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RAB MCNEIL: The trouble with my drawers…

Rab's drawers - his kitchen drawers - are causing him endless grief.
Rab's drawers - his kitchen drawers - are causing him endless grief.

There’s a void in my life. Well, not in my life, in my kitchen unit. Easy to get these two mixed up (both are covered in mess).

The void is caused by a broken drawer. The space where the drawer is meant to go has remained just that – a space where the drawer is meant to go – for two months now.

This old drawer has been the bane of my life since moving here. I thought the kitchen unit not too dated, but friends say it’s ancient.

Still, that’s fashion not function. No need for an old drawer to go doolally.

This swine of a drawer

But this one has. When it first started breaking under the strain of  a few forks and knives, I repaired it repeatedly.

But these were Rab repairs, where you stand back, feeling proud of your work. And, a week later, it all collapses again.

Eventually, this swine of a drawer looked done for good.

So I decided to reconstruct it – from bits of scrap wood in the shed. In a surprise development, this ended up a right boorach that didn’t fit, so I decided to send off for a replacement drawer.

Get a man in? Me?

You say: “Why didn’t you get a proper man in?” Unhand me, madam!

You know the drill: to save money, I spend money trying to do it myself before throwing in the towel and paying a man to do it.

Besides, there are few men round here – few tradesmen, that is – and it’d likely be next Christmas before any would come.

Because of exactitude needed in sizing, drawers aren’t easy to buy online.

But I found one that seemed to fit the bill, until I got to the postage: nearly 40 quid to the isles. When the postage is dearer than the item, that’s me out.

The saga continued

Then I found another, a steel one, to which you’d attach your old drawer front. So I bought it, and hell’s bells … I know it’s de rigueur these days for instructions to be minimal and unhelpful, but these were something else.

It’s not as if the item had come from China or somewhere. It was from England.

But the instructions were not only ungrammatical, with no punctuation, and laid out in the wrong columns, they just didn’t make sense. It was impossible to read them.

Eventually, from the picture on the box, I managed to put it together, having noticed that – unusually – the runners went along the top rather than the bottom.

So, I’d to take off the old runners I was hoping to re-use. And now I cannot get this job finished.

Nothing on YouTube to help

There’s nothing on YouTube for such drawers, and I can’t work out the measurements, which obviously have to be correct to the millimetre for the drawer to slot in.

Then I hurt myself on something and have had to delay the final botch-up.

So, the place where the drawer is meant to go still sits there like a black hole in the universe of my kitchen – as it’s done for ages.

Indeed, I’ve started to entertain morbid thoughts of lying on my deathbed many years hence shouting manically, to the bafflement of nurses: “The drawer! The drawer! I must fix the drawer!”

Pretty poor as famous last words go.

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