I'll Do It Myself - Oh! No!

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic
My late husband trying to prove he was the best at diy

Submitted: July 08, 2008

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Submitted: July 08, 2008




"So", I say, "Can we have a square of concrete by the back door instead of the grass".

"OK", he says, "If we do it cheaply".

We dig out for the base.

"Do we need to dig so deep?"  I ask.

"We'll start as we mean to go on", he says. "If we are going to do it, we'll do a good job".

He puts in the boards around the edge to hold in the hardcore.

An old factory on the other side of the railway track has been demolished so we wheel the barrow over and dig up lots of old bricks.We need a lot because of the size of the hole and it takes many barrow loads.He then breaks them up.

At the front of the house we had an old gravel path.We had scattered the gravel over the garden as we had 'replaced the path'.  What with you might ask - grass, of course!  So there I am with a bucket picking up gravel from the flower beds which he then proceeds to wash.

We buy the cement and sand - a lot of sand because it is cheaper by the lorry load!

There I am mixing the cement (the labourer's job) and there he is trampling it down in his wellies (the professional's job).

We use up all the cement but it's nothing  like being finished so he decides to make it smaller.This means taking up some of the cement already laid and moving the boards.This done, he realises we are still short of cement.It's Saturday - the Builders' Merchants close at mid-day.He says for me to run down to the Yard about a mile away, buy a bag of cement, carry it to the gate and wait for him.You will realise from this that we didn't have a car.

I get to the Yard just in time.The man carries the bag of cement to the gate for me, locks the gate and leaves.I wait and wait. Eventually he arrives on his pushbike.This pushbike is very old.An antique?Perhaps.It's one of those 'sit up and beg ' type.  When he got it from the junk yard he said it would last for ever.  And it did!

He puts the bag of cement across his crossbar and we walk to the local park.He says he will ride his bike through the park with the bag of cement on the crossbar.

He sets off, but because the cement isn't equally distributed (more on one side of the crossbar then the other) he can't control the bike and goes round in a big circle and topples off.This provides a lot of amusement to the people in the park.

He decides to leave me in the park with the bag of cement lying on the ground while he goes home on his bike to get my shopping trolley.

It takes him more than half an hour.Time enough for word to get around the park so we now have an audience who thinks its Showtime!He arrives with the shopping trolley tied to his back with string because it's the only way he can carry it.

He says that the cement already laid is drying out so he will take a quarter of the bag of the cement in a shoulder bag which he has brought inside the shopping trolley, go home and finish off the concrete, while I follow with the rest of the cement in my shopping trolley.

Have you tried opening a bag of cement with a house key, transferring it by hand to a shoulder bag and getting the rest in a shopping trolley?

Anyway, after doing this, leaving people and the park covered in cement dust, he sets off for home with the shoulder bag on his shoulder.Of course, the strap has to break because of the weight, and the bag thuds to the ground spreading dust over himself.

One of the on-lookers now takes pity on him and helps tie the shoulder bag to the crossbar and he sets off for home to the sound of applause.

I am now left with three-quarters of a bag of cement in a little shopping trolley.It takes me a long time to get home, the wheels on the trolley being the smallest ever made!

I arrive home to find that he has mixed and laid the extra concrete.The bit he had left to fill is an outside corner, the most vulnerable bit of the whole thing.

"It's OK", he says, after I have pointed out all the bumps and grooves, "They're there to enable the rainwater to run away from the house".

Because of the 'shortages' the concrete base is much lower than intended so he makes a 'step' up into the house from two lengths of railway sleepers- one on top of the other.They move about a bit so I have to make some wedges.

It's like this for years, but eventually he does make a step after someone gives him some old bricks.

A few years later he decides to build a conservatory over this concrete base using an old aluminium greenhouse.But, that's another story called 'The Patchwork Conservatory' - a landmark for the neighbours!

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