I am still in Yorkshire, up early to write this blog. I couldn’t sleep as I had seen a bit of blue sky through the crack in the curtains and we are going to drive up to Malham in the Dales today for a bit of walking. After 4 days of pretty patchy weather, it looks like we might manage today without rain and a fair bit of sunshine. The Yorkshire Dales are probably my favourite place when the weather is good – which is not very often. Perhaps the lack of good weather makes it all the more special when it is sunny. I’ll take some pictures.
Over the last couple of days I have been busy locating a leak from my Mum’s dishwasher. It actually turned out that the dishwasher was fine but waste pipe from the neighbouring washing machine had been badly fitted so that the dishwasher couldn’t drain properly. Anyway, once the problem was located I was able to fix it easily – eventually using a hose-clip which Dad had dug out from his underground Aladdins cave*. I am pretty confident that the repair will hold well and Mum’s kitchen floor will now stay dry, although my repair was a bit of a bodge.
I like the word “bodge” but I can’t think of a direct translation for it in German. There’s probably a good reason for this. The German’s don’t go in for bodging – they think that if a job is worth doing, it’s worth doing properly. I think there are degrees of bodging. There is the job which is just done badly and then covered up (like the Curry’s installation of my Mum’s washing machine). That is a bad bodge. But you can also have a good bodge – which will get the job done safely and effectively but might not be the prettiest solution. I like to think of it as an efficient use of the not quite perfect materials at hand. My Dad’s an expert at the good bodge (sometimes known as the classic bodge). It shows some engineering ingenuity and a good bodge is very satisfying when it works. At least for an Englishman.
In Germany, we wouldn’t stand for it. There are so many excellent D.I.Y. stores that you can always find exactly the right part for the job. You won’t find wobbly doors or windows that don’t fit. The bathrooms are all tiled so there are no mildewy corners. Everything seems to be much more heavy-duty. The doors are heavy, but they fit. The plumbing, the boilers, the water pressure are all a notch up on what I was used to from England. There’s just a feeling of everything having been done “properly” – even if a lot of people have done it themselves. I am told that Germany is the D.I.Y. capital of the world, and no job is really too big for the average Dad (or Mum) to take on. Tiling the bathroom? No problem. Move a wall in the living room? No problem – even if that means bashing the old one out, constructing a new wall, plastering it and painting it. Any sort of normal D.I.Y. (putting up shelves, screwing together IKEA stuff) is considered child’s play.
Germany really is a nation of builders and engineers. It’s not that they take particular pride in doing something absolutely right, it’s more that they’d be ashamed not to. This does mean that some of my classic bodges don’t get the respect I believe they deserve but it also means that our house (built by somebody else) has a nice solid feel to it.
* Dad’s garage/cellar contains several vintage motorcycles and thousands of tools and bits which “may come in useful” at some stage. They often do!