House Renovation and DIY.

In 1978 Judy and I bought our first house, in Steven's Crescent, Totterdown, Bristol. We hired an Irish builder to put in the RSJ supporting the whole house when I knocked the two downstairs rooms into one. He turned up with a wooden beam, saying that it would serve fine. The next morning I noticed that our bedroom floor was about two inches below the skirting board, and the beam had a major bow in it. Put the Acro props back, jacked the house up and hired another builder.

One of the reasons for usually always doing the job myself was a. I couldn't afford to pay anyone and b. I'd often end up re-doing their work anyway. I learned how to do electrics from a book and wired up a number of houses for other people. I love the satisfaction of making a complex junction box with two-way switches work first time. After a lifetime of joinery, bricklaying, kitchen fitting, wiring, decorating and all-round renovation, the only things I don't touch any more are finish plastering and plumbing. The first is an art, the second is an invitation to disaster.

We moved to London in 1982 and bought a crumbling Victorian semi in Holloway - it's basically Mr Pooter's house from "Diary of a Nobody". It had a sitting tenant who was taken into care so we inherited a basement flat - which needed gutting. We're still here and I'm still working on it - 28 years later!

Building my office/music room

Building the garden wall.

 Building the wet room.