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DIY: Dad's Irate Yelp?

Jun 19, 2008
Every now and again we see a handyman's van whizzing busily around town. And quite often they'll advertise their services along the lines of "Cleaning, carpentry, drains, DIY, repairs". This is a bit weird when you think about it, because DIY means Do It Yourself, something you're patently not doing if you pay someone else to do it! But we still sort of know what they mean. In the domestic setting it's jobs that could be done much more successfully by professionals but that we all too often choose to do ourselves. Or, should we say, our dads choose to do themselves, anyway.

Once upon a time, deep in human history, DIY was pretty normal. There were no Yellow Pages (they were still white back then) and no tradesmen as such. The head of the hut would make do and mend and it seemed to work well enough. Then we became specialised. We trained up for jobs and did them for money, but we forgot how to replace washers and hang shelves. But did that stop us trying? No!

Dads being dads, they like to at least give the impression that no job is too large for them to attempt themselves. Most working class families from the past 50 years will know the horrors of dad's attempts to wallpaper a room when his wallpapering skills just about stretched to erecting the special table without losing a finger. The arrival of the cavalry in the shape of mum usually saved the day, even if upside-down bamboo prints were something that we had to learn to love. And we've all heard the shocking stories of DIYers drilling straight into power cables and water pipes - often at the same time.

And yet they continue, safe in the knowledge that the money they save can be put to better use, like upgrading the home insurance and buying a caravan. Kids growing up today might think that the huge DIY superstores have always been around, but they're just another symbol of the rise of doing it yourself over the past few decades.

Yet we shouldn't tar all fathers with the same brush. Some dads really do show pride in their work and actually go as far as to buy a DIY book or subscribe to a weekly magazine that teaches them how to do basically anything. They keep their tools sharp and clean, arranged militarily and in readiness for anything that domestic wear and tear can throw at them. And then they actually do the job properly, for example using clamps when gluing bits of wood together (instead of disused DIY manuals and gravity). They might even ensure that all surfaces are clean of dust and grease before attempting to glue them together.

The end result is one of two things. It might be a perfectly functioning house where no curtain rail is missing a clip and where no door squeaks; or it could resemble a building site where an accumulation of unfinished jobs make the living room a hard hat zone.

But we must remember to hold back on our criticism too much. They are only fulfilling a primeval need to protect and to spend as little as possible. And these days, that's not such a bad thing. Now, where's the number to that handyman I saw ...

...Don't let him DIY it this Father's Day, give him a break with gifts that DIYD it - Do it for your Dad! There will almost certainly be Father's Day Gifts that seem custom built for him; well crafted, Personalised Gifts that'll make him smile.
About the Author
To explore our range of fathers day gifts, and our gifts in general, further, please visit our website at http://www.gettingpersonal.co.uk.
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