Saturday, 16 August 2014

Time to burn

Do you believe anyone other than the Dalai Lama who say that they have no regrets?

How simple do you think it is to learn from your mistakes?

How difficult is it to actually waste time?

Do I regret the minor celebration I had last night for the successful conclusion of H.I.'s Summer Schools and the selling of my friend's Volvo to an 87 year-old woman, or the commiseration shown to the 28 year-old woman who did not get the job of General Manager of the pub at which I was celebrating?

The last one is pretty easy - I only regret the mild headache I have this morning, not the late-night call to a nearby restaurant to complain about the loud music impinging on the very different music coming from my speakers.

I announced the decision that I would not be doing anything that I did not actually want to do this weekend yesterday as well. This means that I will not be driving H.I. to Bristol to see a friend's exhibition there - I've had enough Art for a few weeks.

My only concrete plan for the next two days is to buy a pair of door knobs. I am open to any ideas about the rest of the time, just so long as it doesn't involve getting into my car and driving somewhere.

The door knobs will mark the imminent completion of a project which has been dragging on for about two years now, just as they mark the transition of this philosophical post about life, the universe and everything to one more suited to a Lifestyle blogger.

For about 24 years now, I have been opening and closing our bathroom door with a mild but persistent sense of disdain - it is a 1960s, plain plywood-faced one which doesn't fit properly, and is surrounded by very elegant, Georgian, panelled originals.

It has never had a lock on it, so any visitors using the facilities become constipated by the possibility that their ablutions may be interrupted at any moment by someone just walking in. The fact that they are told that if the door is closed, there is someone else in there, or if it is open, there isn't, just doesn't seem to calm them down.

Some years ago I spent three months converting a small farm house near Shaftesbury into a slightly bigger one, and the first thing we did was to demolish the bathroom wall. One interesting thing I learned from this is that it takes almost no time at all to get used to bathing or using the toilet (sorry, Hattatts - lavatory) in public, especially if everyone else is forced to do exactly the same.

I bought this real wood, four-panelled door which was roughly the right dimensions, and took out the very nasty wooden mouldings which ran around the edges of the panels, then I found some much nicer mouldings, having hot-stripped the paint away from the rest of the woodwork.

The door only needed half an inch trimmed off both sides of it to fit perfectly (I hope...) so I took it to my friend's woodworking shop and leaned it against the wall. It stayed leaning there for two years.

Last week, I - sort of - regained my interest and cut off the sides with his table saw. It took about 30 seconds.

To cut half an inch off both sides of this story, I can tell you that the door is now fitted with the mouldings and a new latch, and the whole thing is primed and ready to hang. I am planning on coinciding the hanging with a day spent in Bath waiting for my mechanic to do about 10 minutes of work on my Volvo.

If you can learn anything from this post that isn't to do with woodwork, it is that it is quite possible to write at length about nothing, just so long as you have nothing better to do.

Stay busy.


  1. I am perfectly content doing ablutions in the open air, not phased by bathrooms without locks, or doors, and have pee'd in laybys throughout the world.

  2. Several years ago I bought lovely porcelain door knobs, circa an 1880's farm house, for my friends washroom remodel. The old house needed porcelain door knobs and her husband needed to understand they could be adapted, or I would come back and show him how to do it. Everyone knows if the door is shut, the room is in use.

    1. I bought two white porcelain ones as well, but I just don't like them.

    2. They only belong in an 1880's farm house, or turn of the other century factory worker's homes. The stuff currently being gentrified.
      I once salvaged one side only of a glass globe door knob from the wrecking ball of a home on "Millionaire's Row" on Euclid Ave. in Cleveland. I was a student, and carried it from place to place until I finally owned a home and installed it as the inside knob of french doors out to the patio.

  3. Will you be showing us your knobs Tom ?!! { I know, predictable, but we need a little light relief I feel }. XXXX

    1. I might do, but I will probably have moved on by the time they are fitted. You might have to make do with the carrot photo.

    2. I sleep with that, under my pillow !!! XXXX

  4. I don't have many regrets, but I do have a preference for a bathroom with a fully closeable if not lockable door....

  5. Women (except for Rachel) scream when caught sitting on the bog; men just tell you to bugger off.

  6. I think that the Xed drawing is supposedly physically better for you.

    When I was a kid, I hung out with this girl, Beth. We were walking home to her house, about a mile and a half from school, and she had to poo so she went into the bushes at a Protestant church. She wasn't protesting.

    Once I gave birth, that opened the floodgates - I have no shame anymore.

    Oh and I"m glad to hear it takes years for you to do a 30 second job.

  7. While I prefer doors to open air, a weekend away in a three bedroom holiday home with 0 friends cured all of us of lingering modesty - showering as others dried off, cleaning teeth and relieving themselves. It's what we all have in common!

  8. This post touched raw nerves for me Tom. My kitchen has three windows - large ones with secondary glazing - and green and white checked curtains. The windows looked OK but i knew the curtains (and the windows inside) had not been cleaned since before Christmas. Friends are coming to stay in September and in a fit of enthusiasm I got the farmer to take down all the curtains and the glazing and yesterday we had a blitz and today the windows - and curtains washed, ironed and back up - look fantastic. Amazing what impending visitors can do.

  9. I'm sorry, but this whole post has gone a bit lavatorial for me now, and I am going to leave it at that. The next one is all about tits. Much better.

  10. So why did I read all this - from start to end of the last comment, yours? Couldn't you just flush it?