Henry Gilbey
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Henry Gilbey blog

If you need any DIY work done, I could well (not) be your man

I was doing so well! The confidence was seeping through me like it does when you’ve made the right call on a fishing session and decent fish are queuing up to be caught. I had bought a new drill that actually worked, but to be perfectly honest I tend to use a drill mostly for loading reels up with line or changing lines around - but this time it was some real DIY stuff, and it was initially a success. For ages I had been wanting to put up some rod racks in our hallway, and thanks to a particularly helpful suggestion on my Facebook page (thank you!), I had ordered a couple of wooden coat racks that were to be turned upside down to support some lure rods. In due course when the hall is redecorated the racks would then be painted or whatever, but for now my first DIY job with the new drill went just about perfectly. Check below. I am the man! Rods go out of the hall and onto the racks on my car. Perfect, as below.

But then I got the bit between my teeth. Deep down within my manliness I know that I am not actually very talented at DIY stuff, but successfully hanging a couple of racks up had boosted my confidence no end. OK, so it wasn’t particularly difficult to do, but damn it makes me feel like I have accomplished something mighty. The stuff that makes men real men was coursing through my veins and I was looking around the house for places that needed either another rod rack, or else some coat racks for the endless amount of waterproofs we have between us here (Storm is walked multiple times a day whatever the weather).

I started looking around my office and fancied that one of the walls could do with a small rod rack to keep a couple of rods out of the way, and then I found another couple of places out the back that needed coat racks in place of the dodgy looking hooks we inherited with the house. The new racks duly arrived via Ebay (check here if it’s of any interest, great quality and fantastic service) and Saturday lunchtime was set as THE time for further DIY and of course drill usage. I was flying. Nothing could go wrong, and especially after I wielded that new drill like an expert and successfully hung the new coat racks up out the back. OK, so an old curtain rail thing that I was taking down fell on a picture and broke the glass, but what’s a smashed pane of glass between a husband and wife?! Her faith in my DIY skills were wavering a little, but you can’t stop a man and his new manly drill in his stride. Now for my office…….

Thank god our RCD board worked, put it that way! All was going great, or at least I thought it was. The walls in my office where I was going to hang the small rod rack are plasterboard, and whilst the masonry drill bit went through like a hot knife through butter (damn good eh?), I do remember a couple of bits of minor resistance. I’ve got a new drill though, and on through the resistance I drilled. Resistance? What resistance? Put the drill on hammer setting and push on through like a real man does. In go the raw plugs, up go the pair of rod racks, and I’m feeling seriously manly now. Hell, they’re as good as level as well.

I then thought I’d plug the hoover into a wall socket and quickly tidy up the bits of stuff on the floor that are the result of some manly drilling, but the hoover’s not turning on, indeed the socket ain’t working full stop. I head for the RCD board and find the trip switch flipped, so I flip it back. The downstairs sockets bit flips back up just fine, but another switch thing trips back out and will not trip back in - is that the right terminology? As you may well be guessing, electrics and quite possibly DIY ain’t exactly my things! Anyway, the hoover’s working and I can call a local sparky to come and take a quick look at the RCD board as soon as he can. One of my girl’s bedside lights isn’t working but she can live with it until it’s fixed.

Come Sunday morning and my wife calls downstairs to say that she could only get half a bath full of tepid water and was there a problem with the boiler? Not that I am aware of oh light of my life, or something like that, but I’ll go check. So I do, and the boiler’s not working. No more hot water. Four people using the same half bath of tepid water ain’t exactly the best start to a Sunday morning, but so be it. Monday morning was a sink full of warmish water via boiling a kettle and sponge baths all round - not the ideal start to the week, and especially when there’s a light frost outside, but once again, so be it. Dad’s DIY skills are now being questioned by my wife and two girls. I had got hold of a local sparky and he’s coming round first thing Monday morning after I have dropped the girls at school. Phew.

Andy could not have been nicer or more understanding. By a process of elimination he found the fault as per above, indeed he commended me on my skills at managing to drill almost perfectly through the centre of the water tank electrical supply cable! So that was the bit of resistance I had felt, and as Andy said, it was rather handy that our RCD board was working properly and tripped out before all that lovely electricity went right through the drill and then me. He also kindly advised me that I should not be drilling through plasterboard and instead should be using those special fixing things - I had actually found one in my amazing toolbox the other day and thrown it away because I didn’t know what it was for, but I kept that quiet of course. Don’t want to sound any more of a tit than I already do. A not insignificant amount of money later and Andy left the house, everything working fine again. I will now have to get Terry the decorator around to patch up the holes in my office walls where Andy had to go digging around to try and find the problem, so at the end of the day my DIY disaster has cost me a bit. Am I put off though? Am I hell. I am a man, and a man does DIY. A man might then have to call the experts in to rectify the odd DIY mistake, but that is what a man must do. We get on with it even if we don’t quite know what we are doing, and then we claim stuff to our better halves like the cable was on the way out anyway and it was going to need replacing sooner or later. I think she believed me? I am feeling the urge to use my new drill again…….