Not quite five minute jobs


Mum used to ask my old man to do various jobs around the house and garden. If memory serves, the jobs took a while to start. Either because they were tedious and a positive frame of mind was needed or they were epic jobs that required careful planning. Although I was probably heading out on my bike with Zen The Wonder Dog so didn’t pay much attention, I seem to remember some frustration and the statement something like, “come on it will only take five minutes”. So the term Five Minute Job was born. Everything became a “five minute job”. Raking the leaves = five minute job. Laying paving and building a three metre high fence around the entire house = five minute job. Peace, equality and prosperity in the Middle East = five minute job.

Recently we have been doing some smaller “five minute jobs” which although seem insignificant viewed in isolation, when you step back and look at the jigsaw puzzle, each little piece added improves the picture.

One thing that has been annoying me is the side access to the garden. A lockable gate with a little bullring handle which although charming in a slightly rusty and rustic way, I always seem to miss grabbing it when the wind blows and I’m trying desperately to close the gate before inquisitive dogs leap out into the road. Inspired by Finnish forest toilet door handles the gate now has a chunky piece of oak which feels great to use – and I never miss! The little iron bullring has been repositioned to the top of the gate and has been given a new role. It is now a latch to hold the gate closed in non-lock mode for those short trips to the barn across the lane.


This one’s been in the planning for some time and will have three stages. Stage one: a new doggy kennel! We have plenty of leftover stones (although in Portugal I think they actually reproduce), and a big pile of old terracotta tiles with lichen all over them just crying out to be re-used. A proper little house that will be sympathetic to the central Portuguese vernacular. Stage two and three will be attached to the side of the kennel. A bench and a raised herb garden high enough to avoid the taste and heady aroma of boy-dog spray ending up in our dinner.

So next visitors, you can see the dogs take priority and besides, rendering the annex is not quite a five minute job.





4 responses »

  1. I well remember being given a couple of five minute jobs at Farnham – installing a complete central heating system and stripping out and installing a new kitchen. Sue will tell you that they also required considerable planning and execution! However, sometimes as much satisfaction can be had in fitting a very attractive and functional grab-handle. It looks so ‘David’. Can’t wait to see the doggy house – everybody knows it will be superb.

  2. One thing to keep in mind is that if you leave an eyesore long enough, it may become “quaint” or “homely” or “a conversation piece”. Having said that, if you go around making magnificent door handles (with rustic latch) and laying concrete, people will start thinking “well, if he can do that, he can have a go at ….” Yesterday we had a four-year-old visitor who asked Jan “when is Steve going to finish this path?” Guess what I’m doing today. Seriously though, that is a great door handle; I love the non-slip grip.

  3. Hehe he……actually I think it was a 15 minute job,how time flies & possibly my memory!!
    Love the rustic door latch,don’t worry about the rendering….I have lots of old clothes waiting to be used for a 5- 15 min. Job.

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