I’m not good at Christmas presents. (To be honest, I’m not good at Christmas.) So, when I arrived at my elderly mother’s house earlier in the week and was told a curtain rail bracket had broken, it seemed that fixing it was something practical I could do in lieu of a gift. Not only that, but since I look for poetry in domestic life, maybe it’d be inspirational.
On closer inspection, it became clear that “fixing” would entail the purchase and fitting of an entire new rail. Part of the packaging is displayed to the right.
It says that it’s “suitable for heavyweight curtains”; it doesn’t say it’s suitable for lightweight DIY-ers.
It claims to be “quick and easy to fix to wall or ceiling”. But there’s no mention of the hour or more it would take to remove the old rail, which was fixed to the ceiling by spring wing toggle bolts. (48 hours later, I am beginning to get the feeling back in my fingertips. Perhaps tomorrow I’ll have got back my sense of humour and be able to see the poetry in that delightful name.)
The old rail measured in at 260cm, so, since standard lengths seem to be multiples of 25cm, I found myself walking from one end of town to the other with a nine-foot curtain rail flexing in the wind. That’s certainly an image, but whether it counts as poetry is another matter.
The new rail promised to be “easily trimmed, curved to shape, or joined”. After checking my mother’s toolbox, I decided buying a new junior hacksaw would be easier than changing the rusty blade on the old one. I got one, together with the SWTBs, at the top of the hill and then went about my other errands before heading to the far end of town to get the rail itself. It was only as I waited for the bus that I realised I’d just been to two banks and to the Post Office with a hacksaw and spare blades in my handbag.
At the bus stop, there were spiders’ webs up in the rafters. Well, there were until I came along with the curtain rail. While I was waiting, I read the packaging and discovered that it included gliders and end stops, which made it sound rather like a poem in its own right.
So far, in terms of inspiration, though, I haven’t managed to get much farther than trying to rhyme “screwdriver” and “McGyver”. But I have actually fitted the rail, so we can at least draw the curtains to mark the end of an era, whether or not tomorrow brings the end of the world.