Sunday, August 13, 2006

How to upset me

If you ever want to upset me then get me to do some DIY.

It has been something of a national obsession that peaked in the run up to and for a year or two after the millenium. There have been a whole host of television programmes on the subject of doing your house up and this spilled over into garden makeover shows. The good part of them is that they were a whole category of viewing that I didn't even have to think about watching or recording.

I went through the house renovating phase, in the build up to getting married at the end of the eighties. I didn't like it then and I like it even less now. It's not simply a matter of maculine pride, I am the first to admit that I have very poor wallpaper to paste skills, when it came to decorating dexterity I definitely rolled a 1 in a 100 and rerolled a second 1 in 100. Or being a warped individual in so many ways perhaps I have a superpower, the abiltiy to warp space at the precise moment I don't want it warped. I can take all the care possible in lining up sheets of paper and at the last moment, when I am committed, things shift by the smallest amount needed to make it clearly visible to the most casual of inspections. It doesn't matter if it is tiling, papering or carpet laying and even painting has it's problems.

Left to myself our cottage would have remained in an unfinished state until well after we married and moved in; it was through the help of friends, Marc in particular, that things not only took shape but were finished.

Why write about a topic that causes me to grit my teeth at the mere thought of it? This weekend I was forced to face a leaking overflow pipe on my water tank.

Knowing my limitations 15 or more years ago, I had employed an occasional plumber, (he worked when he needed the money), to sort out the plumbing when we had our kitchen and bathroom redecorated. Here comes a tip for anyone in a similar position, specify that you want things easily accessible for any future maintenance! To my horror, once I got into and across the roof space, the tank is 6 feet from a beam that doesn't have water pipes running along it; the two nearest beams have hot and cold pipes running across the top of the beam i.e. where I need to place my hands/feet when trying to get to the water tank without rupturing something - particularly of me. As it is, with only the sloping slate roof of a single storey kitchen, I can barely move and then only while crouching. After starting out, it's a few hours before I am actually ready to reach in to the tank andvremove the ballcock mechanism. Because of where the water tank is sited, I must lean forward as far as I can only feel and not see into the tank. At last I am ready to grip the split pin, squeeze and remove it; once done I can then get the bqrrel mechnism out, rub it down with sandpaper and put it all back, so it shuts the water off before it starts going out the overflow. It's not sunny out but, so hot in that little space, I am pouring in sweat, my hands are slippery, my muscles streched tight and eyes stinging; it'll be all worthwhile once I have finished. I reach in, squeeze the handle of the mole grips, only to find that one side of the split pin had snapped off at some point! Aaaaaaaggggghhhhhh!

I hate DIY.

I admitted defeat, worked my way out of the ceiling and am now looking for the name of a good plumber, (the one who fitted my stuff has passed away). If you want visual proof of how upset I was

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Cornwall, United Kingdom
A married Cornishman who is getting an inkling of what he wants to be when he grows up. I currently work for the NHS. [See bottom of page for Blog Archive and Links.]