Two Great British Obsessions – Tea and DIY
Working with professionals
A minority of first-time DIYers (11%) had used builders for construction work and plastering in their homes, but the large majority had employed professional tradesmen for jobs such as plumbing and electrical rewiring. Their relationship with such people varied markedly – from downright, mutual hostility to a friendly, learning partnership. But two things stood out here. In the majority of cases it was the first time that our DIY novices had hired a professional for any reason, other than for servicing their car. The fact that builders and craftsmen were in their own home made this 'management' role even more difficult. Secondly, there were fears expressed that a professional, even one of the 'cowboys', might be critical of the DIYers own efforts in the home. Some also said that they experienced embarrassment when an 'outsider' had to rescue a job which they, the DIYers, had bodged.
It was in discussions about relationships with builders and other tradesmen that the subject of tea most often arose quite naturally. As we have seen, builders traditionally drink tea – most usually white with two sugars. A steady supply of tea throughout the day, therefore, is a prerequisite for harmonious relationships with the hired help. "The first thing I do when I've got the builders coming is to go out and buy loads of tea and sugar."
As true DIYers pick up technical tips from the professionals, even though they may doubt the latter's concern with doing a 'perfect' job, so too do they come to appreciate more clearly why tea is a crucial element of all building and decorating projects, whether undertaken by the most experienced craftsman or the rookie nestbuilder.