Here are my DIY tips… don’t expect any more soon…

DIY is not necessarily my forte. This is partly down to my long-held belief in LYWDIH (Let Your Wife Do It Herself).

This either makes me a feminist or a lazy man and I couldn’t possibly comment. Let’s just say that I am good at talking about doing things; my wife is better at the doing part.

Occasionally we unite and get the job done, with me acting as builder’s mate.

Here, then, are my tips for putting up shelves in the study.

First, buy a wooden bed 30 odd years before you intend to put up those shelves. Sleep on this for ages, then replace with a larger bed and store the wooden slats and stumps beneath for many more years. They might come in handy one day, while also providing a home for the under-bed dust collection.

We bought that wooden bed in the mid-1980s for our flat in south east London. The shop is still there in Hackney; the flat is still there in Lewisham too and worth a sight more than our house in York (but that’s another story).

At the time, Litvintoff & Fawcett (“making quality beds since 1979”) swore you could take any of their beds home in your own car. Luckily, I’d moved on from the MG Midget, as that might have strained their theory, to an MG Metro.

We drove to the East End and returned with the bed on and in the little black car. Mattress strapped to the roof, wooden slats and struts placed at an angle from back to front, with my wife cowering behind the passenger seat where she normally sat. A good bed, but eventually we wanted a larger one.

The study is my haunt for writing or working from home. Or writing and not working much in my present under-employed condition. Although previously tidied up and decorated, it had become a dumping ground, dominated by a Futon sofa bed we never used. That sofa bed was donated to our daughter’s friend, unlocking the mess and giving my wife the idea for her studio at one end of the room.

Yesterday we cut up the old bed and rested the planks on metal brackets made by a firm found on eBay.

We had a few wobbles along the way, but by the afternoon we had two new shelves fashioned from our old bed. A shorter shelf above the wordy desk; a longer shelf above the arty table.

Already there are small splashes of paint on the wall above her desk; there are no word splashes above my desk, although you should see the inside of my head.

Fearing eviction from this pleasant new space, I further claim squatter’s rights with two guitars and an amplifier.

When we moved to this large garden with a smallish house attached, it had three bedrooms and we had three more or less grown-up offspring still at home. We slept in the front room until we could afford to have a bedroom put in the attic. For a short while, our eldest son had what is now the study. If memory serves, he slept on the bed that has now been turned into shelves.

So, there you have it. DIY tips from Man on Ledge. Don’t expect any more soon.

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