Sunday, 10 January 2010

I am a woman of avoidance. I avoid the little things that I have no interest in for too long, certain I will die of tedium if I do them. My serial dater purchased many litres of screen wash and kindly filled my reservoir early this year. A move so sweet and considerate it caused the pinprick of tears (thought it does not take much). Apparently, he struggled with the idea that I could replace the garden tap, but had been driving with no screen wash for 6 months.

The tap was not more interesting but it became a matter of principle, since people were offering to do it for me. Bloody minded that I am, I did it myself. True enough that I had to call the lovely plumber on a Sunday morning to ask why my stop cock was so tight. Apparently it is common knowledge that it works in reverse and I had in fact, been tightening it. So I replaced the tap. There was a slight issue with washers and the resulting tap is now at a 90 degree angle, but it works.

The screen wash was just another mundane chore and nothing about it excited me enough to do it. I have a very pragmatic approach. There is a problem, there should be a solution. The solution may not be the same as every one else's but on the whole, it works. When the final bathroom light bulb went a couple of weeks ago, I lit candles. Changing the light bulb required looking for one, probably not finding one, probably having to drive to get one and probably buying the wrong one. I lit the candles. For two weeks we had candle lit baths and I could not see my reflection. Heavenly.

This weekend I decided that there are certain things that I can no longer avoid. I had to plaster a wall. It is years since I had to weald a plasterers float and had forgotten what a loathsome task it was. Many years ago, when money was tight, though apparently more available than 20 years on - I donned a girly summer dress and went and knocked on the door of a house being renovated by a band of builders. My request for some lessons in plastering was met with amusement but by the end of it, I was fairly competent plasterer. Result was a plastered house at little cost. The only thing I found tricky was mixing the stuff. It took hours with a kitchen whisk.

Plastering is an art you have to keep up with. My attempts today were laboured and I very nearly and very literally threw in the trowel. By the end of the day, the wall is complete and fairly flat. Someone once told me that plasterers die of heart attacks because the hand is raised higher than their heart for such a large part of their life. I suspect they die of boredom. You do, however, have to admire any man that goes out day after day, to do the same job, day in day out. There is something admirable about the job, money, life aspect of it rather than the job, life, money theme to something more 'career orientated. I will not be retraining as a plasterer.

The smell of the stuff brought back many memories of converting this house, and the one before. This one is still not entirely finished but was years in the making. Filling holes and squeezing sealant brought with it many flashbacks of just how much work went into it. I don't think there is one inch of this house that I don't know or has not been touched. The floor I stand on was paid for with the insurance money to replace my jewellery when we were broken into. I never did but the oak is very nice. The door I open, was rescued from a barn and lovingly restored. The stone wall in the kitchen was exposed by myself with a Kango Hammer Action drill, on the very day I found out I was pregnant with my third child. So many memories and evoked by the smell of plaster. Funny how the memory works and the things that come back when you least expect it.

The familiarity of DIY brought back memories for children old enough to remember. Most of their lives were lived in a building site. When asked what I would be doing in 12 years time, I stated I may well be living in the Maldives. He was not impressed. Certain that I would still be living near Bath, it was a short conversation. I pointed out in fact, having moved around so much as a child - I had been determined that they would grow up in one place and they have, with requisite God Parents living within sight.

Tis the absolute rule of children in that they will actively seek to have an entirely different childhood to there own. Ironic that the bits in your childhood you loathe and that you change, your children will change. Yet the bits in your childhood that you loathed and do nothing about, you replicate and cause the same issues again and again.

I forsee a life in the military and me having to visit them in a modern house that has never seen a stroke of DIY.

I am writing this since what I should be doing is paperwork. See, avoidance. Just because I don't do something, doesn't mean I don't know that it is there

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