Tuesday, December 16, 2008
I am still a bit of a Christmas Grouse at the moment. The inner five-year-old won't make himself felt for another few days. In hindsight, then, it probably wasn't the wisest of ideas to put up my Christmas Tree last night and even less wise to preface the activity with "oh, well, I suppose I'd better put the bloody tree up."
It was a catalogue of disasters. OK, disaster is probably a strong word. No-one died, for instance and I avoided major injury but there was significant mental trauma.
First off, I had to clear the little table I use to stand my tree on. This is normally home to one or two house plants. Well, two earlier this year and one up to last night. The one remaining plant shared the table with the tray that was under the one that died. I should have cleared it away months ago but it was one of those things that had become invisible.
Anyway, I had this tray and it needed to go somewhere. The shed seemed a sensible place. So I found the key for the shed, opened the back door and tried the key in the lock.
It didn't move.
"Fair enough," I thought, "wrong key." I have a few keys that all look similar for locks that were all installed at roughly the same time. So I tried the other two, both of which I thought were wrong. Still no luck.
I tried the first one again. Harder. It turned.
The door wouldn't open.
I tried prying it open with a screwdriver at the side. No luck. At the top. Again, no luck.
Eventually it opened with my pulling on the key with a pair of pliers. Thank goodness I had the presence of mind to keep a small set of tools in the kitchen.
So, with the door open, I took the tray from the table and put it in the shed.
No, of course, the door wouldn't close. I thought of maybe hitting it with a hammer but I didn't think the neighbours would be too keen on that. I tried shouldering it shut in the same way as detectives in dodgy movies for decades but no luck. I tried pushing it shut with my bum (a not inconsiderable weight) but the door resisted. I eventually had to sort through my tools in the shed and find a plane to take a few millimetres off the side of the door.
DIY in the cold and the dark of a December evening isn't fun, I can tell you.
Apart from hunting high and low in the loft for my tree's decorations (somehow they had ended up on Graham's side of the loft behind the probably quite damp mattress he's stored up there), the rest of the exercise went more or less without a hitch. I even got all the lights to light first time.