Thursday, 18 June 2009

Another day of self harming...

Self sufficiency...
I know it is not very PC these days to make a mockery of a particular disadvantaged group, so I will apologise now as no malice is intended, but you'll get the picture by the end of the blog post I promise... and before I am targeted by the Blogspot police, otherwise known as the marketing guys, with spam mail about self harm support groups wedged somewhere between my perfect matchmaker or are you happy with the size of your Todger, I may well have to change the title of this blog post.

This blog post I guess, is about several things, having a go, hunting and gathering, aspiration on a budget, yes that is aspiration not inspiration, although sometimes the inspiration is Bon Marche too..  Now before you think I am going to have a moan about the credit crunch, or complain I can't afford my Jimmy Choo's in these hard times, I think you ought to understand I have inherited many of my father's traits, one of which is, if you can build it yourself why pay to have someone build it for you.  The trouble is both of us were and are somewhat limited in the self build department, which of course can leave you open to merciless bouts of ridicule and considerable expense putting everything right you did wrong in the first place, if that makes sense.

It is not that either of us was (my dear old Dad finally got to do his last bit of DIY pre 1990 when the only way he could get out of it was to die - bit extreme I know and I miss him every day that goes by and I know it is a bit of black humour, but he would have absolutely approved at this take on it all), and to get back to my original point, neither of us could ever be accused of being mean.  But it is clearly the hunter gatherer that emerges from our Celtic roots and takes over at the mere mention of DIY and power tools, but as I say, a little knowledge and a total lack of talent in the construction department is a dangerous thing.  Neither of us were daft enough to knock walls down, unless of course it wasn't attached to anything, after all we knew/know our limits on account of not being THAT stupid, but  the lure of being able to say 'I did that' and the desire to watch everyone gasp in amazement, has always proved too strong.

Let me paint the picture and enlighten you on one such escapade embarked upon by my dear old Dad...  Back in the 50's when my father had arrived at middle management, my mother decided that to go with our newly acquired family status and to match our semi detached double plot in (here it goes downhill) Essex - commuter belt of Leigh-on-Sea and handy for London, she would like a garden seat.  'No problem' says my Dad who hadn't done woodwork since school; I cannot call it carpentry, I'll leave that association to Jesus.  During one weekend, he set about turning our three folding wooden chairs, you know the type you shut your fingers in every time you use them, constructed with wooden planks that mark your BTM if you sit on them long enough, yep, those will be the ones.. out came hammer, hand drill and nails - yes nails, and a monkey wrench, why we'll never know, furthermore when he finally died he took the secret with him, so like the Holy Grail it will forever remain an unsolved mystery. My mother had spent the entire weekend hovering nervously and covering my ears every time his hammer found flesh.  She had every right to feel nervous, as the last time he had been left in charge of a hammer, she had to call a plumber.

I ought to explain that actually my mother was and still is the construction worker and builder in the family, yet just now and again the need to try and steal the title from her draws us like a moth to a flame.  She has ripped out fireplaces, knocked down walls, which continued to remain attached to something, built a double garage, put in RSJ's mixed cement, decorated, scrubbed up to princess standards in floaty frocks, permed hair and lipstick, and still got a casserole in the oven before dusk.  Lilian always said it kept her off the drink and off the streets on the long lonely nights when my father was busy building his career, so they both built stuff, just different types of stuff.  But not wanting to totally emasculate him, she left him the small tasks around the house which wouldn't result in death or electrocution or both. 

Eventually he presented the bench to us and apart from the fact that you couldn't sit on it for fear of crucifixion, impalement or body piercing in the most unlikeliest of places, it did what it said on the can.  The only other drawback was that you couldn't take a magnet within 100 yards without fear of finding a bench attached to it.  So... working around to my original thread of MY DIY, you can see which school of 'Method' building I went to.  Avante Garde and a bit kitch not to mention Heath Robinson.

When my daughter was around 7/8 years old after a miserable period in our lives, I weakened in a moment of marshmallow and allowed her to buy a rabbit.  A tiny Watership Down kind of bunny rabbit with a toffee patch on the back of his neck.  He was cute and cuddly and absolutely divine and we took him away from the safety and security of a well equipped garden, clearly set up for breeding, to... nothing.  No straw, no food, no hay and more importantly no hutch.  I could hear my father's words ringing in my ears... 'No problem', so I set about reclaiming copious amounts of scattered rotting wood, chopping up and sawing an old red display unit from Laura Ashley's window, a whole bag of 6 inch nails and a hammer.  So whilst Jo nursed the traumatised rabbit who can surely have only just been weaned, I set about building Colditz to withstand attack by foxes, keep out the elements, and allow the rabbit to have a room with a view through the tiny chicken wire window.  No drawings, no plans, lots of imagination and a gung ho attitude meant I ended up with... my father's bench!  Well not literally, but if I had put the poor little mite in it, he could easily have been converted into a bunny kebab.  It is so humiliating when one's child is rolling around the garden trying to conceal laughter whilst Mummy is trying to demonstrate the ten easy steps in DIY self sufficiency.  Clearly B & Q will not be a new career choice in my New Age of Silver Years (I cannot bring myself to say New Era)!

At the party last week, I did make a bit of a gaff.  I had been self harming on and off for much of the week, taking down pelmets, pulling out staples and nails, so the back of my hands were full of evidential traits of my activities.  I noticed one of the doctors staring intently at them I assumed he wasn't looking for a wedding ring, so in an attempt to break the ice, I said 'I self harm...' he looked aghast, I had his attention, so I hit him with the punch line 'Well B & Q call it DIY' at which point the bat flew in, the lights were cut and when they came up again he had moved away!  

And the moral of this story?  Always work to a plan... and drawings, however rough.  Whether you are building a rabbit hutch, a bench or laying down the foundations for your story... always work to a plan... it saves a lot of unnecessary time and expense later...
Love and Peace... xxx R


Kristen In London said...

wonderful, wonderful, heart-warming and glowing! Cruel Jo to laugh at your bunny hutch. This post is so you: self-deprecating (not harming), seeing the bigger picture, remembering the past. Love it.

Foxi Rosie said...

I am so sorry I couldn't talk for long earlier, the woman I needed to see who will be selling my tickets at Lighthouse was due to go home. :(( Missed you but you sounded so upbeat and happy. Delighted Charlie lifted spirits.

Thank you for your generous words over my blog... Oh how we laughed, once I had recovered from my cruicified pride... still better that than a crucified bunny!