Monday, January 28, 2008

The Joys of Home Ownership

We have a leak in the roof over our bathroom. This was discovered during some of the monsoon weather earlier this month. Who knew that January was the rainy season in England? Anyways, this will hopefully be fixed soon. But it does lead to a topic of great interest to Brits.

DIY. Do It Yourself. It was years ago when I first heard the term, but I do remember not having a clue what the person was talking about when they said they had spent the weekend "doing some DIY". And of course, not realising that the term DIY isn't universal among English speakers, the person I was talking to didn't understand where the confusion was about their weekend activities. DIY refers to anything someone might attempt to do to improve their home without calling in professionals. Which could be anything from fixing a blocked drain, to hanging a picture, to putting up an extension on your house. Usually slightly closer to my first two examples, but not always. For some Brits, it's a national sport.

For our leaky roof, we are NOT DIYing it. A couple of reasons. One, if we get it wrong and it still leaks, we'll definitely have to call in professionals. It's not something like a slightly misaligned picture on the wall that you can either live with or take down until you are ready to try again. Two, I don't have the resources to call on here that I would if we lived closer to family. Because if we did, my first port of call in such a case would be to phone up my dad or father-in-law and ask them. I think that's what fathers are for a good percentage of the time - fixing stuff. Especially once you leave home and find you don't own everything you need to do something. Which they probably do own, having spent a lifetime collecting ladders, nails, screws, extra shingles, generators, old skis, odd bits of wire, random sturdy boxes, receptacles made out of pop cans, radios, band saws, 4 types of glue and a claw hammer. Without this big collection of materials (plus their experience) to draw on, calling in the professionals will probably be the quicker and more efficient option. And with something like a leak, it can't really wait until one our dads visits again.