From the Barber’s Chair: Right time to step back

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Older and, much to my surprise it appears, wiser.

I’m sure that not so long ago any discussion regarding giving the outside of the house a lick of paint would have had me grabbing the key and heading for the garage to look out the ladders and the brushes.

When it came to freshening things up, apart from the very highest bits, I always considered I was the man to step up to the plate. Back in the day, when all things DIY came firmly under my remit, giving the doors and windows a new look fell firmly into that category and was never a subject for any debate.

Anything that needed rubbing down, filled, primed, undercoated and painted was fair game as far as I was concerned. My approach was ‘how hard can it be?’ - and I had the enthusiasm and confidence in my own ability to get the job done. I did not rush blindly into such challenges either. I bought books, lots of books, on subjects ranging from decorating inside and out to bricklaying and laying slabs, installing central heating systems and power showers and I could even have fitted solar panels on the roof had I ever had the desire to do so.

Sure, there were mishaps. I remember twisted ankles, bruised ribs and scraped knuckles as a result of over reaching or missing a rung were commonplace in the early days, but as I honed my skills over the years the number of times I fell off the ladder and had to visit the chemist or A&E reduced considerably.

I took satisfaction from the finished job as well, and after it was pointed out a big part of the ‘do it yourself’ idea is to save money, even finally got round to promptly cleaning up all the equipment I’d used properly so that the next time I needed to paint something I didn’t have to visit the local hardwear store first to buy more brushes and rollers before I could start.

Now, however, these days are gone.

This time, for I think only the third time in all the time we have been living there, the house has been given a make-over by a professional.

There was little argument about this being the best way forward, given Mrs B had done her homework and contacted a tradesman with an impressive CV and spotless record. He was, I was advised over the cornflakes, hired and that was that!

Well, just five months into retirement and with plenty of other things to do to fill my time anyway, she got no argument from me.

The job was completed this week and, I have to say to the very high standard I was hoping for.

It’s always depressing to hear about the unsuspecting victims of ‘cowboy’ tradesmen who leave misery in their wake. Those chancers who turn up unannounced and offer to clean your roof or drive or paint the outside of your house at a ‘bargain price’ but only if you part with your cash on the spot that day generally target the older members of the community, like me I suppose, make life for the genuine tradesmen like the one we have just used even harder.

As the old adage goes, it only take one bad apple, so I have to say I’m very pleased we picked wisely because that means others can too.