Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Good old Bill

"It's pink enough!" Dad commented, as he walked into Sophie's new look room early on Saturday afternoon.
The second bedroom is currently being decorated and made fit for baby Sophie’s move from the moses basket in our bedroom in approximately a month’s time so last Thursday the carpet fitters were in. Arriving half an hour early, the carpet fitter, a friendly, bearded chap by the name of Caffrey, and his rather more impatient workmate, arrived in their beat up estate, nodding their greetings and obviously eager to get on.
The carpet men followed me up the stairs, climbing the steps behind me with their toolboxes, bags and the large folded carpet we'd picked for Sophie's room the week before in the local carpet store where we had chosen possibly the brightest, most vibrant, dark pink we could find. The kind of pink that makes you blink to adjust your vision. A pink that slaps you across the face upon first glance.
Just as I neared the top of the stairs I remembered Ka was currently lounging in the bath but with the bathroom door lying wide open for all the hallway to see. Rushing the last few steps I leaped, ignoring Ka's questioning frown in the mirror on the opposite wall, and swung the door closed just as the first carpet fitter turned the corner from the stairs on to the landing. The guys got straight to work, unfortunately leaving the bedroom door wide open, confining Ka to the bathroom, unless she fancied making a run for it across the hall in her towel, through the temporarily gathered nursery furniture, avoiding the piles of jagged carpet tack strips.
After some initial hammering and cutting the carpet fitters informed me they'd have to remove the doors from the room's in built wardrobe as they were too close to the floor and would require planing as they would not easily open over the room's new carpet and underlay.
Underlay. Something sorely lacking in the Reid household. Since purchasing we have sussed that there is no underlay whatsoever throughout the entire house. Before selling the owners kitted the whole abode out but only with a thin, cheap, pale brown carpet through which your feet can feel every floorboard. There's not a room in the house that doesn't have at least one creak, crack or complaint from the boards underneath as you walk over it.
After a mere forty minutes or so, during which Ka did manage to escape the bathroom at some point, the carpet fitters took their money packed up their tools and strips of pointed tacks and were off to their next stop somewhere in the Clyde tower, one of EK’s lovely tower blocks, leaving Ka and myself to admire their workmanship.
A floor or pure, luxurious dark pink met our feet as we stepped into Sophie's room. In fact, along with the underlay, walking on Sophie's new deep pink carpet was a veritable bouncy castle compared to the flooring anywhere else in the house. We spent more than five minutes simply walking around Sophie's room, just for the novelty of walking over such a soft, comfortable floor. No boards creaked, none dipped underfoot, none sprung up at the other end of the room when you stepped on it's opposite end.
It was great.
But Ka, being Ka, wanted the furniture back in Sophie's room immediately, so my ongoing, aimless, carpet wandering had to be cut short as there was work to be done. The furniture that my Dad and I had easily lifted out from the room the previous evening and shifted into the study and hallway had to be moved back in, but only with my own strength and Ka's help.
Mamas and Papas furniture may look small and cute for a nursery but it ain't light. It's chunky stuff, made from solid pine and not easy to lift on your own, especially when it's still full of vests, outfits, jackets, snow suits, bibs, my mum's knitted cardigans, tiny shoes and elmo slippers. Ka and myself ended up on our knees, maneuvering it back into the room slowly, lifting each end off the floor by only a couple of inches, to get it through the door, before stepping it into position once inside the large square room.
After some grunting and a bit of shunting all the white furniture was back in it's rightful place with the exception of one thing. Or rather two things. The old wardrobe doors lay against the wall, looking, decidedly sorry for themselves. One of them was looking especially dodgy after being taken down from the wardrobe frame, it's back panel shaking at one end, paint cracking and peeling from it's joints. These doors needed more than a plane, I thought, they needed a skip.
So when Saturday came around my Dad and I took a trip to Cornes, the local DIY shop whilst Ka and Sophie took a trip to the shops. At Cornes Dad and I enquired about the best ways to get some new wardrobe doors. We spoke to Bill, obviously one of the shop’s elder statesmen, but who turned out to be a great help. As I told him about my wardrobe he stood and listened, scratching his bearded chin thoughtfully, sometimes hinting for me to repeat myself for the hearing aid perched behind his right ear, and suggested we get back up the road and measure the wardrobe frame properly. At first I nodded and thought I’d get on with my day, confident I’d get round to it at some point only to find Dad driving us back home to get the correct measurements. After another drive back down to the DIY store we approached old Bill again who looked over my hastily written measurements through his thick lenses. Bill nodded, humming a little and made a few suggestions, we decided it was probably better all round to buy a normal six panel interior door and cut it up the middle. The idea sounded a bit dodgy to me but before I knew it Dad had nodded and told me to get on with it.
Bill disappeared out into the store’s back shop and sauntered back within 5 minutes with a successfully halved door. He had already slotted a block of wood into fill each of the now open wounds on both halves of the door and together with nails, hinges and glue my Dad and I left Cornes with a new job to do as Bill told his boss, Mr Cornes, he was heading out for lunch, perhaps believing that would be the last he'd see of us.
Once home we set up a temporary workshop in the kitchen, using the old foldaway dining table covered with my painting sheet as a work bench. We glued each of the wooden blocks into each of the door’s sides, reinforcing them with a small tack, headed up the stairs with each and found that neither would fit the height of the wardrobe frame and even if they had there was to be approximately an inch of space between the doors. So off we went back to Cornes, and approached old Bill again, now back from his lunch, but a little uncertain looking, as if he couldn't quite remember us. He took the two doors back off us and disappeared into the back shop again to lose an inch off their height. Within moments he was back out again with the newly shortened doors and helped pick out some strips of wood for us to run up the inside of the wardrobe frame in order to reduce it's width. Before too long we were on our way back home again.
On getting home, for the third time, we fastened the wood to the frame and sized the doors up within. We then fitted the hinges on to the doors, after a quick telephone call of help to the Cornes store again in which we spoke to the shop owner, presumably Mr Cornes, after finding ourselves uncertain as to how to fit the hinges. We then carried them upstairs and screwed the first, left door, into the slightly modified wardrobe frame only to find it would not open smoothly. We’d put the hinges on the wrong way around. Mr Cornes was wrong with his advice. We’d have been better talking to old Bill. So we took all the hinges off the doors and refastened them the other way around. Fortunately this seemed to work. Just.
After screwing the doors into place we found that the doors would not shut, unless opened and closed together, so one of them, or maybe both, still needs a little planning in order to close one after the other but it’s only a minor fault. Dad and myself finished up at around quarter past five, just in time for me to head down to the town centre and retrieve the wife and daughter from the shops.
Dad visited with Mum and Lynsey Ann for lunch on Easter Sunday, bringing his drill with him to enable us to provide the doors with their finishing touch. Their knobs.
So after a couple of wraps, a few cups of tea and a few light choice hot cross buns we drilled two holes on each door and fitted the two silver doorknobs before closing each door over with a smug satisfaction. A satisfaction that was slightly marred by the fact that each of the two silver door knobs were different sizes. According to the back of their packets there was a half inch difference, apparently. Again, another minor quibble and one that can be easily rectified...eventually. The wardrobe now looks far better than it had done before. The pessimist in me would have never thought the job could have looked so good in the end, though I doubt me or Dad will be changing our professions any time soon.
So thanks to the carpet fitters, old Bill in Cornes, and Dad, Sophie now has the best looking room in the house, and the most silent. All it needs now is for me to get to work with the gloss paint on the wardrobe and a new, correctly sized, silver doorknob.
That’ll mean another trip to Cornes. Hopefully I’ll manage without old Bill for that visit!

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