Old school

School reports

Now this should be interesting. An envelope full of my old school reports. I wonder what my English teachers had to say.

1973

“A strong dramatic sense”, I wonder if that means I was always over reacting when they set homework. I hated homework.

“I feel he could further improve the quality of his written work with care”. I admit I did have terrible handwriting, or did they mean the actual words I was trying to use. Both?

Things will be better next year Sir!

1974

There’s the drama again. I remember we used to do little comedy sketches with props that the teacher had brought in. Daft things like Action Man clothes and we’d do a fake TV advert for washing powder that went wrong and shrunk everything. Who would have know at the time that years later I’d be writing radio commercials for skip hire companies and carpet warehouses.

In the school play I took on the role of the guinea pig in Alice In Wonderland. I know exactly what you are thinking, there isn’t a guinea pig in Alice In Wonderland. Remember, it was school play so they had to make up parts so that everyone who wanted to be in it could. I think I managed to make it my own, but I was upstaged by the stick insect and the dung beetle.

Tomorrow I will have a look at what my Physical Education teachers had to say about me. That should be a laugh.

Stay well educated and stay safe.

When I’m cleaning windows

My knees are giving me Hell, so I’m taking it easy today. I think I’ve spent most of the past few weeks on the floor painting or taking up carpet or putting down new flooring or kneeling to assemble some flat pack furniture.

Note

Note from next door

So today I’ve been sorting through some old papers.

I found this note from next door which must be a couple of years old. It says,

“Richard,
Do you think you could put a nail in the front fence.”

I didn’t think about it at the time, but I realised reading it again that there is no question mark.

So rather than it being a polite “would you mind awfully”, it’s more of a “I am rather surprised you have not done this so pull your finger out…”.

In case you are wondering, I’ve pixelated the signature. That’s not how they usually sign their notes. I’m not living next door to Prince or anyone like.

I wish I’d kept other notes from my neighbour. “Windows tomorrow” is a frequent one and the rather worrying “police were in our gardens” note of 2018.

My neighbour once sacked my window cleaner because he drenched her net curtains. Admittedly he was washing her windows at the time and I don’t think it was deliberate but still, I’m not sure she should have taken the law into her own hands and barred him from doing mine.

The window cleaner previous to that one had a fall (not at either of our houses) and was too frightened to climb a ladder again. Three window cleaners in 8 years. Not sure what the average is.

Stay clean and stay safe.

Day 55* – Eleven years on

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May 2009

I’ve started to sort through some old books and papers in an effort to declutter the masses of box files I have lying around.

Turns out I had a bit of a creative thing going on eleven years ago this month.

The image at the top is from a little photo book I made. No captions only dates.

Below are five haiku I wrote inspired, I would think, by the things I saw and experienced, again in May 2009. You can click any image for a larger version.

Stay poetic, stay safe.

*I’m going to stop counting the days. As the rules of the lockdown change it seems less relevant.

Day 54 – First sign of things returning to normal?

Teddy Bear’s Picnic

I was tidying up my various DIY bits when I heard something I didn’t realised I’d not heard for some time.

It was the the Teddy Bear’s Picnic drifting over from a street or two away.

Two things went through my mind. Firstly, gosh, I haven’t heard the ice cream van for ages. Secondly, gosh, should they be out selling ice cream?

As a child we were discouraged from buying from the ice cream man as Mother always said that he didn’t wash his hands after going to the toilet. How did she know?

Occasionally a different van would come round. It was the Walls Ice Cream van and we were allowed to buy from the elderly gentleman who was always smartly dressed. I did love a 99 with the Flake in it.

Stay cool and stay safe.

Day 53 – Door 2

My feelings towards rehanging doors have not improved over the last 24 hours.

Here’s an extract from a conversation I had with myself earlier.

Me 1: What were they thinking?
Me 2: Who?
Me 1: I hope that the current doors of whoever spent the last thirty years painting over the hinges squeak really loudly.
Me 2: Didn’t we have this conversation yesterday?
Me 1: I also need to take off a few centimetres from the bottom of the door.
Me 2: Don’t you mean millimetres? Please don’t take off centimetres.
Me 1: Millimetres, silly. Oh God, that’s just the sort of thing I’d do isn’t it.
Me 2:
Me 1: Hmm. A jigsaw just isn’t going to cut it. (Laughs at unintended pun).
Me 2: You need a planer.
Me 1: I’m sure there must be a tool perfect for this job.
Me 2: Yes, it’s called a planer.
Me 1: I wonder what YouTube says.
Me 2: It’ll say buy a planer.
Me 1: People seem to be using a planer.
Me 2: Are you even listening to me?
Me 5: I wouldn’t bother Number Two. I gave up a long time ago and I’ve slowly slipped down the rankings of internal conversationalists.
Me 1: Excellent. It’ll be here tomorrow.
Me 2: You did measure and mark off how much needs cutting off before you removed it right?

Stay measured, stay safe.

Day 52 – Door

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Bloody screws

Q: How long does it take to remove a door?
A: Over an hour and a half.

Removing doors is probably my least favourite DIY job. I try to avoid doing it at all costs, but I’m currently laying the new floor in the little bedroom and needless to say I need to take a few milimetres off the bottom of the door.

It’s the first time we’ve decorated this room since we moved in and my heart always sinks further when I see that all the screws have been painted over that many times the bit you put your screwdriver in* has vanished under twenty layers of gloss.

So I spent half an hour carefully removing the built up paint. The screws still wouldn’t turn.

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The door is now on the landing and I’m pretending that it has been locked for many years and we don’t know what behind it. Although if it were a door it would take you onto next door’s landing.

To cut a long story short I lost my temper a little. Hit it with a hammer a few times. Jammed the screwdriver into various bits of the hinge. Hit it again. Tried different size screwdrivers, including the screwdriver bits for the electric drill. I even tried drilling the screws.

After getting all but one out I eventually gave up and instead of removing the door from the hinges I removed the hinges from the door frame.

I’ve ordered some new brass hinges and now that the door is off I think I have a better chance of getting the screws out.

Of course I still have to saw a bit off the bottom of the door. But I can’t do that until the floor is finished.

So that pretty much sums up my day.

We did have steak for tea though. I didn’t realise how much I’ve missed it until I took the first succulent bite.

Tighten your screws and stay safe.

*Apparently the bit you put your screwdriver in is called the ‘drive’ and it is situated on the ‘head’ of the screw.