A screw loose in the DIY stakes

AS I sat uncomfortably on the kitchen floor laboriously removing the small screws holding a back plate on our troublesome tumble dryer, my mind wandered away to a couple of things I had read lately.

The dryer had been playing up and now persisted in only blowing cold air which is not much good for getting clothes dry. In fact, it is useless, which I discovered after having the machine on for an age and found the goods inside were just as wet as when they went in.

This shouldn’t take long to sort out, I thought, remembering that my dear old dad, who was a whizz with anything mechanical, would have had it fixed within a trice in his day.

Removing the back plate (and getting myself covered in dust in the process), I peered at the contraption fixed to the back which consisted of a set of coiled wires between a pair of flimsy metal plates. To these were connected electrical wiring which disappeared into the bowels of the machine.

I managed to ascertain that one of the coiled wires was broken. But how would one replace it?

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That’s when I began thinking that the tumble dryer had also been making an occasional screeching noise in the last few months and it was at least seven years old so maybe it was time to dispatch it to the place where white goods go when they come to the end of the lives.

Anyway, a shiny new one would look good in its place.

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I would not describe myself as an enthusiastic DIYer but I would not admit to being useless at it. After all, I put up a curtain pole three years ago and the other day I got round to finally making it level following the detachment of one side from the wall.

What surprised me to read was that women are now regarded as the masters of technology in the modern home.

They are no longer technophobic, a study has concluded. They can now operate on average 26 different gadgets, compared to just 16 which their male counterparts can manage.

The list of things women can confidently work includes hair dryer and hair straighteners which men don’t need to know how to operate but that it just a little quibble.

What I did find astonishing was the claim that 68 per cent of men – that’s more than two-thirds of us – can’t work a washing machine. I know all about loading and unloading such an apparatus – I have a bad back to prove it.

Some 43 per cent of men can’t operate a central heating thermostat (well, it is pretty tricky) and apparently 38 per cent of men can’t operate a Sky+ planner which I doubt as the channel’s success has been built on attracting sports fans (mostly men, of course, because the ladies are busy in the kitchen operating all those gadgets).

The other thing I read was James Moy, the Top Gear presenter, claiming that men had lost their traditional skills and had no idea how to put up a shelf or wire a plug. I never much liked him anyway.

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