Everyone was running on empty as they headed into the home straight on their renovations.
During the past 95 days of hard slog, all five teams have been emptied of energy, emotion and money for our viewing pleasure. Just when you thought there was nothing left to take, they were forced to face the hardest crisis of all for the chronically sleep-deprived; an empty coffee cup.
The teams gathered to farewell the McCafé van that has kept them in free lattes (and McDonalds in a seemingly endless round of prime time promotional opportunities) since the show debuted.
The van vacated its spot outside the five terraces on St Kilda’s Grey St, in readiness for the facade reveals of all the houses. I imagine it would be testing for the judges to marvel at gardens and arched verandas from behind the Golden Arches of a McCafé.
This week’s task seemed pretty small fry compared to some of the others the teams have had to undertake (most notably the recent hell week).
But, as Luke put it: “There’s no such thing as an easy week on The Block, even broom cupboard week would be hard.”
Getting the exteriors done in time for judging meant the teams had to share a workspace with foreman Keith’s many, many construction workers who were busily building walls as well as laying and rendering cement. And, if that wasn’t enough, five six-metre palm trees had to be lifted into the gardens via a crane.
Keith’s work needed to be completed before anyone could even think about laying tiles or putting in a single plant.
Three teams, Tess and Luke, Mitch and Mark and Jesse and Mel, were facing doing the bulk of that work themselves as their budgets had all but run dry.
That should have been no big deal for qualified tiler and one-man-renovation-machine Jesse, except that he was exhausted having already spent countless hours bent over laying all the floors and tiles inside the house himself.
Sensing Jesse was facing an impossible task, Matt and El’ise’s landscaper, Dave Franklin, decided to give him a helping hand, in the shape of two free helpers for the day.
Initially the highly competitive El’ise seemed miffed to see her ground staff working over the fence at Jesse and Mel’s place. But a quick call to Dave put her back in her box and she agreed that as the hardest working competitor on the show, Jesse deserved a helping hand to make sure he could see the thing through.
With the finish line now in sight, this wasn’t the only rivalry being put aside.
Mitch and Mark spoke glowingly about Tess and Luke, the couple who aroused their ire over spa-gate.
Tess burst into tears, of nostalgia not fury, when talking about her love for Andy and Deb.
Even smart alec Jesse was uncharacteristically kind about his opposition. Admitting that while he found Andy annoying at first, the comic had now become one of his best mates.
“It’s like one big family now,” Jesse said.
“Everyone just wants to see everyone else finish.
“I don’t think I would have gotten through The Block without the other teams. Just mentally and emotionally, it’s so hard.”
Aww. And with that rare display of humility and vulnerability from Jesse, it’s probably a good thing the show is drawing to a close because it appears that the producers are rapidly running out of drama.
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