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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. 


Barrett Bonden said...

The cost of any component is arrived at - possibly by a team of hogoblin actuaries - by calculating its inescapability. Such decisions appear to be unerring. If an X-flange turns out to be central to a given project and cannot be improvised then you can expect to pay through your nose. The flange you show looks innocuously simple but its inescapability factor (Square root of minus one multiplied by X cubed, where X is any large integer) lies in its prevalence. The numbers needed prevent improvisation. I can hear the wheels cranking round in your brain as you look to rebut this thesis. Glue, you say. Fall apart, I say. One of the delights of old age lies in the exquisite passage from DIY participant to DIY voyeur-cum-critic. I am available for hire as the latter.

Sir Hugh said...

BB - D'accord! I would not wish to rebut your theories, but unlike you I am under the spell of the gene that repeatedly puts me back into these DIY epics and frustrations.