It wouldn’t be Christmas without the decorations falling from the wall. Those that fell today had been up a matter of hours. Paper chains that drooped and then guarded the doors of the hall, as the loops came unstuck and the festivities found themselves grounded.

Back in the *early place* where I grew up, I was always tremendously excited when the decorations went up. The excitement wasn’t typically shared by everyone, particularly if they were fully grown up, in adult form, and responsible for attaching things to the cornicing.

In that house, the decorations were truly transformative. At night, I would often sit at the top of the stairs, looking down in awe and wonder at the magic of crepe and tissue banners stretched across the hall, multi-coloured fairy lights, and cards from across the land.

Completion of a task

Did I tell you that the doors are back on?

All of them. Well, the three that were stripped and redressed in a fine wax. Eventually, everything went to plan, which was great. I did have to rewrite the plan somewhat to make that happen, but adaptability is important in making heaven from self imposed hell.

The stripping of the doors was straightforward. It was very easy and went to plan, but that was largely because someone else was employed to come in and take them off, to be returned ready for reinstallation.

Reinstallation averaged 2 weeks per door, which was reasonable since its important to plan all building or DIY work properly. Then if, or when, it does completely go wrong, the surprise of failure is tempered by the relief that at least the first part of the job is done.

Of course, the doors needed waxing and handles adding. There was an opportunity to do this early, when one of them fell from the hinges, but it seemed at the time that the immediate priority of having non-fatal doors should take priority, and indeed it did.

A year later, almost to the year, the surfaces have been sanded and waxed. The instructions advised application of the wax via paintbrush. This, it seems, is a lie. In fact, the wax should be applied by being delicately dabbed to the surfaced from a lightly dampened gnats handkerchief. Anything greater that this is likely to leave the doors with a white finish that screams ‘sand me’ in words that are fortunately quiet and easy to ignore.

Door handle mechanisms were sourced from a unique supply source that took the original versions and added an almost inperceptible increase to the width. This became more perceptible when hammering the mechanisms into place; and even more perceptible when having to remove a now broken lock from a door, dismantling it from within the door’s firm grip.

Nonetheless, doors are back. The cracks in the frames repaired with larger and more cracking screws. The shattered pieces of the doors edges from fights with the finessing hammer have now been reattached with joinery acumen, and glue. And the adaptive plan is completed, at least until it is repeated with the doors from upstairs.

Towards the year’s close

Zoom. Did you notice, the sound of the year rushing past, speedier than ever as you sit watching the television from the safety of a lockdown sofa?

We are, apparently, still at war with the Corona virus. An enemy that we can’t see, and that many seem to assume as an inconvenience not to be taken seriously. It gets in the way of the drinking and *being crowded together* that is so much more important than spending a month not moving anywhere.

In the spirit of success, I have spent the morning extracting wood filler from the aforementioned doors, as the residual holes look better than discoloured filler.

Perhaps this is just like life. Be yourself and embrace everything, rather than looking artificial with an attempt to fit in.

Of perception, of failure

I have spent the day filling holes in doors, with wood filler that dries to the colour and texture of old toothpaste. The doors – even the bathroom door, when I eventually get that far – are not covered in toothpaste. Thus, the fine finish that had been prepared – in mind’s eye, at least, since the reality is different – is marked by practical and emotional contrast.

Part of the ground is now covered with expletives, and there is DIY regret sprinkled liberally around the house.

Over in that place, I still have a house that I bought a long time ago when I still thought I was immortal. More recently it was planned as my eventual retirement solution, but repairs followed by a collapse in the pound* means it will be on the market come December. Treat yourself, for Christmas.

*The amount of pounds in my wallet have collapsed because of various repairs, taking with them my patience to continue.