Man versus nature

Battle of the Cranbrook carport — the annals of a legendary do-it-yourself project.

Peter Warland

“I am always doing what I can in order to learn how to do it.” Pablo Picasso

‘Growing old is no more than a bad habit that a busy man has no time to form,’ I hear, so I’ll probably not grow old; I’ve been so busy that I would never be able to find time to go to lucrative work again.

Last year as I watched the car-port on my house disintegrating at an alarming speed I realized that I would have to do something about the situation before I too disintegrated; I called in the contractors. They did a creditable job until I shut down for winter. I called them back again this spring and they made a good headway but, to my alarm, so was the assault on my diminishing bank account.

Then, when my electric drill/screw-driver died, I had to buy a new one and the shock of the price forced me to make up my mind: I’d do the rest of the car-port job myself.

I hauled out my ancient electric saw, an assortment of tools, some of which date back to my father-in law, who died and left them to me sixty years ago, a new socket/ratchet set that I had been forced to buy in order to keep my lawn mower going, many ancient drill bits, some apparently broken, a set square and level in order to keep me on the straight and narrow, and off I went. Fools rush in etc etc.

So far nobody has actually sneered. In fact my neighbours dropped by daily the way crowds do at the site of a nasty accident. Sometimes they offered useful suggestions, some of them have genuinely helped; the others I stored in my mental ‘spam’ account.

To start with lumber was a problem. When the two-by-fours were delivered, I had to be careful. If a stack was disturbed, I had to leap back with alacrity or I’d be engulfed. There were times when I felt like the old Greek Heracles wrestling with the Hydra, the many headed snake of legend. Very quickly I learned to nail the bits down before they wriggled off into the undergrowth of my garden. Some pieces, I seem to recall, were so green that they lay squirmed themselves into pretzels or sprouted new shoots: I could tell some pieces were spruce by the needles they grew.

Adjusting, I rooted around my place and came up with some very old lengths of two-by-four. They may have been twenty or more years old and full of nail holes, but they lay straight and behaved themselves. I think we learned to respect each other.

My main task was the construction of the railings over the car-port and round the side of the house. I built new uprights, painted them basic black, and bolted them on. If they had been soldiers on parade, the sergeant major would have had a screaming fit. I had to get them into line with brute force and some ingenuity.

At corners, I bolted a post on each side but, when it came to making a pair stand together, they disagreed like sparring politicians. After trying nails, screws and clamps, I threw a rope around them and applied a tourniquet, the way we should treat politicians; reluctantly, they came together.

When it came to selecting colours for the new construction I almost panicked. My dearly beloved was the artist and I usually left colour selection to her. But I was alone this time and had all but had decided that a basic black would be ideal for the whole kit and caboodle when I leaned back and noted the colour of our metal roof. I checked with the family and went ahead. A local paint store matched the colour perfectly: black and green.

I think that my neighbours are expecting some sort of party when I’ve completed the job but they’re S.O.L. Personally, I shall be burning the blood-soaked, paint-stained, sweat-stinking clothes I’ve been wearing all summer then heading for the hills before anything else crops up.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

(Black Press file photo)
RCMP seeking driver of burnt out car found on HaHa Creek Road

Cranbrook RCMP are looking for the driver of a vehicle that was found on fire Monday

Item no 22, De-Kieviet Kindergarten class - Highlands, Starting Bid: $20
Christmas Village 2020 school auction items

The annual Christmas Village has gone virtual, here are the auction items from local schools

Cranbrook City Hall.
City eyes new dispute resolution system for bylaw infractions

The City of Cranbrook is eyeing a new procedure to resolve disputes,… Continue reading

A major water main repair is currently underway near Wildstone, which will be ongoing for the next two days.
Major repairs underway for water main near Wildstone

Major repairs on a break in the water main feeding Wildstone and… Continue reading

Starting in January of 2021, the RDEK will be removing yellow bins designated for glass collections. East Kootenay residents will be able to recycle their glass at one of the many Recycle BC depots across the region. (RDEK file)
Changes coming to RDEK glass recycling program

Starting in January 2021, glass will no longer be collected through the yellow bin program

The bids for the 2020 Christmas Village are open as of noon on Thursday, November 26. Please scroll through this album to see auction items available for bidding.
Christmas Village 2020 auction items

The Christmas Village has gone virtual, here are all the details

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

Christy Jordan-Fenton is the co-author of the book Fatty Legs, which has been mentioned amid the controversy of an Abbotsford school assignment on residential schools.
Fatty Legs co-author responds to Abbotsford class assignment on residential schools

Children’s book mentioned amid controversy at W. A. Fraser Middle School

Kootenay East MLA Tom Shypitka takes over as energy and mines critic for the B.C. Liberal opposition. Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick (right) moves from health critic to assistant deputy speaker. (Hansard TV)
B.C. Liberals pick critics to take on Horgan’s NDP majority

Interim leader Shirley Bond takes seniors, long-term care

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland listens to a question from a reporter on the phone during a news conference in Ottawa, Monday, Nov. 30, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Spending too little worse than spending too much, Freeland says as Canada’s deficit tops $381B

‘The risk of providing too little support now outweighs that of providing too much’

Still from a video surveillance camera of a man alleged to have stolen from several people at knife-point in Chilliwack (Rosedale) early on Nov. 28, 2020. (Facebook)
B.C. man defends his family against intruder, saves neighbour while wielding hockey stick

RCMP looking for footage that captures violent crime spree in Chilliwack

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Jim Neufeld, 55, was last seen leaving his home in Penticton Jan. 21, 2009. (RCMP photo)
Human remains found off U.S. coast in 2009 identified as Penticton man

Jim Neufeld, 55, was last seen leaving his home in Penticton Jan. 21, 2009

Most Read