Saturday, 18 June 2016
Typical, isn’t it? I take a week’s annual leave and because I have no holiday plans I take it when it’s convenient for the company, not for me. Time to relax, I thought, kick back and chill and release that old pressure valve. How naïve can you get? A couple of long-overdue follow up visits to the doctor. Car in for a service and bad, clutch-related, news and of course the never-ending list of ‘when you get a minute...’ jobs around the house. By the time you factor in the frequent and extensive showers throughout the week, all of a sudden it’s back to work and little achieved.
The biggest project was the making of a new back door. Simple enough, you would think. But, as always, for every job you do you eventually need to use every tool you possess and not being the proud owner of a workshop, everything had to be done outside. Sawing and planning and sanding and gluing and filling and more sanding and painting and on and on it dragged as, every couple of hours, everything had to be rescued from the lowering skies. In all it was really a couple of days work but what with everything getting in the way an entire week slipped through my fingers which, since you asked, are down to the bone.
Anyway, as I watched my time slip away and my list of chores barely reduce I was grateful to receive help from an unexpected source. A knock on the front door had me downing tools and investigating the interruption. It was a neighbour’s son – none too bright, but pleasant enough, asking if he could earn some holiday money by helping out. I’ve always been supportive of the self-starter so I invited him in and ran down a list of outstanding works. He pointed to one high up on the prioritised schedule: ‘paint porch’. I nodded in approval and set about equipping him with the tools.
A few minutes later he was kitted out with shave-hook, scrapers, wire wool, sandpaper and a big pot of primer and brushes. If you have any questions, I told him, don’t hesitate to ask and with that last minute advice I left him to it. He carried the gear round to the front while I returned to my door project. For a couple of blessed hours the rain held off and I managed to crack on with completing the construction phase and beginning the preparation for painting. I completely forgot about the neighbour’s son until he reappeared at the back gate with a big grin on his face; mission accomplished.
A gratuitous picture of tool belts.
He was quite a sight. Spattered from head to foot in blots of white paint and the odd patch of blood where he had been overly enthusiastic with the scraper he was nevertheless pleased with himself. It’s good to see a youngster happy to engage in a bit of manual work and touching to see how pleased he seemed. I grabbed my wallet and we set off to inspect the job. Walking around the side of the house the lad turned to me and said “Just one point of detail” he offered. “Yes?” I queried. He looked at me as if I were a bit simple... “It’s not a porch, you know. It’s a Mercedes.”