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There are two main DIY stores near me. One’s a Wickes, the other is a Homebase. And since becoming a homeowner I’ve had cause to visit them both and there are significant differences between them, differences I think you don’t notice when you’re renting because – well, mainly because you’re never going to need to set foot in a Wickes if you’re renting. This is, to coin a phrase, how it is:
Homebase is populated by couples with trolleys, arguing over lampshades.
Wickes is populated by men wearing steel capped boots and puffed bodywarmers, wheeling out lengths of drainpipe on a flat bed trolley.
Homebase stocks all the different kinds of paint in the world.
Wickes stocks every type of drill bit in the world.
It is acceptable to pick up an item in Homebase and go "ooo, shiny".
It is only acceptable to pick up an item in Wickes to measure it with the retractable tape measure you brought with you, and compare the results against the hastily scribbled-in-pencil numbers on the piece of paper in your pocket.
The standard facial expression in Homebase is bovine complacence.
The standard facial expression in Wickes is lemon-sucking tutting that they don’t have the right width of bevel you need.
Whenever I’m in Homebase I feel like a middle class tosspot knowing I’m about to buy a useless item of kitchen utensil that I don’t actually need.
Whenever I’m in Wickes I feel connected to my working class Northern roots, knowing I’m about to do messy stuff with hammers.
Today I did fix my drainpipes. Admittedly they only needed fixing because last summer I sawed a section out of them when fitting the fscking useless water butt that I’ve now decided to cut my losses on, but still. I did fix drainpipes. I can wire an old fashioned fuse box as well. I rock.