Friday, October 27, 2006

The Cobbler's Kid

My Dad's a builder, a very good one. He can turn his hand to almost anything so there is rarely any need to call out another tradesman to fix things. Unfortunately, he has a touch of the stereotype when it comes to actually finishing jobs.

In 1981, our immersion heater broke. Dad knew immediately what was wrong and proceeded to empty the heavy cylinder into the bath. He dropped it. The bath cracked. It was alright though, we could use the seperate shower. Dad picked up a replacement tub the next time he was at the builders' merchants, brought it home and unloaded it into the yard. And there it sat until 24 February 1996, the day my sister, Emily, was born. My stepmother refused to leave the hospital until she had somewhere to bathe the baby.

It was around that time that he also fitted the beautiful enamel woodburner into the lounge. The one that he'd acquired as part payment for another job in 1984. The staircase got put in within a few months, certainly before Emily could walk. They'd only been planned for 10 years so that was quite a rapid project.

Dad also bought a new kitchen when he realised his vasectomy reversal had worked. I'm not sure there was any connection. It sits in its wrappers and boxes in the old shop he uses for storage to this day. The design is now discontinued. I'm not sure what he will do if he discovers any pieces missing should he eventually get round to installing it. If he leaves it there long enough, it might feature on a future episode of Antiques Roadshow.

He used to pop in every week when I first moved into my house, due in part because he passes it on his main route home, and partly because of the novelty of not having my mother next door. I loved him coming round. He'd usually be in his van, his tool-laden van. I'd always have pictures to hang, plumbing to fix, or drains to unblock. He doesn't visit so often now.

He called last weekend to mend my letterbox which was hanging on by a thread. There was a spare piece left when he'd finished but he assured me it wasn't an essential part. I've put it in a drawer just in case. I got him to take a look at my tumble-dryer which had stopped tumbling months ago. He got the back off, top off, whirly motor-thing out and it was a snapped belt. I've ordered a replacement from Hotpoint. It will be here within a couple of days. Dad says he'll come straight round to put it on. I think I'll try and do it myself first.

He had his power tools with him so I asked him to tighten up the wall light that I noticed was hanging off every time I came down the stairs. He fiddled with it, didn't have the correct drill bit and now it's in pieces on a shelf waiting for the next time he comes over. I tried to get him into my loft as I am certain I have a leak, evidenced by drooping wallpaper in one corner of the house. Dad reassured me that it was simply poorly hung paper and the fact that the only strips affected happened to be in identical corners both up and downstairs was purely coincidental. I daren't mention that I've some art coming from Canada which will need to hung soon.

Anway I am going to Norfolk for the weekend. I don't know why that's news. It's not as if I see any bedroom action any other time.


Anonymous beanpole said...

Your dad sounds really nice. i wish mine was like him. Enjoy norfolk.

6:39 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

got to say my dad is excellent around the house. I am not unfortunately.

6:48 pm  
Anonymous Sharon J said...

LOL! What a wonderful dad to have! He actually sounds a bit like Richard, but only on the "finishing things" bit. Richard isn't actually good at doing the things either, which is probably why he doesn't often get round to finishing them. Or even starting them for that matter (think wall lamp, shelves in loft, upstairs landing ceiling - sorry, just reminding being as he's prone to nip over here and read the comments).

Still, he's just unloaded 20 balls of hay, love him, and he does do my trolley for me every day :-)

7:00 pm  
Blogger Within Without said...

I'm so glad your dad's vasectomy reversal worked, but how was the new kitchen, once installed?

I'm sure the connection between them is that they both would be exceedingly painful and take far too long to complete.

And what's the point, unless they both received frequent use thereafter, then it would be worthwhile.

It's great your dad wants to help, to a point, I suppose. Dads always think they're right, even when they don't actually know if they're right, in which case they'll just make something up.

He sounds like a loving man.

As far as Norfolk and your bedroom action time, is Norfolk known for providing that?

I hope you had a good trip, anyhow...can't say as my prospects are much better this weekend!

The word verification thingy is "enuff"

7:28 pm  
Blogger Ces said...

Cherry Pie, how can I paste the sound of my laughter on this comment because that is all I can muster. Your Dad sounds sweet but oh the list of unfinished projects will drive me nuts.

My husband is not handy at all. He hires people. We tried to do a project once. It was fixing the leak in the faucet. He started it on a morning I had to go to work. Being smaller, he asked me to crawl under the sink to adjust a screw. He needed to get new parts from the garage. I was wearing my suit, stockings and high heels. I did not want to mess my suit, so I took my clothes off. When he came back to the kitchen he saw me sprawled under the sink, my stockings and heels sticking out. I can't remember the rest of the story. The plumber finally fixed the leak on another day.

9:11 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, I definitely like your dad.

9:17 pm  
Blogger CeCe said...

Hee hee.. your dad sounds like a riot!

6:43 am  
Blogger Dave said...

Norfolk is wonderful. Stephen Fry and I like it.

9:27 am  
Blogger Stegbeetle said...

Norfolk is indeed known for the quality of its "bedroom action" but only if your plans for said bedroom involve sleeping...

9:53 am  
Blogger Cherry Rolfe said...

Your dad sounds gorgeous and not a little unlike the Headmaster who has his own fifth dimension, beyond normal space and time! Bless them both - the world needs idiosyncracy.

1:25 pm  
Anonymous richard said...

Ahem, I didn't put the light up because I knew eventually you'd say that you didn't like it anyway. I was right. Call it telepathy.

1:29 pm  
Blogger Joyce said...

yes, its all very relateable. I really like the striped wallpaper bit.

2:48 pm  
Blogger Mise said... Dad is a whiz at building too, as are all my brothers. I'm known in the family as enthusiastic, but useless.

To illustrate their opinion of me I get mocking text messages such as 'Measure twice, Cut once!'

However, that opinion may be changing. I've been doing a lot of stuff lately; sanding and varnishing floors, path laying and even electrical work. Last week, my father on reviewing my recent projects said,'You know? I think you might be getting good, at last.'

Praise indeed! :D

Enjoy your weekend!

5:09 pm  
Blogger andrea said...

I love it when you link me. :)

My dad had a workshop and some power tools when I was a kid. He used to disappear into it but nothing ever came out except him, which invloved a trip to the hospital once when he sat on a broomstick handle. (Don't go there...)

7:47 pm  
Blogger Carlotti said...

I think I would get along just fine with your dad. Buying supplies and starting projects is just so much more fun than the drudgery of finishing them!

Love the kitchen story - some lucky person will be very happy when they pick that up at a yard sale someday!

9:34 pm  
Anonymous pafusion said...

Love to visit Arundel in south of England again. Other spots are Gloucestershire, Derbyshire, Portsmouth and Isle of Wight.

1:07 am  
Blogger delcatto said...

I can identify with your dad. I can complete the smaller jobs but real thanks. He sounds like a nice dad.

5:11 pm  
Blogger Lorainne said...

Yeah...I wish my Dad was the practical type. He hates doing DIY and gets in a bad mood when he has to put flat packed furniture together. The only thing he is good at is ranting about politics. Oh...and playing chess.

11:14 am  
Blogger Melora said...

He sounds like a very nice dad, anyway, though you probably wouldn't want to have him start on any projects involving the kitchen sink or toilets (or any other bits of the home that you consider truly essential, I suppose). You have a sister born in 1996??? I am So old.

My dad is very handy too, and he is stubbornly resisting visiting us until sometime after the new year -- when he is pretty sure all the major repairs will be complete.

7:11 pm  

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