Apologies can slip off the tongue all too easily today

Ewan McGregor  as Renton in Trainspotting - the gender neutral toilets Zella has visited are almost as grubby

ZELLA COMPTON: Men – just aim it in the right direction and we’ll all be happy!

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What could be worse than, half way through a DIY project, realising you haven’t got the right equipment for the job?

I’ll tell you what’s worse – going out to buy the right equipment and then getting home and finding out it STILL isn’t right. After you’ve sought advice and everything.

So the garden is an on-going project, somewhat delayed by the dire summer weather. My husband and I have replaced the fence without getting a divorce and moved on to a trellis/pergola-style structure over a patio/walkway.

I’m never sure what to call anything in the garden as, under our construction, designs grow organically, dependent on how they look and how easy it is to work around whatever unsuspected problem arises (such as a brick wall cunningly hidden three inches below the surface of the garden).

It was all going too well, with trellis/pergola posts cemented in and supporting struts painted and ready to be whipped up. As always happens in this phase of construction, something gave, and this time it was our power drill for screwing the structure together. Aaaargh.

It’s complicated to buy a new power drill. The temptations of features need to be carefully and realistically weighed against price and honest usefulness.

There are lots of functions which mean nothing to me, but sound as if I might need them. But they cost a lot more than something roughly in budget that comes with a few bullet points in the brochure.

What better way to alleviate the problem than to ask for help? Except in a relatively new local store which has aspirations to be a builders’ merchant but is just a pale imitation of Argos, the assistant was clueless.

Two hours later, when I returned to buy specific drill bits (which I’d been assured by said assistant that I didn’t need), the manager cheerfully told me none of his staff were trained about products.

‘I can only apologise’ he said, but that’s a sentence which slips off the tongue all too easily in today’s society.

There are other things he could have done. Like given me a free drill, written ‘idiot’ across his colleague’s forehead in marker pen or finished the trellis/pergola himself.