Sunday, 14 October 2012

DIY: A test of character. Which I fail every time

So glad it’s Sunday. Above all because it means Saturday’s behind us. And Saturday was purgatory.

Danielle had decided the day would be devoted to DIY. Don’t get me wrong: I’m full of admiration for those who get pleasure from Do It Yourself work and are good at it. It’s just that I’m not of their number. I’m more of a GSETDI type, if I can possibly Get Someone Else To Do It instead of me. But it was made perfectly clear that yesterday I’d be doing it myself and the sooner I stopped whinging about it, the better it would be for all of us.

At 10:00 Elizabeth, a Hungarian colleague of Danielle’s, came round with her Ghanaian husband, Moses. She prepared us the most fabulous goulash, which was great, while he threw himself into the DIY tasks with a vengeance, dragging me along in his wake and keeping my nose firmly to the grindstone. I guess it was really DIYWSE, since Someone Else was helping, but that meant that I couldn’t slope off with a promise to return to the task in a week or two. Or five or six.

Moses proved outstanding at just keeping going and shoring up my flagging morale, even though said morale hadn’t been all that high to start with. So Moses turned out to be just as great as Elizabeth.

However, as day faded to evening, and sun gave way to rain, and we were still assembling a second woodshed in the garden, fingers numb and clothes wet, the enthusiasm that goes with the word ‘great’ became harder to sustain.

I tried to see some clever allusions in the work I was doing. Shades of Stella Gibbons, for instance: all that stuff in Cold Comfort Farm about seeing something nasty in the woodshed. I can affirm from experience that you don’t need to find anything in the woodshed: just building one in autumn rain is quite nasty enough.

And it was the second woodshed alongside our garden shed. There was a Monty Python sketch about Arthur ‘Two Sheds’ Jackson. Have I somehow transmuted into David ‘Three Sheds’ Beeson? If so, when did I decide to do so? Was it a choice I made at all?

Existential question for me to grapple with:
How did I become the owner of three sheds? And why?
But eventually it was done. We came indoors. Time for the DIY warriors to take a little rest, perhaps some refreshment, as a worthy reward for our labours.

It’s a commonplace that one should never ask a question to which one doesn’t know the answer.

‘Is that it then?’ I asked Danielle, confident that I knew what her reply would be.

‘Yes, that’s it’, she told me, momentarily giving me the false impression that my confidence had been justified: when I say that kind of thing, it’s what I mean, and so when someone says it to me, I believe it. I have to get my mind round the idea that for many others it’s immediately followed by a ‘but’ or, as in this case, an ‘except for’. There then followed a list of another half dozen jobs to be completed before we could down tools at last.

One of those jobs proved rather more intractable than any of us expected or its apparent simplicity suggested or, come to think of it, than it turned out to be when Danielle did it herself after we’d botched it. After struggling with it for a while, it’s just possible – and I’m admitting nothing here – that I may have given vent to some comments not overly marked by charity or forbearance.

The result was that when I suggested to Danielle yesterday evening the intriguing subject I had chosen for my latest blog post – a subject you will now be deprived of the pleasure of seeing treated with the remarkable incisiveness I was planning for it – she said:

‘You should do a blog about how absolutely unbearable David Beeson becomes when he has to do any kind of DIY.’

I was shocked but she had barely got into her stride.

‘Yes, you could describe how his whole evil side comes out. How he sits down sulking saying that he can’t be doing with any of this. How he reverts to a spoiled brat who has to be cajoled into doing the simplest thing.’

Still at a loss for words, I just had to endure the barrage, which ended with her looking me straight in the eyes and throwing out a challenge.

‘Let’s see you write that one,’ she said, ‘let’s see if your self-deprecating humour will stretch that far.’

Well, it does. So this post is dedicated to my poor long-suffering wife Danielle. With my apologies for being such a curmudgeon.

Even so, between you and me: I’m still glad that it’s Sunday and DIY day’s behind us. For a couple of weekends at least.


Anonymous said...

Ha, ha nice job! The shed looks great and some things just need to get done. It wasn't that bad, now was it? Happy Sunday, to you and the vindicated Danielle!

David Beeson said...

Well, I got a blog post out of it. And, as you say, Danielle got vindicated. So not all bad...