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5:37pm on Monday, 18th April, 2011:



I was planning to spend today working on the final piece of external examining I have to do before the next batch of papers to read arrive in May. However, when my father-in-law showed up with a pickaxe, I knew that was not going to happen...

My wife wants to replace the door between the kitchen and the utility room. The utility room is an extension, built onto the house before we bought it. The kitchen door used to be a door to the outside, and as a result came with a doorstep. The height of the doorstep meant the door itself had to be shortened by an inch or so. That means either the new door would have to be shortened so as to fit the gap, or the doorstep had to go. Given that we didn't want a doorstep between two interior rooms, removal of the doorstep was the obvious course of action to take.


Well I don't know what kind of wood that doorstep was made of, but it could have survived a meteor strike. Also, the whole house seems to have been constructed about it. When my father-in-law tried to remove it last time he was here, he found it too hard to saw and it made the drill smoke. That's why this time he came armed with a pickaxe.

After about four and a half hours, we got it out. Drilling and chiselling gave us enough room to get the pickaxe under it (it was about three inches thick) and more drilling separated the middle section from the edges where it went under the door jamb, and then we did more drilling to create a fault line. Jumping up and down on the pickaxe head finally got a bit out after three hours, then we had lunch. After lunch, we sawed off the bottom of the door jamb and chiselled out the rest of the doorstep (which was held onto the wall by a two-inch nail in possession of a cross-shaped cross-section. That took another hour and a half.

Afterwards, I went to Colchester to pick up a prescription for some statins, so the physical work I'd just done wouldn't kill me.

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Copyright © 2011 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).