By Unpopular Demand – DIY Tips
When my father-in-law died, he left us the old work table from his toolshed. We expressed our gratitude by letting it rot away in our garden for six years. Even the heavy railway sleepers, steeped in creosote, were no match for our neglect and the fickle precipitations of the Dutch climate. Every time I stepped into the garden, I saw my father-in-law standing beside the table, pointing at it, shaking his head in disbelief.
Last week, possibly deluded by the jubilation of finishing my third novel, I decided to put the old man’s spirit to rest by transforming the table into a garden ornament. A Buddha, to be more precise. Obsessed as I am with structure, I also set myself two other challenges: a) use as much of the wood from the table as possible; b) use only horizontal/flat pieces to create the sculpture. Needless to say, I failed on both counts, although I did come pretty close. I also discovered that it is well-nigh impossible to create anything close to a rotund, smiling Buddha using only horizontal lines. So we are now left with a grim-looking Uruk Hai straight out of Mordor or Isengard or whatever the evil wizard’s castle is called.
To complicate matters, I also had to pave the section of garden where the sculpture was/is to stand, because the bloody thing weighs as much as a baby elephant cast in iron, with the added advantage that you get splinters as you’re shifting it into place.
Aroused by the cursing machismo that accompanied my endeavours, my wife decided to get in on the sadomasochistic action by speaking the ominous words: “While you’re at it, why don’t you fix the washbasin that’s been threating to pulverize the children’s toes for the past eighteen months?”
And so I was drawn howling pitifully into the foul vortex call DIY, which originates from the deepest depths of the inner ring of hell, from whence I began tweeting a series of #DIYTips to maintain a modicum of sanity. I hope they are of some solace to others spinning ever deeper into the abyss clutching their toolbox.
- Before replacing a washbasin, take a long, hard look in the mirror and ask yourself: “Is this man capable of replacing a basin?”
- Before using a monkey wrench, take a moment to contemplate the origin of its name.
- Before paving anything, make sure you have availed yourself of sufficient paving stones and sedatives.
- When setting out to purchase heavy goods from the garden centre, first check if your wife hasn’t taken the car.
- If at first you don’t succeed, curse and curse again.
- Always remember that DiY also stands for Don’t Injure Yourself by incurring the wrath of god through blasphemy.
- Never lace your work boots, as this reduces that risk of blasphemy when re-entering the house to fetch tools you have forgotten.
- Be warned that the term “crazy paving” is an abbreviation of its original name: drive-u-fckn-crazy-paving.