Saturday 24 February 2018


Odd jobs around the house often take us a while to complete. They get put on a 'to-do' list, reviewed and re-shuffled on a semi-regular basis, and eventually work their way to the top. 

Sometimes they never get done - case in point, my daughter's bedroom curtains. She wanted a black-out blind for her bedroom, which we installed on the day of purchase. She also chose some decorative gauze curtains to drape artistically in front of the blind (on the inside). These required a curtain rail to be installed - tricky because the blind was screwed to the only available space on the wooden window frame, and the plaster surrounding the window frame was (to use a technical term) "dodgy". By this I mean crumbly, in need of repair, likely to fall off in chunks if a drill comes near it, and concealing a layer of brickwork which (previous experience has already taught us) is as impervious to a masonry drill bit as granite. Making the installation of a curtain rail the kind of hypothetical 'ten minute job' that turns into hours/days/weeks of frustration, misery, mess and recriminations. So what actually happened was that the curtain rail job went onto a prominently placed 'to-do' list, the gauze curtains disappeared into the depths of the airing cupboard, and after a couple of years (maybe five, probably more) we got the windows replaced and had integral venetian blinds installed. Problem solved!

In spite of these parental short-comings my daughter survived into adult-hood, and is still living at home. For the past three months (since Carpetgate) she has been unable to fully close her bedroom door because the new carpet is so much thicker than the old one. While we had managed to plane the bottoms of most of the downstairs doors almost straight away (mostly out of necessity, due to draughts and the XXSCat dog needing to be kept at bay when parcel delivery men and other dangerous intruders knock at the front door), we stalled when it came to her door. Firstly, it was upstairs, and she could almost shut it if she pushed it hard enough. Secondly, it's possibly one of the original doors (from the 1930s) and the hinges were buried under thick layers of paint. We couldn't even see the screw heads, never mind unscrew them. So we simply recovered from the carpet-fitting for a few weeks. Then it was Christmas. In the New Year we bought the paint stripper paste and waited a couple more weeks to find the right time to apply it (one weekend when my daughter was away). Then I had a minor surgery on my leg which didn't heal properly, and a taxi-driver crashed into the back of my car, so I didn't feel physically up to it. Finally, yesterday, we couldn't put it off any longer. Off it came, down the stairs, out into the garden onto the trestles, and the fun commenced. A bit of squabbling, a lot of helpless giggling*, and two more trips up and down the stairs to get it just right** and the job was done.

* Me, wielding the planer: "Let's have a bash at it and see if we can get it anything like!"
  Husband: "Ah, yes, a classic quote from the perfectionist craftswoman/joiner!"

** The house has settled a bit in the past 90 years, so it has always been possible to see daylight at the top of the frame. Now you can see daylight at the bottom as well, and rather than being rectangular the door is more rhomboid in shape. But still, just right! 

It could really do with a lick of paint now...where is that 'to-do' list?

While we were in Seahouses, and for the last couple of days, I've been working on the cowl for my friend, and it's finally finished. I decided that three skeins were enough in the end, as it fits me snugly wrapped twice, but isn't too long and cumbersome if left unwrapped. Since she is quite a petite, slender person (which I am not) it should fit nicely around her rather more swan-like neck!

Now for some baby blankets, for colleagues who are adding to their famillies in the next couple of months...

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