To Be Frank, September 1, 2015: DIY disaster waiting to happen

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It seems I’m not alone in failing to be, shall we say, God’s gift to home decorating. Or to put it another way, something of a one-man DIY disaster area on the quiet.

My recent piece about how things don’t always go completely to plan – making the home improvement front more like a battle front, if you’re not careful – struck a chord with readers.

Or should I say, struck a paint pot, or even electrical cabling. Ouch!

Joy Pearce, of Dersingham, e-mailed me to say my article reminded her of a visit to a friend some years ago. “Her husband was renowned for his DIY disasters,” she said.

Well, I’m sure that’s a bit strong, Joy!

She added: “My friend and I went out for the day, leaving her husband at home. Unbeknown to us, he decided to ‘help’ by decorating the bathroom.”

Sounds a fine fellow indeed, actually!

“When we returned, he was in bits, and the bathroom was covered in blue paint ... it was all over the bath, the toilet and the floor!”

Ah. Well, OK. Perhaps it wasn’t a bit strong after all, then!

Joy explained: “He had put the tin on top of a stepladder with the lid off, and it had fallen onto the floor – covering the loo on the way.

“He had done his best to tidy up, scooping the paint up. He had spent the day in pieces, worrying about what we would say and do.”

He didn’t quite get the reaction he expected, though. Joy said: “As soon as we saw it, we dissolved into laughter, and could not stop. We absolutely collapsed in a fit of giggles.

“Then he got cross with us, because we hadn’t got cross with him, when he’d spent all day worrying!”

Poor bloke – you do feel quite sorry for him really, don’t you?!

This sort of thing wasn’t a one-off in Joy’s world, though. Oh no.

She also confessed: “My husband once drilled through through an electric cable when putting up some shelves.”

Joy added: “Luckily with no damage to himself ... but the shelves never got put up!”

You see what we blokes are up against?!

This reminded my Better Half of a story an electrician told her some while ago.

The sparky was young and keen, and made an elementary mistake – he trusted a member of the public!

He needed to do some work on a plug point, and asked the lady of the house if she would turn the power off for him. She said that she had.

The rookie electrician then went to work, and immediately got quite a shock. Yes, an electric one. In fact, the force of it was so bad, he was literally thrown across the room, landing with his back against the opposite wall.

He was all right – thanks, mainly to the fact he was using a very well insulated screwdriver.

So how did that happen? Well, the lady HAD turned off the power in one circuit ... just not in the circuit he happened to be working on!

No wonder they say if you want a job doing, do it yourself. But it makes you think, doesn’t it? If that sort of thing can happen to the professionals, what chance have the rest of us got?