Today we were making ourselves useful, which is unusual for a weekend. In fact, in truth, "useful" it's a little odd for us, even during the week itself.
Our friends Liz and Kevin bought their first house a couple of months ago. However, their headlong dash into home-ownership has been halted somewhat by the fact that their house needs a bit of work. Well, a lot of work, actually, they told us. In fact, the exact end date of the works is currently expressed as "some point in 2008."
We volunteered our services to help out, so this morning found us driving out to Chelmsley Wood to the address they'd given us. After all, we thought, it's only one house - how much work could there be to do?
Anyone here familiar with the concept of the TARDIS? That whole "small on the outside, huge on the inside" thing? As they showed us around what turned out to be a three-storey townhouse, we began to understand the magnitude of the work they'd undertaken. They will get it done - Liz is one of the most scarily-organised people going (she makes lists of all the lists she's drawn up) - but it's going to be quite a project.
We got the guided tour. And with every twist, every turn, every additional staircase, every spare room, every storage cupboard, there was another bit of work to do. By all accounts, the previous inhabitants hadn't really been "House & Gardens" subscribers.
"Hmm, are those ceilings really painted yellowy-gold?"
"No. We believe they may have been heavy smokers. And you're seeing them after a fair bit of cleaning."
They've done really well so far, but I did wonder what we could add. After all, I am to DIY what King Herod was to good parenting. There are sections of our own home (OK, complete rooms) that haven't seen paint since we moved in 11 years ago. If it's a choice between selecting paint colours or having a nice pie, the pastry comestible will win.
But the beauty of today's situation was that this house had been comprehensively gutted by Liz and Kev. There was no furniture in place, no carpets, no paper on the walls (well, at least not in the bits we were working). We were able to paint with gay abandon. Does that phrase still mean what it meant in the 1950's? Never mind.
And I actually enjoyed it because there was none of the fear that normally accompanies any of my DIY exploits. Whether that was because it was someone else's house, or whether the risk of dripping paint on a TV or passing cat was removed, I don't know.
But we've offered to help them again over the coming weeks and months. I don't know if it will inspire us to great things at Fatboyfat Towers. It might. But while there are pies uneaten....