Building blokes…

It’s expected of men to be able to use a power tool as if they have a degree in advanced woodworking when the only skills you might have are being able to draw a relatively straight line.

I’ve put up shelves, and the effort and result nearly gave me a nervous breakdown. I always claimed to my wife, who said they were not straight, that they were ‘visually straight’, which means they were n’t straight. I’ve even been known to try my hand at bricklaying though it was only in the garden. It was something that I found extremely satisfying but in the end a little frustrating as it took me forever and within a couple of years the resulting small garden wall looked like wobbly wreck. Thank God, n0 one ever let me near a proper building.

The other thing about DIY is the ‘fear of blokes who do this for a living, who serve in builder’s merchants’. These are not the spotty ‘oiks’ who serve in what are called DIY Superstores and generally know even less than you do about DIY. No, these are the really intimidating blokes that work in the places where real builders get their stuff. They spray the air in these places with testosterone, so you’d better puff your chest out to maximum when entering.

They can spot you from a mile off as you tread carefully through the door. Your lack of apparent tattoos might have given them a clue to your inadequacies. They might call you ‘mate’, and when you refuse to join in this banter by calling them ‘bud’, they know they have you ‘bang to rights’.

They can then sell you almost anything at almost any price or they’ll simply say: “You’d be better off using the T698 version, it’s easier to work and takes less time to cure”. Naturally you have absolutely no idea what they’re talking about but you’d be very foolish to admit as much.

In any event the product you need will always be ‘out of stock’Sportsdiyshelf400sf until next Wednesday….mate!

Matson, a fine view of Painswick

Dear old Matson is just on the edge of Gloucester and has a fine view of the Painswick hills, it has a reputation as a tough area but it also has a strong community spirit. I had a good friend who used to live there and he loved it. This is another in my series of the real meaning of Gloucestershire place names which I’m hoping to make into a very small book entitled “Glossary: the real meaning of Gloucestershire place names”. Available quite soon which you’ll be able to purchase for a very small amount.



Poor carpentry/DIY

One of those jobs done in a house where you wondered why they ever started, like a mini bar in the corner of a lounge made from stone cladding to match the outside of the house, and with a dark wooden shelf. None of the cupboard doors open properly and if they did would reveal a bottle of sweet sherry from 1968 and another bottle that appears of unknown origin containing a vivid green liquid that has shells stuck to the outside. The label of the latter is unreadable but is probably Spanish as there are plastic castanets stuck to the bottle neck.You’d be wise not to drink it, even when someone bets you a lot of money that you can’t.