Sunday, 31 July 2011
Ten days ago I decided to fix more decking in my garden. Such ventures are an addiction beyond my control involving a gene which demands that I should always have a major ongoing undertaking, whether it be a distance walk, a DIY construction, or reading a long book.
I am currently embarked on the latter reading Antarctic Navigation, a novel by Elizabeth Arthur (790 pages) which I recommend - it does a lot to debunk adverse coverage over many years of Scott of the Antarctic, and the novel format gives room for comprehensive analysis of that theme amongst many other interwoven character studies and political comment.
The downsides of DIY seem to be lost in memory as one conceives the next plan.
I ordered the timber and naively noted the modest cost. An essential item used is an angle bracket combined with two screw bolts with the frightening proprietary name of Thunderbolts . Having used some left from my last job I visited the supplier to buy thirty brackets and sixty Thunderbolts, with hazy recall of buying nails by weight for almost negligible cost (the trivial incidentals required by these jobs).
I had come to know the helpful lady in the office quite well, and after stating my requirements I trotted after her with pleasant anticipation of my modest purchase to an adjacent hut full of a tempting array of desirable ironmongery and hardware tugging at me like a warehouse of confiscated drugs shown to a junky.
Back at the lady’s office, with my small cardboard box containing, to my mind a few nugatory items of ironmongery I watched the lady tap the keys on the computer and finally she said “that will be £81.50”.
I had been in Never Never Land. Memories of my previous ventures were returning as sharply as the ejected shells from a machine gun: the cost of ancillary materials exceeds the cost of the initial bulk buy of timber, but by now addiction has won the day - you are totally committed.