I announced yesterday that I am a bumbling DIYer. Actually, it's often worse than that. Rather than simply bumbling, I am frequently incompetent. I console myself with the thought that nobody can be good at everything. Well, almost nobody, as there are maybe one or two exceptions around. But yesterday counted as a success. For me. I was doing electrical work and I neither blew the whole fuse board nor electrocuted myself. And when I had finished, the new outside light really did work!
Consider this. I attempted to change a washer on a kitchen tap. On a Sunday afternoon. I ended up calling out a 24-hour plumber at enormous expense - and the bottom of the cupboard under the sink is still badly warped as a result of the flood. I had to throw away the shelf and cobble together something new.
I screwed down a squeaky floorboard on the landing, and screwed straight into a water pipe for the heating system. That was on a Saturday evening and the heating was on. The emergency plumber had no microbore piping in the van so the heating - and the water - had to be switched off until Monday.
Another time I attempted to change the light fitting in the toilet. And had to call out an acquaintance (not really a friend) to turn the electricity back on.
See what I mean about incompetent? And that's just the bit of the iceberg above the water. My poor. late father-in-law would be turning in his grave if he hadn't been cremated. He was a stickler for accuracy and perfection in DIY. Everything, but everything had to be just so. Exactly vertical or horizontal. No brush strokes showing in paintwork. And as for hairs of the paint brush being left behind!!! He tried to tell me that preparation is 90% of redecoration. I know that. I accept that. But I'm too impatient.
Anyway, yesterday. It seems like eons ago that I installed a light beside the front door to illuminate the steep drive and steps down from the road. We never used it often, just when we were expecting guests to arrive or leave after dark. If that light was switched on six times in the course of a year I would be surprised. I switched it on last week for the ambulance crew who were bringing the Old Bat back from the hospital. But by the time they arrived, it had gone out. Presumably the bulb had blown.
I eventually dug out some old bulbs - that lamp was so old that I still had spare bulbs from pre-history - and attempted to remove the lamp cover to change the bulb. I started with fingers, moved on to a medium size screwdriver, and ended with the largest screwdriver whose blade would fit in the slot. Nothing, absolutely nothing would budge. In the end, I decided that the lamp was really pretty decrepit - all those years of salt in the rain had done it no good - and I might as well buy a new one. So that's what I did on Wednesday. It had to be Wednesday because that's the day the DIY store gives 10% discount to old gits and even if I was buying the cheapest outside lamp in the store - and I was - I still wanted my discount. All £1 of it! Oh, and I had to buy a bulb as well, so the discount came to £1.20.
I have to confess here that removing the old lamp was a matter of brute force and ignorance. I couldn't wait for the rust-eating oil to work. Naturally, the screws fixing the new lamp to the wall had to be in different places to the old one. I marked the spots with a pencil, only to find that there was a particularly hard bit of brick at one point so the drill moved up and to the right. Luckily, it was still close enough for me to fix the back plate to the wall, even if one side is a little higher than the other. But, as my mother would have said, a blind man would be pleased to see it.
When I finished the job and switched on, it was like the lighting of Blackpool illuminations or the Oxford Street Christmas lights!
But, boy! Was my shoulder playing up by the time I went to bed. Arthritis is the curse of old age.