Tuesday, March 10, 2020


I'm not the helpless female type.and could probably survive on a desert island if I have a tool kit and am not eaten by wild animals before being obliged to eat them if edible plants are not available.

DIY jobs around the house have never been a problem but at present the wonky hip makes everything slower and trickier so I enlisted a willing friend to help me install the handrails I bought online. My flat has stairs and when I get home from hospital after the op something to grab hold of when going up the stairs will be necessary. 

The thing about my DIY expertise is that it has to be done My Way or not at all. I allowed my kind but non-DIY friend to hand me tools, hold things in place, sweep up the mounds of plaster dust etc. while I got on with the serious job of drilling, screwing (don't smirk) etc. She may have been bored with her role but I didn't mind. The result is excellent. I'm thinking of offering my DIY skills to the surgeon if he has any trouble fitting new ball & socket in my hip.


Roderick Robinson said...

I note the key element, top centre in the first pic. Rawlplugs. More particularly, Rawlplugs of an appropriate length.

I first discovered them fifty years ago and they freed me for many DIY jobs about the house that most people were unable even to contemplate. Before we left Kingston-upon-Thames for Hereford in 1998 I tried to calculate how many Rawlplugs I'd left embedded in the walls of the KuT house - a 1930s semi - and it must have run into hundreds. All securely mounted. To the point where I became quite blasé and overloaded the shelves in my study with an excess of heavily bound books, the shelf finally giving up the ghost - noisily and frighteningly - during an evening I was away from home. My fault entirely; I was rather more careful after that.

I expected to continue attaching Rawlplugs to the walls of our new house here in Hereford but, alas, time had moved on. Of the new surfaces some were stud walls (in effect wooden frames with plasterboard front and back) or structural brick (with plasterboard mounted proud of the bricks) - neither a secure enough base for mounting Rawlplugs that would support any kind of load. New stratagems became necessary.

Obviously you'll be well aware of the need to install the handrails securely, given they must safely support the weight of your body, however featherlight that is. In any case I seem to remember you posting a photo of your house and it's my impression that it was at least 100 years old, with walls that would, therefore, welcome Rawlplugs. Nevertheless you should consider a test. The friend whose job was reduced to handing out tools should be assessed for weight and then invited to simulate a fall halfway up the stairs followed by an un-simulated grab at the rail. If she survives then all will be well. If she ends up in A&E longer, more substantial mouting systems must be contemplated.

Natalie d'Arbeloff said...

Robbie, yes, rawlplugs! I have inserted all sizes and shapes into many walls in many different abodes over many years. Including the kind which, at the far end, sprout metal wings if the wall is hollow. Thus far I've never had anything collapse which I had attached to a wall. The latest job (handrails)is so firmly rawlplugged/screwed that Samson wouldn't budge it. My helper and I (she's taller and therefore heavier than I} both tested the rails and they are super-solid.The terraced house I live in comprises three flats, mine is on the top floor. Within my flat there's a stairway to the main area (livingroom,kitchen, bedroom, study, bathroom) plus another stairway to what was a store-room but which I made into my studio. The house was probably built in the 1940s or so but was totally reconstructed about 25 years ago by a developer who turned it into 3 independent flats, so not all the walls are hefty. When I come home with an artifial hip joint, I will obey strict medical instructions on a whole litany of movements which must be avoided (or else dislocation of new ball & socket may ensue). It ain't gonna be easy but I shall grit my (mostly artificial) teeth and carry on.