By Denis Jordan

I have set aside one day every year to be spent on fixing things, although it does get moved around a bit, like God’s Little Acre. Today is my day for fixing things this year, for yesterday the front door came off the hinges, and my wife has gone to visit her sister, saying she will never come back unless I mend my ways. She did not realise that she had made a joke, and neither had I.

At least I still have the children. Michael is in Canada, having failed his Leaving Cert and everything else, while Linda married a plumber and is now living in Colchester.

They both write to me regularly, so it is just the same as having them here. Better, really.
I did not break the door hinges, and, to be fair to her, neither did my wife. It was the postman, who tried to push a large parcel through the letterbox while we were out. Were it not for him the hinges might have lasted for several more weeks, so I am thinking of making a claim when I find the notepaper.

The front door is not the only thing that needs fixing. Luckily for me, one of the bedroom doors is also sagging, and then there is the door of the hot press, which we have been using as a tray for some time now. So when I start work, it will be well worthwhile. I must also remember to finish off the bookcase I started to make in our bedroom.

My wife keeps saying, kept saying, that if I did not remove the plank, she would throw it out the window. Or at least take the nails out of it, or hammer them in.

I am not sure yet how I will manage the roof. The lattice-wire has rusted away, and the crows keep throwing twigs down the chimney. So far they have all landed in the grate, which is handy for lighting the fires, but eventually some of them are bound to stick up there, and they will be able to build a nest and smoke us out.

Since I have no head for heights it is no use borrowing a ladder, so I suppose we will have to suffer the smoke in silence if my wife comes back.

There is plenty of paint in the garden shed, so I will be able to brighten everything up when I have fixed them. I hope the paint is ok, as it is a long time since I looked at it, and I hope the brushes are not stuck together or they will never fit into the jam-jar of turpentine.
I know I have a good hammer, because I borrowed one from our neighbour last year and my wife never gave it back. There should be plenty of nails too, as there are lots of old planks lying around.

I might have to go into town to buy screws, or even paint brushes, and I am a bit worried in case I am robbed while I am not here.

Maybe I will be able to jam the front door shut from inside with planks, to stop anybody getting in, and then climb out one of the front windows.

One of the upstairs windows would be better, because of burglars, but I have no head for heights, and besides, I do not have a ladder.

If I close the front door behind me it will look to a burglar as though he can’t get in, but I am not too happy about the whole idea, because the front windows sometimes stick. They need fixing. I would not like the window to stick when I was trying to get back in, because then I might have to break in the front door, and be as bad as the postman. What really worries me, even if I get back in the window, is something I read in the newspaper.

A man in New York forgot his key and when he was halfway in the window a policeman came along and shot him in the leg.

The policeman said he warned him first, but the man did not hear because his head was under the curtains.

The police in this country do not have guns, but sometimes they have Alsatians, and I do not know which I prefer.

You can see now just how much trouble I will go to, just to get my wife back. Not only that. When everything is fixed, I will make up a sign saying ‘WELCOME HOME’ and I will stick it to the front door. With Sellotape. Then I will send her a note at her sister’s, because their phone is not working. I do hope she comes back home, because I miss her a lot, and there is not much point in fixing things if it only for yourself.

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