Summer of Scaffolding



TALIM Chimney cracks

Teetering chimney repairs, summer 2012

Inside, outside – everywhere.  The Legation is undergoing needed repairs, despite the general Ramadan slowdown.  Ramadan doesn't mean that work grinds to a halt.  It just means that crowding all your daily eating, drinking, smoking, socializing – and maybe some sleep – into the 9 hours of darkness means that something has to give during daylight hours.  So work proceeds, at an altered pace.

TALIM OBO Conference room baseboard sideviewOne thing that also requires alteration is our museum circuit.  The Pavilion's Malcolm Forbes toy soldier exhibit, the Paul Bowles wing: out of bounds, blocked by scaffolding.

Conference room map exhibit: emptied for renovations.  The James McBey collection of paintings: off limits due to urgent plumbing work.  The part of the museum that is visitable is now down to about six rooms.

But this is all for a good cause.  Consider the conference room, whose baseboard (photo, above) disintegrated at the touch of a finger when the painters started scraping.

Elsewhere, we've found that when you poke a hole in a wall looking for a leak, you'll be amazed at what you might find.  Rotting joists after years of moisture, leading to termite infestation, and barely TALIM Conservatory leak generalsupporting the floor above.  Main sewage pipes patched with the equivalent of chewing gum.  Storm drainage pipes blocked by cement.  Out of sight, out of mind.

So thanks to the American Embassy Rabat OBO Facilities Maintenance Officer, we're getting a series of urgently needed repairs underway.

In addition to our museum visitors getting a truncated tour of the facilities, we've also had to adjust our usual activities.  No chance of doing a summertime Movie Night.  And this year, we have had to break our tradition of the Ramadan Andalusian music concert.  That's really a pity, as it is always well received – a bit of Moroccan culture to take people's minds off the fasting.  Sorry, our concert space is a construction work site.

In fact, this is what we need to do on an extended, continual basis.  A few weeks ago, I wrote here about our crumbling Pavilion building, the 1930s oeuvre of Minister Maxwell Blake, who did so much to make the Legation one of the gems in the crown of American diplomatic buildings.

Yes, we need a sustained program of renovation and restoration of this historic building.  So that we don't look like a patchwork quilt of newly-repainted walls cum crumbly mold, all in the same viewfinder frame.

Gerald Loftus

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