John Pilgrim: My grand design is to sit back and watch

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I HAVE become interested in watching Grand Designs on TV. Mainly, I think, because these days I am not able to engage in grand do-it-yourself projects and I like watching other people have a go.

I also enjoy watching the “get the house decorated, knock down the walls and get it all furnished in two days” type shows but in the main I enjoy Grand Designs because it really does show what you can do if you set your mind to it.

I am proud of my own do-it-yourself record over the years so I don’t get too despondent about not being able get cracking on any new projects these days.

I suppose my first effort at decorating could have gone better. I reckon that I was about 13 or 14 at the time and I was living with my sister June and her husband Joe in their brand new house.

Sitting in my room one evening writing a letter (with a real old fashioned fountain pen) I gave the pen a shake to free the nib of some congealed ink and succeeded in spraying the wall a rather pleasant shade of blue.

I decided that I could fix the wall without bothering June and Joe so I set about purchasing some white paint and getting a paint brush from the garage.

Whilst attempting to open the paint tin with my penknife I managed to cut my hand and the rather pleasant blue on the wall was joined by a none too pleasant red!

One way and another when I comes to do it yourself I have many years experience of going things right and very wrong.

I did drill through an electric cable in the wall and lived to tell the tale, I have grovelled around in a sewer to unblock the pipes and I stripped a ceiling with a lining paper steamer (all the rubbish runs down your arms and into your shoes).

Many milestones in my life are best remembered through my do-it-yourself projects but I have to admit that I recently failed at one. I promised the editor of this esteemed newspaper that I would make an apple crumble for the staff but haven’t got round to yet!

PS But it doesn’t mean I won’t (sometime...)!