My name’s Rich, I’m 35 and I have a plumbing problem.
The truth is, it’s bigger than that. Let me explain.
It turns out the younger generation (I flatter myself by declaring membership) lack the skills required to undertake simple DIY tasks. In fact, it’s not so much about lacking the skills, but more about a fundamental lack of confidence in simply having a go. Or so I’ve read.
I pride myself on my enthusiasm for giving things a go, so it irked me to read that my peers and I had been written off as less capable than our parents. This feeling intensified when my dad told me that I wasn’t very practical…unlike my older brother. And so, I set about on a DIY journey of discovery.
With fire in our bellies, my wife and I embarked our first DIY project: sanding our bedroom floorboards. After suffering a minor setback (the DIY store closed before we could collect the drum sander) we succeeded (albeit with a handheld belt sander) and Did It Ourselves (DIO). Job done.
Was I proud? Triumphant? Elated? Not really. The truth is, I singled out sanding as something manageable and achievable. Something carrying very little risk: there was no electricity, gas or water involved.
The elephant in the room during our sanding project was actually a blocked bath in our bathroom that took forever to drain. But it involved water. That meant a potential flood risk. It was something I didn’t want to touch with a barge poll.
But two things happened. I had a chance conversation with one friend whose brother had recently had a similar bath problem, which she named-checked as a blocked waste pipe. And I spoke to another friend who pointed out that the pipes I would need to fiddle with were waste pipes, not incoming water pipes, meaning that as long as they were drained, my fears of a tidal wave of gushing water flooding the house were irrational.
And so, after Googling ‘blocked trap’, doing a little reading on the B&Q website and with a mound of towels in tow, I prised off the bath panel, unscrewed a few pipes and cleaned out the system. Reader, I had a fully draining bath.
The sanding and bath projects only served to confirm that I was indeed on a slippery slope to becoming a Do It For Me home improver. But, like with most things in life, it was simply a matter of confidence. There might be hope for my DIY skills yet…