DIY, or how to Damage It Yourself!

I RECALL my stepfather, a carpenter, closely examining an old church door. “This was made nearly 1,000 years ago,” he told me. 

He then proceeded to point out its craftsmanship and enduring perfection unlikely to be matched today.

He had obviously not met many Germans. I have delightful neighbours. This is the family branch of ours that is obsessive about innovation and perfection. Never tell a German not to try to re-invent the wheel. He will.

A church or house door is probably the most reliable of all home accoutrements. Yet, Peter is constantly working on his perfectly manufactured door; he has done so for years.

We non-Germans try DIY and we are mostly hapless. Writing to her window’s maker, Fiona says: “Your instructions were a great help. I was able to follow them well. I had a few mishaps though.

“The top half of the window was stuck due to a large nail holding it shut. Removing it enabled its full use. Unfortunately, exerting a bit too much pressure on the frame broke the glass in the top window. We had to remove the entire window and get it re-glazed. 

“Following your instructions we bought some beading and got it working okay. I was on my ladder and reassembling it when I lost my balance and stuck my knee through the bottom window.

“After much swearing I decided I couldn’t face taking it all apart again so I bought glass and putty and did it myself.” 

DIY has never appealed to me. I far prefer GSI (get someone in). Had I been better at DIY my ex would have nagged me less and I would have remained married. You see, there are positives.

I am with Henry Ford on this one. The great man’s philosophy was similar to my own. “If you think a professional is expensive, wait until you try an amateur.” He also surmised: “If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it.” Are you listening, Peter? 

One distressed wife tells of her trying husband, who she says must have nine lives. He decided to re-wire the house. Most of us will forget to switch off the mains once in a lifetime. Her hapless hubby forgot to do so four times on this one job.

She went on to say how he had often been blown to the far side of the room when he was ‘fixing’ the wiring.

Another distressed lady tells of the time her husband, and yes her German neighbour, decided to remove a tree’s branches before high winds did it. After a few cans of lager the first branch was cut. It landed on a power line that blacked out the nearest town. His name wasn’t Peter by any chance? The Germans gave us Beethoven and Goethe; I will forgive them this one time.

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