of something that I hoped was brown sauce. I don’t really care about the Scott Expedition, but if Cardiff is going to have a memorial to it, the least it can do it keep it tidy and if the council weren’t going to do it, then I bloody well would.
I stood back and enjoyed my handy work. The monument was looking better already and would look even better once the grouting had been done, but I’d leave that for another day, now it was time for that pint.
I was lucky to get a table outside the Waterguard pub. Already half a pint of lager was gone from my glass. The half-term crowd milled around Cardiff Bay; parents shouting at kids, kids sulking, skateboarders and bike riders sending pedestrians scattering and of course seagulls on the hunt for discarded ice-creams or crisps.
Two police officers rounded the corner; poor buggers, I thought. I bet they’d had their leave cancelled just so they could be part of Mrs May’s strong and stable leadership. I smiled at them just like the internet meme told me to do.
“Excuse me, sir,” the female one said.
“We’ve had reports of a man fitting your description committing criminal damage.”
“Really?” Well, I can assure you it wasn’t me.” I raised my glass to them and took another glug of beer.
“Can you tell us where you were this afternoon sir?”
“Of course. I’ve been here fixing the monument all day.” I tilted my glass towards the Scott Memorial.
“In that case sir, we are arresting you on suspicion of committing criminal damage.”
“What? I didn’t damage anything. I fixed something.”
“But it wasn’t yours to fix, was it?”
I spread my arms out wide, “How can you damage something by making it better?”
But they didn’t answer my question, they just asked me to go with them to the station and led me away to their waiting car.