Dom Joly: The odds of me doing some DIY? About 100-1


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The Independent Online

I'm not much of a gambling man but, given a tip, I will occasionally have a punt. This I did on Jimmy Nesbitt's horse, Riverside Theatre, at the Cheltenham Festival. I joined an online betting site that offered to match your first bet for free. This was too good to pass up and the bet was duly laid.

I listened to the race in a car, stuck in traffic on the Embankment. The stress of the jam eased when Riverside Theatre won by a nose and I was in the money. Now, a proper gambler would have taken the winnings and put them on another horse. Indeed, the source that tipped Riverside Theatre gave me another one for the following day. I was briefly tempted, but in the end I withdrew my winnings and decided to buy myself a present.

Recently, when I was in Hiroshima, I spent a very happy couple of days pottering about on an e-bike. This is a bicycle that has a tiny battery that assists you when things get a bit tough. You can still use the thing as an ordinary bicycle; it just avoids you having to do any work on nasty things like hills. "It's a lazy bastard's bike," was the opinion of a proper cycling friend, and I couldn't really disagree with his sentiment.

Unfortunately, before I could become a fully fledged lazy bastard there was an obstacle. A very disgruntled postman turned up at my door, huffing and puffing while carrying an enormous box. I groaned, as I knew what this meant. I was going to have to build the bloody bike. I am the world's most impractical man and find it hard to make a paper plane, let alone build an electric bike. Personally, I think it should be illegal to sell you something without making it very clear that what you are buying is not the lovely, finished item displayed in the photograph but rather the same thing broken up into 50 different pieces.

I opened the box and stared at the engineering puzzle I'd been kindly set by the retailer. Maybe some people enjoy this kind of thing. Maybe they love the smell of grease and oil and the feeling of accomplishment when they stand before the finished product. I don't. So I was left with two options.

One is to contact a company that sends someone out to assemble these kinds of things for idiots like me. Not only does this service cost me quite a lot of extra money, but I also have to put up with a rather smug man arriving at my house and humiliating me in front of my family. They always feign surprise at being called out for something so simple. They then proceed to build the object in a ridiculously fast time while laughing and winking at my wife about how she needs to get herself a "real man".

I will no longer allow these people into my house to make fun of my manhood. This leaves me with a second and even less appealing option.

My wife is actually a very practical woman. Whether this has been forced upon her by my uselessness or is simply something that she has been blessed with from birth, I know not. Suffice to say that she does most of the "man" jobs around the house and would probably be very capable of building my e-bike. The problem is that whenever I ask her to do something like this, she agrees but then taunts me by telling me that she will "get round to it". I know that she is doing this because she has power over me and is enjoying my discomfort. I also know that if I complain she will punish me by delaying the job further.

To cap it all, the second tip won the race – at odds of 25-1.