J-P Wooding: Sometimes it’s best to do it yourself

Sometimes it's more satisfying to do it yourself, says J-P
Sometimes it's more satisfying to do it yourself, says J-P

Guides and instructions on DIY work always assume one thing; that everything will pan out perfectly in the order the guide suggests.

I have learned that this, for the majority of the time, simply doesn’t happen.

As a consequence I am reminded once more that there is a reason many of us pay professionals to do the job for us.

On the flip side of this, the current “project” I’m working on during my days off has had its obstacles but by overcoming these and hopefully succeeding in my task, I shall gain a great level of satisfaction; something that can’t be bought.

The majority of the fencing surrounding our garden has seen better days and after obtaining some quotes for the work I decided to look into what was involved should I choose to take it on.

I sought advice from some friends and consulted a few guides on the internet and it seemed straightforward.

Biting the bullet and calculating that I could do the job for considerably less than a professional would quote, I ordered the goods. Once it all arrived and I transferred it all to the garden I set about digging out the old concrete bases.

That’s where the first problem came, in the form of a fence post stake almost totally concreted in.

Failing to lever it up, which most guides suggest is a straightforward job to do of course, a good friend loaned me an air breaker and transformer (not the robot type) and I attacked the obstinate annoyance with gusto.

So much gusto that I managed to lodge it chisel-deep in the grey behemoth!

The guide, yet again, didn’t tell me how to remove it, so brute force took over.

Straining every sinew and surely pulling harder than the gravitational tug of a black hole, the tool which wasn’t mine-and-I-really-didn’t-want-to-break came free.

Measuring, levelling and setting the posts in fresh concrete, I began to install the new panels one-by-one.

Suffice to say they are still up almost a week later, with no signs yet of collapsing. I’m still working on the bottom section of the garden but thankfully haven’t needed to use the breaker again.

What I’ve learned most during this task more than I’ve learned doing other DIY jobs, is that the only way to get around these sorts of problems is to experience them.

Books and guides are great, but they assume that everything prior to you starting is correct and as should be; quite often this isn’t the case.

By doing the job myself, I’ve found that I’ve gained confidence and immense satisfaction that I’ve done it – and of course I’ve kept a fair few notes in my wallet!

Read more from J-P here.