Friday 9 July 2021

Doing it Yourself

For more than 18 months now, this blog has been ticking over nicely. Every two or three days there is usually a post because every two or three days there is usually something to write about, be it birds, bugs, or bees in the bonnet. Once in a while though, I find it harder...

While typing this, I couldn't help noticing how dusty the keyboard is. How dusty everything is. For many months I have had a long, complex, DIY to-do list. When it gets that way I sometimes default to do-none-of-it mode, and go birding a lot instead. And this is how things were until about a week ago. But now the tools are out and stuff is happening. And there is dust.

DIY and I have a complicated relationship. Generally speaking I'm confident enough in my own abilities to have a stab at just about anything, and often really enjoy it once I get stuck in. But overcoming the inertia to get started, sometimes a problem. And finishing things off, also sometimes a problem. Be warned. Don't marry me. Anyway, in this last week I've been hard at it, and the blog has consequently suffered. However, there is absolutely no good reason why I shouldn't write about DIY, is there?

On Tuesday I plastered our hall ceiling. Only the second time I've dabbled in this dark art. Until a couple of years ago I'd always shied away from plastering, but when the time came finally to do something about the vile overhead Artex in our bedroom I gave it a go. Like everything else, you can learn how to plaster properly by watching YouTube vids. What you can't learn is the knack. Which I still don't have. Plastering is hard, and a ceiling doubly so. It came out okay though. Decent tools helped. And shoulder muscles. Actually I could have done with a bigger set of the latter. Years of window cleaning has given me the ability to support a pair of binoculars and peer through them for ages without fatigue, but I reckon the plastering birder could probably scan non-stop all weekend with a pair of 10x80s.

Today I wired in some downlights, which gave me the opportunity to rectify some appalling bodgery hiding in the loft. I've lost count of the eye-popping horrors my DIY has unearthed here, but here are today's two lovelies...

Left: 240-volt cable wrapped in tape is never a good sign. Right: Yee-haw!

Still, I suppose I should be grateful our place hasn't burned down already. We had a new consumer unit installed (professionally!) a while back, and the wiring all tested okay despite little nasties like these still lurking in dark corners.

Well done if you've got this far. You really deserve some bird stuff, and I wish I could oblige. Is nocmig any good? I could tell you about the recent exciting flock of Common Terns. A nocmig first for me. Or my second-ever Green Sandpiper which called once at 03:23 on Wednesday morning. No? You're right, nocmig isn't proper birding, and I really shouldn't get so much enjoyment from it.

Now then, where's my angle grinder...?


  1. Cool tape skillz. I presume the trusty horse and spurs are in a stall somewhere, haha! :D

    1. This place has seen more than its fair share of that kind of thing. Don't know how anyone can do stuff like that and think it's okay.

  2. Gav, how long did that hot water cylinder take pride of place on the upstairs landing of your house in Rickmansworth? I understand it was the result of a near 24 hour plumbing/ heating attack that had been stored up for months.
    I suspect the tank remained in situ a bit longer 😊

    1. Ric, you want to see the plumbing in our loft here. Pukka! 😄

      We were in Ricky for about 14 years. I finished the place about 6 months before we moved! 😄

  3. Gav - I don't do DIY at any level. If I want the windows cleaning? I get a window cleaner, my motor needs new tyres/break pads I go to a garage! Having done my share of bodging the decorating of the kids rooms, when they were young, only to see how effortless the professionals made that same process I steer well clear of such folly now. A recent conversation with my financial adviser sums it up quite nicely - "I don't do money so don't expect you to do ink!" We all have our niche in this world - DIY isn't mine! - Dyl

    1. Ha ha! A good policy. Mind you, it's a long time since I last did my own car servicing, and I don't miss it one bit.