Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Not loo-seat-ing patience

I've admitted in the past that when it comes to DIY I'm very much a "find someone else who'll do it" kind of person.

It's not because I'm lazy (I'm not) or can't find the time (I can).

But rather it's down to my skills or lack thereof and because I am one of a (perhaps) rare breed - an unhandyman.

I'm neither proud nor embarrassed by it. I simply acknowledge my lack of dexterity and  frankly trying to "fix" something - anything - doesn't thrill me either.

All those Brico stores? Well, they just leave me cold.

Sometimes though, the job is, well...even to my eyes, not one that should be farmed out to the professional.

Changing a light bulb for example - the DIY equivalent perhaps of boiling an egg. I can do that.

Hanging a picture too, although my efforts are usually only moderately successful because whatever is going up on the wall usually hides a multitude of holes that weren't quite in the right place to begin with.

And changing the loo seat in the downstairs. bathroom.

Or so I thought before embarking on what almost turned into more of a farce with none of the  lavatorial humour for which we Brits are apparently renowned.

Now, without giving away too many personal details, and because I don't wish to offend the sensitivities of anyone reading this piece, let me just say that our loo seat comes in for a fair amount of use.

It's a household rule (one of the few, along with don't succumb to the temptation of feeding the cocker spaniels at the table in spite of their doe-eyes that seem to imply they haven't eaten for a fortnight) that the loo seat shall remain down at all times.

Yes "Every man, woman, boy and girl shall do whatever is necessary with their backside firmly and comfortably parked".

It's not a wussy thing - just...well practical and cleaner, although studies...yes there have been many...would argue that it's not necessarily more hygienic.

You can argue among yourselves as to the relative merits or not.

And, should you so wish, here are a few (one, two, three) online pieces you might like to read if you're really that interested in the "splashback" or "splatter" (there I've said it)"debate".

Anyway, back to the loo seat, which had, well...seen better days and was quite literally hanging on in there for dear such an extent that the "user" had to perform a delicate balancing act while going about his or"activities" (it ain't easy writing about this, believe me).

So it was out (or off) with the old and in (or on) with the new.

Instructions - well there weren't any written ones on the packaging of the new loo seat.

Just a diagram badly illustrating the sequence in which screws (x 2), washers (x 4) and nuts (x 2) should be fitted and on which side of the holes on both the loo seat and the base of the bowl.


Pause for thought.

In this day and age of course everything is on the Net. Even "Replacing a toilet seat".

So that's where I headed.

There were numerous videos available on YouTube telling me how simple a task it was and all I needed apparently was a screwdriver and a pair of pliers.

Problem. The former I have. The latter not.

Oh well, never mind. I would just have to improvise. After all, how difficult could it be?

What neither the inventors of such a humble (take your pick from Sir John Harrington, Thomas Crapper - seriously - Tom Bradley or choose someone else), nor today's manufacturers and certainly not those helpful handymen who post those "How to" videos (for idiots) could possibly have taken into account was the incapability of Summerton J. G. to follow even the most straightforward instructions.

It was almost as though...well, I was listening to a foreign language without understanding a single word as I attempted to remove the old seat by lying on my back with "expertise" that would make a contortionist proud.

The interminably long screws heading south (take a fumble around the back of your loo some time, you'll see what I mean) with the smallest of nuts that needed to be turned anti-clockwise (or was it clockwise?)

Eventually and amazingly without accompanying cussing, voilĂ ! As if by magic, I had completely removed the thing.

Stage one over, I came up for air, propping myself against the wall for a moment or two  as I tried to work out the order of screws (x 2), washers (x 4) and nuts (x 2) and their place in the grand scheme of future loo seat attached securely to bowl.

I thought I had it worked out in my head, but once I lay on my back, I was, of course, again totally disoriented.

I lost all sense of clockwise and anti-clockwise and seemed to be turning the nuts (and the screws) in both directions at the same time.

Somehow though I managed. I don't know how. But at one point the seat was firmly in place.

So, thank you kindly FIX IT Home Improvement Channel and all those others who unknowingly helped me out.

All right, so your videos only lasted an average of three or four minutes and I took the best part of 45 minutes.

But hey, the new seat doesn't wobble and it was a job, if not well or efficiently carried out, at least now done.

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