My back door is hanging off. And no, that’s not a euphemism. The back
door to my house has rotted and is about to fall into a million splinters. The post that used to go across the top crashed down weeks ago and almost killed me while I was putting the purple bin out. So now I have to get a new back door.
This is a huge problem for me. This is because it means treading into ‘bloke’ territory. And for me, this is usually never a good thing.
As I write this, I have stitches in my left knee from an operation I had to put right the damage I did last time I attempted to do ‘bloke’ stuff. The outside of my house needed painting and I thought I could easily do it myself. I got to about 7 foot up and everything was going well.
I smiled down sweetly from my ladder as an endless stream of fools walked past saying, “Why isn’t your fella doing that?”
One of the most valuable lessons I learned from my marriage is that if I want something done, it’s best to do it myself. I learned this lesson when I stripped my old dining room and asked my then husband to re-paper it. When he told me, and I quote, that he’d “sooner go to pool party at Michael Barrymore’s house” I grabbed a paste brush and that’s when the trouble started.
You see I did such a good job of papering the dining room that I thought I could tackle anything. So since I moved into my own house I’ve tackled the ‘blokey’ jobs either on my own or with advice of varying usefulness from my octogenarian dad whose knowledge of DIY was last relevant in about 1974 (a time, incidentally, when he sported magnificent sideburns, flared trousers and high-heeled boots).
The first job I tackled was what I thought would be a quick re-paint of the living room. Now if my best friend wanted to do this in her lovely new build house, it would take no more than a couple of hours. My house on the other hand is 102 years old and has ceilings that are 10 foot high.
What I thought would be a quick strip of the lining paper on the bay window to put some waterproofing gunk on ended up with the inside of the wall collapsing and I had to re-plaster it. The quick lick of paint ended up taking most of a two-week holiday to finish off. But I did it.
Which led to last year and me 7 foot up a ladder painting the outside of the house. The ladder tumbled over, I went with it and my knee was ruined.
But you know what the worst part was? I had to get a man in. True he was a very nice man and he only charged me £50 to finish the job off, but that’s not the point. My life had changed irrevocably. I had to admit that however enthusiastic I am, there are some things that just belong in ‘bloke’ land.
And now I need a back door. Now, I’ve got tools and I figured that with the right timber I could make one. So I practiced all last night saying stuff like “five lengths of 5 by 1 and three of 3 by 1” ready to order some timber.
I even got a copy of the Liverpool Echo which has a featured an advert for a shed and timer merchant on the back page since its first edition on 14th April 1872. I was ready to go with my manly timber talk when I noticed a website address.
I went to the site, entered ‘gate’ in the search box and up popped one that’s the exact right size down to the nearest 762mm and can be delivered whenever I like for a measly £7.
So the door’s coming on Friday. Am I planning on hanging it myself? You know what – I think I’ll have to get a man in.