Family: Janet Christie's Mum's the Word

With DIY you just need the right tools for the job


My new screwdriver, a thing of beauty made by Youngest in craft and design sits shiny in the cutlery drawer waiting for the day I might use it. Today might just be that day. There are joiners in the house and while they’re here, I’ve asked them to “just take a look” at the flatpack wardrobe Youngest and I built for her room – it’s a bit of a worry.

Standing in front of it they swing open a door and go a bit pale.

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“This is dangerous,” says one, more to his mate than me. They’ve already written me off as not worth talking to.

“Yes. I know,” I say.

“The whole frame’s wrong.”

“Yes, it is,” I confirm.

“The shelf backs are upside down.”

“Yes, I know. But once they were on...” my explanation dies away. No point annoying them.

“And the screw protector rubber thingy (he actually uses a word not in my lexicon, but we’ll go for thingy)…” he reaches in and removes it, “is ... a rubber.”

It is indeed, one of Youngest’s that came to hand when we lost the thingy.

“That’s a first,” he says. “Aye,” says his pal, sucking in a gasp.

“Because you’ve used the wrong screws, they’ve gone right through the wood.”

“We don’t speak of that,” I say, pointing at the photos I’ve stuck over the holes.

He fixes me a look and says the magic words: “Right. We’ll fix it.” I think I may have clapped my hands and given a little jump. Sad.

“Well, we can’t leave it like this,” he says. “Too risky.”

“Thank you,” I say. “I didn’t want to build it ourselves, but SHE insisted.”

Youngest gives me her Just Leave Now look.

“OK. I’ll stick the kettle on.”

Youngest gives me her You Do That look.

In the kitchen I can hear the whole thing being taken apart and put back together in record time, watched carefully by Youngest Child. As I open the kitchen drawer to get a spoon, the screwdriver glints. At last...

I lift it out… and use it to stir the tea.