One of the universal rules of carpentry is that everything works until the customer is watching. As soon as we have an audience, drill bits refuse to fit, wood morphs into the wrong shape, doors jam in the frame, and furniture refuses to go together or come apart or both without much improvisation and quiet swearing*.

So you can imagine my apprehension when I found a customer hovering in the hallway last week while I was fitting a small panel for coat pegs -bless her, she was retired and the carpenter coming was an event- especially as I had to mark up and attach the pegs on a bare oak board. Amazingly, the whole process of measuring, making holes and attaching pegs went off flawlessly (apart from one peg which required ‘encouragement’ to go on straight, but that’s what hammers are for) and I finished the whole thing looking vaguely professional and like I knew what I was doing.

Then I told our customer I was done, took one step towards the toolbox, tripped over the vacuum cleaner and fell flat on my nose.

*It is also remarkable how customers turn up at the exact moment things go horribly wrong.

[Uptade: Edited for typo in the title, only took 24 hours to notice it…]