La complainte du bricoleur malhabile

The unhandy handyman’s lament


Mon ami Andy McClelland, musicien professionnel hautement qualifié, m’a dédié cette chanson, mais elle aurait pu être écrite pour mon père.


My highly skilled professional musician friend Andy McClelland dedicated this song to me, but it could have been written for my father.


Vous pouvez écouter la musique d’Andy ici :

You can listen to Andy’s music here:


It’s Andy’s birthday today! C’est l’anniversaire d’Andy aujourd’hui !

La petite histoire qui suit montre à quel point mon père et moi étions horribles lorsqu’il s’agissait de fabriquer des choses. Nous étions tous deux des bricoleurs très peu habiles !

The short excerpt below outlines how horrific my father and I were when it came to making things. We were both very unhandy men!

Du coup, la version française de mon livre, intitulé Le temps passé avec vous fut bref mais tordant, doit être lancée d’un jour à l’autre. Voici un très court extrait de l’une des nouvelles qui porte sur le bricolage. The English version follows:


Mon père prétendait être une sorte d’homme à tout faire et passait un temps fou dans son « atelier » au sous-sol à bricoler divers meubles de maison et autres créations inutiles, chaque objet étant singulièrement laid et dégoulinant de colle. Nous l’entendions glapir et jurer depuis les profondeurs de son repaire souterrain, alors qu’il se tranchait les doigts avec la scie mécanique, s’empalait sur de gigantesques clous aiguisés comme des rasoirs et se martelait les pouces jusqu’à les meurtrir irrémédiablement. Parfois, il me demandait de l’aide dans son royaume sanglant et infernal, où il me faisait tenir des objets et essayait de m’apprendre à scier et à percer, avant de devenir furieux de mon incompétence abjecte, qui reflétait la sienne. Ma débâcle en cours d’arts industriels a servi à renforcer la mortification de papa avec sa progéniture masculine.


Les écoles de London avaient également des programmes organisés d’éducation physique et d’arts industriels, que nous appelions shop ou manual training. Les sexes (il y en avait strictement deux à l’époque) restaient séparés pour ces cours, les filles (à mon avis extrêmement chanceuses) faisant de l’économie familiale et les garçons le shop. Les arts industriels sont alors devenus mon pire cauchemar, bientôt supplantés par l’éducation physique. J’avais raté une année entière de cours d’arts industriels et mes problèmes de petits muscles étaient tels que j’ai créé les cendriers, les tables d’appoint et les planches à découper en forme de poisson les plus hideux qu’un étudiant n’ait jamais produit dans un cadre institutionnel. Et ma mère les a tous gardés jusqu’à sa mort, bien en évidence dans le salon et sur les étagères de sa chambre.

“I’m all set to start the weekend reno project…” “And I’m all set to call 911.”

This is an excerpt from my book titled My Time with You Has Been Short but Very Funny.


My father purported to be something of a handyman and spent an inordinate amount of time in his basement “workshop” cobbling together various arcane home furnishings and other helpful creations, all of which were gluey and out of whack. We would hear him yelp and swear from the depths of his subterranean lair, as he sliced his fingers on the power saw, impaled himself on gigantic razor-sharp nails, and hammered his thumbs black and blue. Sometimes he would enlist my assistance in these gory Stygian depths, whereupon he would get me to hold things and try to teach me to saw and drill, only to become enraged by my abject incompetence, which mirrored his own. My shop class debacle served to reinforce dad’s mortification with his male progeny.

My grade 8 elementary school in London Ontario had organized programs of industrial arts, which we called shop or manual training. The genders (there were strictly two in those days) remained separated for these classes, with the (in my view extremely fortunate)  girls doing home economics and the boys, shop. Now industrial arts became my worst nightmare, soon to be superseded by phys ed. Having changed schools, I’d missed a whole year of shop, and my small muscle challenges were such that I created the most hideous ashtrays, end tables, and cutting boards in the shape of fish that any miserable student had ever produced in any institutional setting. And my mom kept every one of them until the day she died, prominently displayed in the living room and on bedroom shelves.

Robert McBryde Author: IndieReader approved, adolescence, hippies, pop music, 1960s, 1970s, blogging, social media,  CBC radio, literary non-fiction, tales, short stories, vignettes, immigrant experience, sports, Quebec anglos, living in France,  childhood and animal stories, creative memoirs, satire, autobiography, family relations, fathers, raising children, aging, facing death, fear of death, travel, social commentary, love and marriage, translation: English-French; French-English

Publisher’s Note:  Funny, manic, and wistful… self-deprecating creative nonfiction…The author, Robert McBryde, a professional translator, has been compared to David Sedaris for the sometimes-snarky autobiographical satire characterizing his literary sketches. Many of the stories in his new book, titled My Time with You Has Been Short but Very Funny, have been featured on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation radio network.

Author’s Note:

I’ve written a new book of creative non-fiction titled My Time with You Has Been Short but Very Funny, recently published and now on the market. The book is based on stories that I told over the years as a writer/ broadcaster and host on CBC radio based in Quebec City, Canada.

The book is available via my website. The purchase links are at the bottom of the home page.

Normally I will post at least two blogs per week. Stay tuned…especially Wednesdays and Fridays.

If you purchase a book via the platform of your choice, please leave a review.

Here is an excerpt from my IndieReader review:

“[This] memoir is… an enjoyable and touching read. Radio listeners in Quebec are already familiar with the wit and wisdom of Robert McBryde. The non-fiction collection, MY TIME WITH YOU HAS BEEN SHORT BUT VERY FUNNY, gives the rest of the world access to the author’s inimitable style.”

“Please note that [this] book received a rating of 4 stars or above, making it “IndieReader Approved”, a designation we created to make it easier for readers and booksellers to identify quality indie titles. Post the sticker proudly, knowing that your title was judged by top industry professionals—not as merely a great indie book—but as great book, period.”

Here is a link to a cool group book review blog:

My Time With You Has Been Short But Very Funny, a review by Di


And this is a link to Goodreads. A great place to learn about new books and to read reviews.

Di’s review of My Time with You Has Been Short but Very Funny


And, finally, a review from Amazon…

A Spirited Dive into Life’s Laughter and Tears (


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Happy reading! 😊

Your friend,