Once Works Well was pure technology. Now it seeks merely to divert.
Pansy subjects - Verse! Opera! Domestic trivia! - are now commonplace.
The 300-word limit for posts is retained. The ego is enlarged

Sunday, 7 November 2010

They say the lion and lizard keep...

Guilt seems inseparable from DIY. About jobs not done, jobs done badly, ignorance of the method, ignorance of whether jobs need doing at all. Even the competent seem gnawed by the maggot of what the French call la culpabilité.

To shrive myself I “get a man in”, unconvinced by those who preach self-dependence but skirt the trauma of a botch. This concerns a slightly different botch.

The Yale lock on the front door lost a small screw and became perilously wobbly. B&Q doesn’t retail items with small profit margins but Hereford has a shop specialising in brass bits. An interior crammed with dusty stock where light is admitted grudgingly, plus the knowledge that he is the last resort for many, has turned the still young owner into a severe autocrat.

He interrupted my preamble: “Get a wider screw than you need and screw it in until it jams,” he said. Even I was appalled by this ruthless pragmatism but such is his Messianic nature I did exactly that. The botch – ugly and visible - has held for about five years. But there’s the trauma, bearable for me but not for one who knows the maggot. A new lock, soon?

ME? A SCAB? The National Union of Journalists, which I joined in 1954, is striking against the BBC. Once the chapel (ie, branch) I belonged to refused a pay rise of 32% and held out for 35%. We were “deemed to have dismissed ourselves”. As editor with powers of hire and fire, my position was tricky causing my oratory to rise dizzily: “There’s only one thing worse than a pyrrhic victory and that’s a pyrrhic defeat.” People remembered that years later. But still voted to strike.