Something you only discover as a homeowner

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.


6 responses to “Something you only discover as a homeowner

  1. Will December 9, 2007 at 10:26 pm

    That’s more than I can do. What the fuck’s a bevel?

  2. Rachel December 9, 2007 at 11:55 pm

    Actually, I think I meant beading… yeah, I meant beading. I don’t belong in Wickes. I belong among the shiny of Homebase.

  3. Kate December 10, 2007 at 1:57 pm

    Ah so water butts don’t work then? Oh dear – I asked for one from Father Christmas …

  4. Kate December 10, 2007 at 1:58 pm

    PS. Bevelling is when you round off the edges of something. ‘Bevelled edges’. Like on skirting boards. Hell yeah.

  5. Rachel December 10, 2007 at 3:10 pm

    Water butts work. Just not this one (got it from the Guardian reader offers; lid didn’t fit and had a hole in the top, which is just what you want with a load of standing water, pipe didn’t flow back into the drainpipe when it was full and I’d clearly used a drill bit that was 1mm too big to cut out the hole for the connector, so the thing overflowed down the sides creating an interesting river effect on the path). My parents had one, was great for years.
    That’s where I got confused – I know the word I wanted was to do with edging wood and began with ‘b’, and I lit upon bevel before beading.

  6. Ant December 11, 2007 at 12:23 pm

    “PS. Bevelling is when you round off the edges of something. ‘Bevelled edges’. Like on skirting boards. Hell yeah.”
    That would be a roundover or radius. A bevel is cutting a flat angle on the edge of something, which is not perpendicular to the face of the object.
    You also forgot B&Q. Where the default expression is one of weary disgust that the object which you have seen on *every* previous visit, has magically disappeared, now that you actually need it.

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