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HANDY MAC: Old still gold

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Don discovers there is merit in the way we used to do some things

Dear Eskom, between your “load shedding”, aka “dirty, wet, cheap coal”, and Mrs Mac’s newfound enthusiasm to turn me into a real Handy Mac, I am going to have little time to write for you readers.

I can’t do much about Eskom, and Mrs Mac is even harder to deal with, but as the stresses of running a company mount in tough economic times, I am enjoying getting my hands dirty around the house. There is nothing more rewarding than fixing something yourself. Our kitchen door has been getting more and more difficult to close and lock, and action was demanded by the boss.

The first problem was that, through constant use, the hinges were a little loose and the screws were not sitting flush. An old-fashioned screwdriver was put to work and the hinges were re-secured. A small old-fashioned screwdriver was used to remove the lock. I found an old can of 3-in-1 oil to lubricate it. After all that hard work, I cheated by using a power sander to take 1mm off the bottom of the door.

Mrs Mac had reluctantly agree to act as assistant. I was not satisfied with the end result of the door and my trusty assistant suggested, politely, that when she was young – just the other day – she had often seen her father rubbing candle wax on edges that just needed that little bit of encouragement to close smoothly. I tried her trick and we now have a perfectly working back door. Often the old remedies still remain some of the best.

The economic climate is hurting contractors badly, with some of the big companies starting to slip off the grid. A warning to my fellow smaller and sub- contracting collegues: be careful who you work for and what you are signing, and remember that sometimes it is cheaper to go fishing than it is to work below cost just to keep going. Hard times demand tough decisions, but just be honest with your staff and clients until the upturn comes. No-one will give a liar or a fraud a second chance.

* If you have a question for Don, send it to or
SMS only to 0824463859. 


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