Day 652 – Scorcher

An absolute scorching day in Cape Town today, as we hear news from 6000 miles… away of snow and ice and grey misery.

Up early to bath the beagle, we spent much of the day building new desks and fitting new shelves in the kids’ bedrooms. Being outside between 10 and 3 was never an option.

I’d love to elaborate about the finer details of these tasks (and indeed, I’m sure you are desperate to learn more of them), but a very cold beer in or by the pool is calling me, and who am I to ignore its requests?

Day 332 – The day of rest

And on the seventh day, God rested.
God clearly didn’t have DIY to do.

The cottage in the back garden was the initial focus of the family’s efforts this morning. There really is no excuse for the amount of Antique Cream on the walls and woodwork of this house.
We began to annihilate it with pure white. Clean, crisp, not beige.

And then, while the kids went and did Scouts stuff, the grown-ups tackled the peach study.
We’re going for a grey in there. After all:

Grey is often perceived as a classic, sleek and refined neutral colour. Grey is highly adaptable and used by designers to let other colours shine, as it is subtle and can be either warm or cool. Best used as a restful backdrop to complement the mood you’re trying to create. It can also be combined with more playful colours.

Yeah. That’s me: classic, sleek, and refined. Highly adaptable.
And I’m all about creating a restful mood.

And there’s such variety. I counted more than 49 different varieties in the special shop I was at earlier. Amazing.

There is one slight hitch. The peach doesn’t want to give up. It’s fighting back through two coats of Boulders Plume*. I’m reminded of Adrian Mole using a felt tip pen to colour in the bells on Noddy’s hat after thirteen coats of black paint in his bedroom.

Has there ever been a more sublimely comic vignette of teenage angst than the sorry tale of Adrian Mole and his Noddy wallpaper?
In a series of diary entries over a torrid week one May, Mole, aged 13¾, decides that he can no longer sleep in a room papered with Enid Blyton characters (“positively indecent”) and paints his walls a vinyl, silk-finish black.

It does not work out well for him.

“Wednesday May 27th. Third coat. Slight improvement, only Noddy’s hat showing through now.”

“Friday May 29th. Went over hat bells with black felt-tip pen, did sixty-nine tonight, only a hundred and twenty-four to go.”

We’re not quite at that stage yet, but we’re certainly not grey yet either.



* seriously, who makes these names up?

Day 285 – Mr Fixit

Two Out Of Three Ain’t Bad, or so Mr Loaf told us back in the late 70s.

And with three appliances playing up at home today, I thought I’d give fixing them a go, rather than paying someone else to come and have a look.

Let’s see how I got on (the hint is above really, isn’t it?).

First off, the washing machine. It’s a 13 year old LG front loader (c.f. these guys) for those of you who like to know that kind of thing. But it keeps getting stuck in the rinse cycle. How irritating.

A quick google of the symptoms revealed that it was probably a clogged drain filter that was the problem. And so I found the drain filter, removed it and unclogged it. Unpleasant. But now the washing machine works again. Hashtag winning.

Next up was the IP camera attached to the house security system. It’s a Dahua system for those of you who like to know that kind of thing. And all except one of the cameras were working.

I happen to know that the camera that wasn’t working is the special camera that’s connected to zone 8. Opening the app which is hardwired into the system, I noticed that there were two different IP addresses listed. One for the camera and one for the system. That seemed a bit odd.
I took all my courage into my hands and changed the camera IP address to the same as the system, clicked the APPLY button and… it worked! I can now see that other view of my driveway from wherever I am in the world. Sadly, because of lockdown, where I am in the world is just behind that very same driveway.

I could just look out of the window. But then I could just wash my clothes by hand.

And now there’s just the gas hob to work on. It’s a Defy gas hob for those of you who like to know that kind of thing. There’s an issue with the supply to one of the rings. But the first job was just water and the second one was just pixels. Water and pixels don’t blow houses up. No – you need a decent supply of (in this case) butane for that, together with a lack of experience in dealing with butane-supplying appliances. And house go boom boom.

And so I’m leaving the gas hob job to someone else. Someone that knows what they’re doing and can then be held liable for the damage when the house does go boom boom.

But they’ve just been and sorted out my problem. And the house hasn’t gone boom boom just yet.

I’ve sorted it all out (even though the last 33.3% was simply accomplished by calling someone else in). I’m happy.

Step forward Mr Loaf – the stage is yours.



Day 24 – DIM

DIY = Do It Yourself
DIM = (Fine, I’ll) Do It Myself (then)

I have been forced into doing all those little jobs that my wife has been going on about for a few days years now. Well, technically she did half of them and then I felt so guilty I had to join in and do the rest. We now have – amongst other things – cleared flower beds and painted walls.

And a stronger marriage. Maybe.

These were the sort of chores that we might normally have done together over a weekend, so I don’t feel too bad, but they did still need doing and I hadn’t (until now, at least) done them.

That’s not to say that I haven’t done anything though – the steps in the back garden were falling apart, and now they are falling apart a little bit less. Some trees and bushes were getting a bit overgrown and now they are less overgrown. But sometimes it’s hard to motivate oneself to do these rather mundane tasks, especially when one day is very much blending into the next and the world is not going to fall apart (any more than it already has) if you don’t do them.

Even I have to admit that the flower beds look better and the wall looks lovely though. I tried to suggest that the fact that we’d done these jobs together meant that we can both be proud of the outcome, but my wife rolled her eyes so far back that she could see 2019.

I may be in trouble and I suspect that only a well-mixed gin and tonic will get me out of it. I’m going to give that approach a go right now.

Bank Holiday DIY

It’s Bank Holiday Monday in the UK – their equivalent of one of our public holidays (specifically the one we had last Tuesday). But this one is the first proper one of Spring there, and is widely regarded as an opportunity to spruce up the house and garden ready for the day they call Summer.

In honour of this, poet Brian Bilston has helpfully rewritten the lyrics to Sheffield band the Arctic Monkeys’ 2006 hit I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor with a DIY slant.

Just in case you don’t know the original, here it is:

Legendary sounds.

And here are Brian’s alternative lyrics, delivered in jpeg poetry form:

Very, very, clever, as always.

Happy Holidays, UK readers.