Breathing new life into garden furniture

So if, like me, you consume FIRE or related blogs as fast as some people eat hot dogs, then you will see the usual threads of frugality, do it yourself and how to eat for just 25p a month (ok a slight exaggeration). I am always amazed at the level of DIY some people go to.

Well, I am here to break that mold. Or should that be mould? Who knows. Well I have to tell you, I hate DIY. It’s not that I just don’t fancy it, or am too lazy, I just really, really hate it. I struggle to think of anything worse than it – I prefer going to work or shopping (and that is saying something) than doing DIY.

To give you an idea of just how much I hate it, I paid someone to put shelves up for me. Doesn’t that go against the principle of FIRE? Nope, not for me. It’s about focusing your effort on what makes you happy, even on the journey. Have I mentioned how much I hate DIY?

This weekend I decided I needed to redo the garden furniture – its early 1950’s metal and is starting to show its age a little. Basically it needs stripping down, rust treating and then repainting. I suspect most of the FIRE brigade out there would lap up this opportunity – and I will be honest, I am truly envious of TFS’s ability with DIY – just look at the shelving he did (for the life of me I can’t find the link but I am sure he will share!). But I know I am terrible at it, and I hate it. What could be so tricky in stripping down to the metal and repainting? The route was a wire brush first, then wire wool, then sandpaper and finally the pressure washer. Then the rust treatment. Then the repainting. Simple right?

I took 3 months off between jobs once, and made myself strip down the stairs, sand, varnish etc. and I loathed every minute of it. The only reason I stuck at it was because I wasn’t earning and so had no excuse. I loathed it and swore I wouldn’t do it again.

So, how did I try and motivate myself to do the furniture? Well apart from the fact it would have cost me hundreds of pounds to get someone else to do it (I think), versus getting more stuff than I probably needed from B&Q. I had no excuse not to (ok I could have made one), so I thought I would try and do it. I will be taking some of the stuff back to B&Q as I appear to have slightly over purchased stuff.

Once again, I remember how much I hate it. Next time I will save harder and pay someone else to do it. So, I found a way to make it more fun. Beer. Made all the sweeter by the fact I had a £10 off voucher from Majestic. Ok I had to spend £50 to cash it in, but you know what? That does get me a lot of beer…. although I suspect I may go there to often as I was given a free beer to take away to try. Ooops.

That’s right, what could possibly go wrong with a combination of beer and DIY? 🙂 To avoid invalidating my insurance, or concerning my employer, I am not going to disclose how many of each of these I had,nor what time I started drinking them 🙂 To note this was only consumed whilst stripping down the paint, not trying to paint.

Beer #1 – Curious Brew


So this is a beer made by Chapel Down winery and I got given a bottle for free (a sign that I spend too much in my local off licence!). A nice light beer, not a huge amount of flavour for me, but a light, chilled beer, and not at all offensive. Would I buy it? I have to say, no. It’s quite nice, but not anything to write home about. It meant a relatively easy start to the day to go with the wire brushing which is surprisingly hard work. Or I am a bit unfit, or a combination of the two.

Price: Unknown (it was free)

Strength: 4.7%

Beer #2 – Peroni


Ok, so I am a little bit embarrassed about this one, but it was chilled and in the fridge already cold whilst I waited for the other beers to cool down. It’s a lager. That’s about all I can say, not much really, not any great flavour but cool and refreshing and on a hot day with a bit of sweat it went down surprisingly quickly. As is typical with lager it’s fizzy – so bending over and moving around painting and drinking fizzy beer is not the best combination.

Price: Unknown – I bought it a while ago

Strength: 5.1%

Beer #3 – Spankers IPA.


This is a cracking little beer from London(ish) – Kingston. I find it a lovely hoppy beer, almost citrus in taste, and on a hot day, absolutely fabulous. I find this a really refreshing beer, although I find IPA a fairly loose term for it, I would actually really recommend this one. For a full flavoursome beer I really enjoy this one and I shall no doubt keep a few of these in for the future. It’s a bit on the stronger side, so not really a suitable “session beer”, more for one or two chilled ones in the evening.

Price: £2.50 per bottle

Strength: 6%

Beer #4 – Einstok IPA


So, on the remote chance that I have any followers from Iceland, I apologise for the spelling and lack of correct accents on this one! Their USP is that they use fresh Icelandic water, filtered through the rocks there to give it a full and flavoursome beer with a clear crisp taste. If you believe marketing. Well, it was actually a very light and refreshing beer – again, not that flavoursome but for a hot summers day, not at all bad! Scarily it really didn’t taste as strong as it was – if you had asked me I would have guessed maximum around 4% – 4.4%.

Price: £2.00 per bottle

Strength: 5.6%

Beer #5 – Salish Sea IPA


So more of a wild card here. A beer I know nothing about, but went on the recommendation to try it. For me, this was a bit of a non beer – no real great strong flavours almost a typical lager! Surprisingly cloudy which this beer, to the point I wondered if there was something wrong with it. Of course this meant that I had to have a second just in case. That was the same. A slight taste on the tongue but in no time at all it disappears. I wouldn’t bother again, especially at that price, although one heck of a kick at that strength!

Price: £2.50 per can

Strength: 6.4%

Beer 6 – Hogstar Lager


So I have to be honest, I do have a soft spot for the Hogsback Brewery, as I used to live near it. This is an unpasteurised lager and so another that was a bit out of the normal for me. It’s a lovely clear lager, with a gentle fizz – a bit of an odd after taste that I can’t quite put my finger on (nothing to do with the volume I have drunk…) so I will have to try it again!

Price: £1.95 per can

Strength: 4.5%


So I have a couple of simple conclusions.

  1. I will continue to pay someone to do the horrible DIY stuff for me
  2. I prefer beer to DIY 🙂
  3. I hate DIY
  4. Beer “best sellers” are the like of Stella, Carlsberg etc. when they are on sale in supermarkets at an equivalent of a pound per can for a much larger can can be good value
  5. I really hate DIY
  6. Whilst I tip my hat to Weenie and others for doing their own homebrew, I tried it once and it was a disaster (can I claim homebrew is also DIY?), and having moved, I have not got anywhere suitable to try and rebrew to try again
  7. I need to learn how to get wordpress to wrap text around images

Author: fireinlondon

Fighting the high cost of living in London

5 thoughts on “Breathing new life into garden furniture”

  1. Lol same here, I hate DIY. And it’s really not laziness. It’s opportunity cost. I can make more money per hour, than what something would take me. And that’s just pure math. Even writing my blog is negative ROI for me, but I do it for the fun. I wouldn’t do it, however, if it wasn’t fun. And DIY falls into that category. Beer can definitely help 😛 But I’m a light weight. Which I guess is better bang for your buck. All it takes is 1 beer for me to start feeling it. For some odd reason, I can take hard alcohol better. Very odd.


    1. Hi Tim,
      Thanks for stopping by – and glad to hear its not just me who hates DIY! I am with you on the opportunity cost, however at the weekend I am not “earning” anything extra so I guess I can’t use that reason…. but yes my time isn’t worth it!
      Nothing wrong with not needing as much (if anything it’s better as it is healthier as well as cheaper!) – I suspect it is something in the alcohol rather than anything else!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Haha, thanks for the beer reviews, FiL!

    Spankers IPA sounds right up my street! When I’m out and and am guaranteed somewhere to sit, then I’ll have IPAs or try the local microbrewed beers. In bars where it’s standing room only, Peroni is my ‘go-to’ drink (when I don’t want to switch to wine with my friends and am avoiding the gin!) Like you say, it’s not got a tremendous flavour but neither is it as bland as some other lagers.

    Thanks for the hat tip but I’ve not done any homebrewing in a while – I’ve got family over again over the summer so am hoping to restart/kickstart in September, if only to get the stocks back up!

    As regards to DIY, I guess it’s easy for a female to say they’re not into it but while I wasn’t working, I glossed a few doors in the house. I got bored and stopped, and now that I’m working, I don’t have time to do them so I’m going to end up paying someone to do the rest!

    Also, I have a working lawnmower in my shed but I pay someone to cut my lawn. What my gardener achieves in half an hour would take me hours and wouldn’t look half as good, haha!


    1. Hi Weenie,

      Glad you enjoyed – it was certainly more interesting than the DIY!

      I have to say it was a delicious beer, I really enjoyed it (although wont be every day at that price!). Always good to have a go to beer – I generally mix it up depending on what there is, but I accept in London as long as its less than £5 a pint I just accept it – terrible!

      Ah so no homebrewing? Yes, get the stoors up and running!

      I am with you on the DIY side – I got a quote to have the furniture done – it came in at over £1,000 so I will be relooking at that!

      Haha good effort with the lawnmower – I do ours, however it is pretty small, but as you say if someone else does it in a lot less time then it is more efficient – thats my excuse!


      Liked by 1 person

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