We’ve been up in the atelier today, making the workshop part of it frost-free for winter. Because the roof will HAVE to come off next year – it really leaks quite seriously – there is no point in doing a tremendously fine job at the moment. Cobbling something together from odds and ends is the order of the day.
Now this is fine by me, less fine by Malcolm. In the DIY department, we are an extremely ill-assorted couple. Malcolm has a fine selection of tools,which he keeps neatly organised, clean, sharp and ready for action. I have only the haziest notion of DIY skills, and am prone to use broken knives as screwdrivers. The only time I went in for any serious sawing, more than 18 months ago now, I made such a bad job of it that I permanently damaged my shoulder. I’m as keen on DIY as Malcolm is on cooking.
This leads to conflict. Increasingly, I feel obliged to help – well, it’s my house as much as Malcolm’s. The poor man is up against someone who simply has no instinct for the task in hand. Holding steady something to be sawed, I’ll grip the wrong end of the plank. Asked for a hammer, I’ll produce a mallet. I yawn. I clock-watch. I fidget. I don’t notice when I could be fetching and carrying, and that is indeed as much as I’m fit for. I make a mess of the simplest tasks: I confuse screws with nails and can’t remember where I put the drill bits.
Poor man. He enjoys what he does on the whole, and is usually entitled to feel real satisfaction in a job well done. If only he had a keen apprentice, rather then the moody and reluctant Work Experience type he ended up with, he’d get on so much faster, and we could all knock off in time for tea.