If you’ve dropped by our shop in Tiong Bahru over the past few months, you might have heard the cacophony we have been living with nearly day in and day out. Woods in the Books is on the ground floor of an old shophouse and the people upstairs have been renovating.
Drilling, hammering, the electric whine of machines hard at work — these sounds are not uncommon to life in Singapore.
But somehow, the sounds of construction above us have come a little too close for comfort, even for Singapore. Sandbags dragging, chipping and scraping, all sounding like one thin wall away, except that the wall is the ceiling and the ceiling sounds very very thin.
Still, things would surely turn out all right. It might sound annoyingly noisy, but that didn’t mean that someone might actually fall through the ceiling.
Well, it all came to a head on one April evening when a loud smash shattered the peaceful silence of the weekday evening hour, and a glass brick of a tile in our ceiling went to pieces all across the board books and toys and narrowly avoided hitting any humans (customers or staff).
What fun it was to pick shards of glass out of the greeting card boxes and meticulously wipe and vacuum every little nook and cranny to make sure we didn’t miss a single crumb of glass!
Not to mention the toys that we had to write off — would you be confident in selling children’s toys with glass dust sprinkled all over them? Not us!
Of course, we immediately rang the shocked contractors for upstairs, who promised that they would help us to make sure no further accidents would happen and yes, they would definitely come and cover up the glass blocks with wooden boards so that no more bricks would fall.
But there was nothing much that they could do during shop hours.
So, for the rest of the day, we blocked off the board book section and stayed on late to clean up all the glass. Then we came in bright and early the next morning so that they could block up with glass tiles in the ceiling.
And they also told us that there would be more renovation work to come…