Object #5 – door knob and catch
Door knob, brass effect, with plastic catch on stripped pine door
Not one of the doors in our flat has a handle that turns the catch. They’re all stripped pine. The bathroom door tends to drift apart from itself. It has to be banged back together with a fist wrapped in a towel at the top of its long edge when it starts to stick in the door frame. We would definitely fail a fire test. This last Christmas, Will and I trapped ourselves in the kitchen and had to use the machete – I don’t know why we have a machete – to winkle the door from its frame. Turning the door handles achieves nothing. In fact, more than once we have pulled the door knob in the bedroom right off. It is only held in place by three short screws – it has no mechanical connection to the knob on the other side of the door or the plastic roller that’s its catch. Will has muffled most of the doors by sticking felt to the frame, but you can hear the un-muffled ones – ours and our downstairs neighbours’ – being yanked open or banged shut. There is no nuance possible with these babies. The local DIY shop, which boasts “We Sell Everything”, which is true DIY-wise, sells comma-shaped rubber door wedges. They keep the doors open (living room), and shut (kitchen). Otherwise they swing in the slightest breeze.
We live upstairs. The house was split into flats in the 80s – a cowboy job, although they left the fireplaces and the original bedroom closet, which are mouse-sized. We disposed of the asbestos loft hatch. You open our front door from inside by simultaneously stepping back up onto the bottom stair, or you get wedged in. You shut it as you come inside with a back kick as you start climbing the stairs.
The doors don’t hide the scars and filler where they once had hinges and proper fittings. When we decorated the flat a while back, I suggested painting them white. But Will has lived here longer than me and he is attached to them as they are. We talk about having working fittings, some day, maybe.