Two Great British Obsessions – Tea and DIY
There have been two surprises in this study, and both have to do with enduring traditions. While there have been fundamental shifts in the lifestyles of people of all social classes over the past thirty years, both DIY and its association with tea drinking appear to have resisted the pressure for change. Admittedly, the DIYers of today, whose lives have been made easier by advances in technology and time-saving gadgets, may be less skilled than their predecessors, but they are no less true enthusiasts. And the teapot of old may now have given way to the ubiquitous tea bag in the mug. But the roles of tea in DIY are as central as they have ever been – relieving stress when things start to go wrong, giving stimulation when energy dips, and providing moments for reflection and pride in one's personal achievements.
- Tea is preferred to other beverages by 75% of DIYers and tea breaks have key functions during DIY activity.
- Tea and DIY are still seen as essentially British – both part of our traditions and cultural heritage. Tea, therefore, has distinct symbolic relevance to DIY.
- Making the tea during DIY jobs is no longer just the woman's role – men are happy to do this to as well.
- Making the tea is seen as 'helping' in DIY – much more important than just providing a hot drink.
- Although some first-time DIYers find the experience stressful, the large majority see at as a positive, creative and fulfilling activity.
- The primary motivations for DIY are numerous. Some do DIY out of necessity because they cannot afford to hire professionals. Most, however, do it because of the distinct rewards that it brings. Some are almost obsessive perfectionists, others see it as a kind of leisure activity. Most see DIY as a way of giving a home a personal identity and individuality. Above all, DIY is seen as a medium for self-expression.
- Women are centrally involved in all aspects of DIY.
- Choosing colours in the home is a complex and lengthy process, with often competing preferences between partners. Many home interiors show evidence of distinct compromise, but women have the main influence here.
- DIY programs on television attract a great deal of interest among first-time nestbuilders. But many are also critical of the programmes because they make tasks look too easy or underestimate the time required.