Monday, 4 March 2019


We are living in a DIY world in which bodging amateurs like me reluctantly volunteer to sort out long standing domestic defects usually to catastrophic effect. When we moved four years ago it seemed the previous incumbents – presumably  the husband – had succumbed to pressure and agreed to hang some pictures which had been hanging around for years.

We don’t know exactly what happened but we can’t fault the apparent enthusiasm with which he set about his task armed, we’d guess, with a sledgehammer. We cannot know whether or not he’d fortified himself with a bottle of good strong Malbec before donning his overalls and sallying forth. We cannot be sure if the air was blue with words seldom heard and always recorded in the media as ******* or ****! But we can be sure that the task was not as simple as it seemed.

To be fair the walls in Brighton are mostly made of a material unique to the area called “bungaroosh” which comprises miscellaneous materials such as whole or broken bricks, cobblestones, flints , small pebbles and sand from the beach mixed with  hydraulic lime. It never caught on outside Brighton (obviously) and in Brighton, builders curse the memory of the idiot who thought up this wretched substance.

The consequence of ignorance, drunkenness, skill-deficit and bungaroosh meant a series of abortive cavernous holes where flint obstructed the insertion of a nail, screw or eventually I’d guess whatever came to hand. It looked as though someone had been blasting the wall with a 12 bore shotgun – well perhaps not quite but I like that image.

There’s a serious point here. I wouldn’t ask someone who knew nothing about it to do my accounts or someone who’d never driven to be a chauffeur. Doing work around the house that is effective, long lasting and not unsightly requires skill, experience, patience , time and the right tools. Which is why our DIY man has been such a find. Recommended by our nephew He’s spent a week doing all those jobs that in four years have guiltily remained on my “to-do” list. And our lives have been miraculously transformed. Doors now close, cupboards are opened with smart knobs as opposed to being prised open with a screwdriver, draughts have been excluded and touch up painting has been done so we can’t even remember where those irritating splodges were.

DIY is the curse of the 21st century. Get a pro to do your IT, your accounts, your marketing, your legal work, your mending. In the long run it’ll be cheaper , better and a whole less stressful. Stressed is what the scammer, allegedly from BT, must have been when he rang early on Friday morning.

“Hallo this is BT” an Indian voice said.
“Oh no it isn’t” I said jovially.
“Oh f*** off you f*****g mother f****r” he said and rang off.

That is terrible scamming. It’s DIY stuff. No good at all except to wake you in the morning.

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