The countdown to Christmas

Deck_gardenDare I say that at the time of writing this there are less than 12 weeks until Christmas. I won’t bother calculating the days, but you get it? The shops have already started flogging their Christmas decorations and it won’t be long before the big items purchased as presents will be picked up and ‘hidden’ in cupboards and sheds across the country, with the expectation that the rest of Christmas Day won’t be spent with a bag of allen keys and a set of bad instructions trying to put the damn thing together – it will have already been assembled, probably by me.

At this time of year, on top of keeping my regular clients happy and getting the bigger paying commercial call outs, there are the requests to put together cubby houses, flat packed outdoor and indoor furniture, patching, painting and paving, and lots of quotes to get done on small jobs that I may or may not get. It’s that time of year when everyone wants their renovations and garden maintenance “done by Christmas”. That includes assembling stuff, patching, painting, paving, cleaning gutters, renovating decks, pruning and mulching, and the like. It’s great to make hay while the sun shines (and boy, does it shine), but by Christmas Day I feel like I’ve earned that beer we left out for Santa. In fact, I’ve played Santa several times over by then.

If you think you might have a list of things you want done by Christmas, in all seriousness, please allow some time for us to get back to you, quote, and then get the job done. It also helps if you have a list of things for me to quote on or do while I’m there, because it gets harder to come back to a job the closer we get to Christmas. Tradies across the nation are collectively quaking at the sound of that “done by Christmas” line dropped into just about every domestic enquiry from here on in. I get it in on the home front as well! You know that container conversion? Christmas has been the deadline for the past year…I keep saying she has to specify just what year that is to be.

Now, if only I can slow down time between now and December 25, there might be a chance of fitting it all in – even the container. I’m already looking forward to that beer.


If you’re working on getting your deck ready over summer and you want to have a crack at it yourself, keep in mind that if your deck has a polyurethane finish you’ll have to strip it right back. When it comes time to recoat, think about using an oil finish a it’ll be much easier to maintain going forward. Every finish has a life span and while some polyurethane products might say they’ll last four years, you then have to completely remove it to start again. Decking oil doesn’t last as long (12-18 months), but it won’t leave any kind of surface that can peel or lift. So, when you come to renovate your deck it’s a simple matter of a quick clean and a new oil coat.


Spring time blues

Spring budsI’m borrowing a line from Gerard Manley Hopkins here:

“Nothing is so beautiful as Spring – When weeds, in wheels, shoot long and lovely and lush…”

And don’t they get away after only a few millimetres of rain? We could do with a lot more rain at this stage, but there seems to be just enough to get the weeds growing.

It’s a busy time as everyone seems to decide at once that they want things cleaned up for the warmer months ahead (and the clock is ticking down to Christmas) – everything from garden clean-ups to small renovations.

The key to making the spring clean not quite so big a job for me or you, is to do things more regularly. A tough gig when you’re busy and not always fun, but it certainly saves time and money when the weather warms up.

Anyone in trades will probably be finding that the work becomes more constant from here on in as everyone wants their job done today…or at the latest, tomorrow. Patience is a virtue, or so my mother told me, but it doesn’t always wear so well when talking with potential clients.

So, if you’re looking to do a spring clean at your place – be it oiling the deck, a fresh coat of paint, a garden tidy up or changing batteries in your smoke detectors –  think about what you can do and then give me a ring about the rest. Get a list happening of all the things you want done and prioritise it. And if I can’t do it, I’m always happy to give you some idea of who might.

In the meantime, enjoy the warmer days and have a word to that person of influence about sending down some decent rain before summer gets here.

The Handyman’s 12 Days of Christmas

Cameron the HandymanOn the first day of Christmas, the Handyman said to me,

“Toilet’s blocked again – you won’t be using it to even pee!”

On the second day of Christmas, the Handyman said to me,

”There’s still no water in the toilet, the bathroom light has shorted and you’ll have to use a candle to see.”

On the third day of Christmas, the Handyman said to me,

“The front gate is off its hinges, the dogs are down the street and I’m looking like I’ll be a busy little B@*#%!@*.”

On the fourth day of Christmas, the Handyman said to me,

“I hear four birds are calling in, three of them are artists, two own cats and one of them has my key.”

On the fifth day of Christmas, the Handyman said to me,

“Fair dinkum, doesn’t anyone make outdoor furniture that isn’t put together with Chinese instructions and an Allen key?”

On the sixth day of Christmas, the Handyman said to me,

”I saw six geese a-laying on the farm I was working to lay five metres of paving for a new outdoor area, before Christmas Eve.”

On the seventh day of Christmas, the Handyman said to me,

“Struth, I was offered seven swimming swans, six laying geese, five golden chooks, four calling birds in exchange for my Handyman fee!”

On the eighth day of Christmas, the Handyman said to me,

”I made a maid happy with my drilling and I told her I’d fix that leaky tap tomorra before it’s time for tea.”

On the ninth day of Christmas, the Handyman to me,

“I had nine ladies dancing in delight about the leaky tap I fixed for the grateful maid…turns out they’re all widows and have lots of jobs for me to come and see!”

On the tenth day of Christmas, the Handyman said to me,

Why are there ten lords a-leaping naked on our front lawn?” To which I replied, “If you can have nine ladies dancing, I’ll go a couple better…you obviously didn’t see the one hiding behind the tree?”

On the eleventh day of Christmas, the Handyman said to me,

“It’s the eleventh hour, we’ve had too much Christmas cheer – your eleven naked lords a-leaping need to go home so I’m ready for my nine dancing ladies who in the morning will be needing me.”

On the twelfth day of Christmas, the Handyman said to me,

“There are twelve drummers drumming in my head, after eleven beers drunk ten hours ago on the job for the nine dancing ladies, accompanied by the happy maid and those pesky eleven leaping lords. Shut up those bloomin’ seven swimming swans, six laying geese, five golden chooks, four calling birds and the dogs barking down the street.”

Merry Christmas! Get in early with those jobs before the Christmas cheer kicks in!

Written by the Handyman’s marketing staff over a few drinks…