No Hammer, Just a House of Horrors


In a rare moment of sobriety this weekend I decided to do a few jobs around the house. Nothing major, you understand, just a few little bits that needed doing. I’ve never been Mr.D.I.Y for several reasons : I’m crap at it; I’m a lazy little bastard; there’s something I wanna watch on telly; Dad will do it for me; I can pay a mate / local tradesman to do it for me. But times being as they are with the piggy-bank being empty, I need to forget my lack of enthusiasm for or skill with a screwdriver, drill or hammer, act like a man, get off my arse and do it.

I limbered up with a doorknob. That’s not something I’d admit to in public, but nevertheless it’s true. I’ve had to open my kitchen door with a teaspoon ever since the knob fell off a few weeks ago. The spoon makes a good jemmy, and doesn’t scratch the paint. I have gotten quite used to it. It even has it’s own little home on top of the heater beside the door and The Incumbent has pronounced it all to be ‘funny’ as opposed to it being a pain in the arse . But what with the imminent arrival of Mum , who will not see the funny side of it, and having invited some pals round next weekend for beer and curry, I knew I had to get my act together. Railway Cuttings is no mansion, no show-home, but it’s a slippery slope down to Trampsville when you have to open doors with cutlery. Next stop: J-cloths as reusable toilet paper. I don’t wanna go there again.

Two squirts of ‘No More Nails’ later and my two new knobs were affixed (one each side of the door, DO keep up!). What was dad thinking of, using screws and nails and things ? This is the future of DIY!. Yes, yes I realise they’ll last about ten days. I realise this stuff isn’t quite the miracle cure for sticking everything they tell us it is, but once the guests have left and my knob falls off I’m happy to go back to the spoon. (God this is thrilling stuff! Dick Francis ??? Pah!) Encouraged by my success, I moved on to repairing the curtains. This too seemed to go swimmingly, with the aid of another ‘labour-saving’ device, some iron-on adhesive tape ( a bit like Wonderweb- the batchelor’s friend). “End Curtain-Sticking Misery Now ” Why get out the needle and thread when there’s stuff like this on the market ? Back of the net!. (continued after this advert)

Wales Rugby T-shirt

As I knelt on the floor, ironing two halves of some purple curtains together I wondered if this was the sort of thing that other male icons such as Humphrey Bogart or David Niven would be doing on a Saturday afternoon ? Try as I could to convince myself they would, deep down I suspected not. They would be doing something far more mundane: A glass of scotch on the porch while shooting tigers, a quick fumble with the missus (or somebody else’s missus) on the polar-bear rug, then off to play poker all-night with the guys in some smokey bar, Claudia Cardinale draped around their shoulders, vodka martinis coming our of their ears. Hmmmm…………

I was deamily immersed in my thoughts, all the time making sure my seams were straight, when suddenly I was roused by the unmistakable of a wooden doorknob hitting a veneered floor : ‘Clunk’, followed by the unmistakable sound of an annoyed bloke. ‘Oh Bollocks !!. The Incumbent, bless her, did her best not to titter. I had to leave the ‘no more cotton’ activity on the floor and return to the ‘No More Nails’ scenario in the kitchen. I refused to be defeated by this fucking doorknob, even if I had to go down the path of ‘Some More Nails’.

A mere several hours passed and both jobs were finished. The curtains were back on their rods and, if you sit in just the right position (and ignore where the glue is already coming unstuck) they’re looking magnificent, if a little pissed in places (as oft am I). In the kitchen, the knobs are stuck securely to the door, as long as you don’t touch them. Apparently, the trick is to hold them in place for 35 minutes while the adhesive dries and hardens. I might as well have used my own faeces. Next time it’s hammer and nails time.

Tomorrow I’m fixing a heater to a wall in the hallway. Or maybe I’ll get my dad to do it.

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