I’m back and I’d rather hang myself than another picture


Did I persuade my wife to let me help us move? The last 6 weeks I have neither written this blog nor a sentence of my next novel… that I started in April!

My darling wife and indeed our marriage had survived five previous house moves during which for one reason or another I was unable to be there.

I decided this time things would be different but should have heeded the look of foreboding on my wife’s face.

Patience is something I have always interpreted as not doing something now. Well, it isn’t when it comes to moving. Patience is a basic ingredient. Rather than methodically unpack one box at a time if I decide I need something I open twenty looking for it. I then get frustrated and need to lie down… leaving a huge mess.

As you might imagine this can cause industrial scale irritation in my wife. So banished from unpacking duties I become itching to put up every picture everywhere, I set about hanging them.

Here’s what my bruised ego and body have learnt.

1.  Molly screws, which expand as if they were pregnant and are meant to allow you to secure things to plasterboard/gypsum or light walls to hang things from… are actually the devils fingers that are more likely to flip you the bird than be of any use.

2.  Those white hooks with tiny masonry nails that are meant to make drilling holes a thing of the past, well they don’t work either. They have the durability and dependability of Liz Truss’ previous Tory government. Firstly, the hooks themselves crack at the slightest pressure. Secondly, after a few weeks hanging something up, each hook can suddenly say:

“Nah, had enough of this…” and call time on staying put and instead jump out the wall.

3.  Electric screwdrivers are all very well until they shred cheap screw heads and leave you with a half drilled in screw with no way of removing it.

4.  White painted walls may look clean but they mark even by just looking at them.

5.  Parasols no matter how expensive or how heavy the base always blow over in a mild breeze and never last more than two years.

6.  The heaviest furniture always lives in the most difficult part of the house to reach.

7.  Super glue is never the answer, but double sided extra strong Gorilla tape is a gift from the Gods.

...and another thing

Anything flat packed… yes, you can self assemble, so long as you are an octopus and have the requisite number of hands.

As for the Mr. Bean type instructions (all visual – no verbal), they remind me of those 3D images that were so popular a decade or so ago. You have to stare at them for ages until a Eureka moment when the whole thing pulls into focus and the real shape is revealed. Sadly by then screws have been threaded, tempers shredded and I’m barely still wedded.

...and another thing

Malta is blessed with many things, but Catch 22 moments are the preserve of Government bureaucracy.

We all have identity cards, hugely useful if travelling within Schengen as you don’t need a passport. However, you have to notify them when changing your address. For some reason this simple change can sometimes take several months.

‘Fine,’ I say philosophically. ‘It is what is is… but we need to alert Malta Post to redirect our mail.

“Certainly sir, but first I need your ID card with the new address!”

...and another thing

Our French bulldogs are philosophical about a smaller garden and more stairs. At first they were very apprehensive but once they saw their bed, water bowls and Victorian refrigerator (tall iron chest) in which we keep all their dog food was safely installed, they chilled out.  They kept a wary eye on me alternating between hammering my fingers and masonry nails, but made no comment as to the placement of anything, even paintings of them!

Somehow, I think they have their priorities right.

Stay safe

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