Friday, May 31, 2013

A bit of advice

There's something about groups of three. Triplets, trinities and triptychs strike a chord at the very deepest level of thought. (Also troikas and tricycles, but that would make a list of five, which doesn't work nearly so well. Though you should never forget the rule of five.)

Having briefly covered reading, writing and 'rithmetic in the previous post I thought I'd start this one off with another popular triple: fear, uncertainty and doubt.

When you are uncertain how to handle a situation and doubt your ability to succeed in it, it is only natural to fear and avoid the situation itself. For example...

I have been afraid of fitting curtain rails for more than thirty years. I read the do-it yourself guides and the instructions are clear. You mark your target and drill into the concrete lintel using a hammer drill and masonry bit. Perhaps there's something wrong with my masonry bit. Whenever I try, I make no impression at all on the lintel. Though I make a tremendous impression on the (usually ageing) plaster, shaking it to dust for about an inch all round the drill. My curtains are, at best, precarious.

So it was more in sorrow than in anger that I heard the Beloved cry out in alarm from the bedroom window. Like a disreputable politician draped in the Flag, I found her draped in the curtain. So there was nothing for it but to hie me to B&Q, acquire the fixings and a new curtain pole and follow Henry V once more into the breach.

More in desperate hope than expectation, I tried something a little different this time. And, just for once, it worked. Like a charm. So here is my bit (geddit?) of advice:
If you are getting nowhere with a masonry bit, try a High Speed Steel bit. (And switch off the hammer action.)
I don't seriously believe that my houses have all had RSJs over their windows. But they have all been over 100 years old, and perhaps in that time the concrete has hardened to a texture more like steel than brick.

It only took me something over 30 years to find this out.

There are plenty of other things I have been putting off because my tools and methods don't seem to work. I feel inspired: where to begin?