EDITORS NOTE

Worth hanging on to. Here's the situation: with bulky dishwasher connector in left hand, wannabe handyman eyeballs too-small circular opening in the undersink cupboard. Solution: wannabe handyman reaches back and across, slides open the cutlery drawer, extracts the bread knife – or perhaps even the lemon zester – and goes at it. Intermittent cursing ensues, some of it the result of frustration or self-inflicted injury, but most of it is occasioned when said handyman’s spouse notices what the hell exactly is going on. As a wannabe handyman myself, I admit I was temp...
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Worth hanging on to. Here's the situation: with bulky dishwasher connector in left hand, wannabe handyman eyeballs too-small circular opening in the undersink cupboard. Solution: wannabe handyman reaches back and across, slides open the cutlery drawer, extracts the bread knife – or perhaps even the lemon zester – and goes at it. Intermittent cursing ensues, some of it the result of frustration or self-inflicted injury, but most of it is occasioned when said handyman’s spouse notices what the hell exactly is going on. As a wannabe handyman myself, I admit I was tempted. Instead, I gave in to my urge to feel the warm glow of DIY-ness (and, given the spouse thing, my survival instincts) and headed for the garage. The Stanley saw was where I had left it on top of the toolbox in readiness. I reached into the toolbox and, almost without looking, fished out the halfinch chisel. Stanley, too. Five minutes, minimal effort and no cursing later, our dishes were being washed by machine for the first time in days. This was starting to feel like home.The point: my set of chisels has travelled with me for the past four decades, over the course of two moves. We’ve had lots of fellow travellers on that journey, too. Screwdrivers,drilling machines, hammers. I had to bid farewell to some of those fellow travellers this week because, well, we arescaling down. So I looked at the forlorn Black and Decker drill, my first power tool bought back in the ’80s, six months as cash. It helped mount countless curtain rods, picture hooks, shelves. Wearing its circular saw attachment, it cut an intricate pattern into quarry tiles and probably hastened my tinnitus. Time to toss it? Hammer action doesn’t work anymore, in any case. No, I thought, chucking it on the “keep it” pile. It stays. This was just our second moving experience in 26 years and I realise why we pay people to do this stuff. It took us a month to box what we could. I asked the moving company driver how long it would take to empty the house. “It’s a big load,” he said. “Four hours. Maybe four and a half.” They took three and three-quarters. A week after the move, I am still trekking back to the old place to clear out and cart away the accumulated detritus of a quarter century. Whatever possessed me to think that reel-to-reel tape had a future? And how many times do we expect our child to get married, that we need to keep those decorative umbrellas? After so many years, understandably the leaving is bittersweet. Fortunately, we have the memories; and at the new house, we have about a dozen boxes of stuff: the origins of which I have no idea. Our old house has trees that framed innumerable memorable moments. Where we have moved to there’s no garden to speak of. But being on the fringes of the countryside, there’s enough outdoors and foliage in the neighbourhood that our little patch of lawn and a couple of shrubs makes perfect sense. No need for the mower, blower and Weed Eater, then. The new owners can keep them. Though I think I’ll keep the drain rods. You never know. anthony@ramsaymedia.co.zashow less