Saturday, October 29, 2011


It's probably quite fortunate that people pronounce DIY as "dee, eye, why" and don't say the actual words the acronym is made from -oh, hang on, it's not an acronym is it? Because you don't pronounce DIY as "diy", but it's not an abbreviation what is it?

I could look it up for you but, well, DIY!

And indeed, that is my point - if people didn't go around saying "dee, eye, why", they would be saying "do it yourself" and even if this is said in a totally neutral tone, I just can't help hearing a sort of sigh or groan at the start, an emphatic expletive somewhere in the middle and an exclamation mark or two at the end, which turns it into something more like, "(Ah,) do it your (fucking) self(!!).

Anyway, it just happened that I was looking idly in the Internet for loft insulation; no real reason except the fact that this old house in Liverpool radiates as much heat out of the back windows and the roof as the profligate of a nouveau riche family of suns.

We have a B&Q and a Homebase just round the corner here, but I decided to check the Wickes website first and duly found rolls of loft insulation with different thicknesses and different other-qualities-which-everyone-knows-about-and-I've-never-heard-of, and then I saw the price next to the picture of a roll: £36.99

"That's not bad," I thought to myself, but then I saw the sort of small print next to the picture, "buy 1, get 3 free!"

This kindled the avarice in my tight-fisted auld bastard heart (can a heart be tight-fisted?) I mean, whatever it is, a "buy 1, get 3 free" offer should quicken your blood, shouldn't it? Well, my blood was quickened and so I jumped into the car and sped off to Wickes. Now, cases like this of rash enthusiasm are normally followed shortly after by a little cool skepticism, so, on the way, I started thinking about it.

"Buy 1, get 3 free" is a bit too good to be true, isn't it? Must be a catch...maybe the quality is rubbish...maybe 1 roll is actually 4 narrow rolls together and so you end up having to buy 4 for the price of 4...maybe the material has been discovered to be dangerous!! Asbestos poisoning...maybe, maybe...

I wandered into Wickes, feeling totally out of place as I always do in these places, surrounded by weird machines for hitting and cutting stuff and strange materials for sealing or covering other stuff and people who knew-what-it-was-all-for, and found the loft insulation material section. There, indeed, was roll upon roll of loft insulation and signs everywhere saying "buy 1, get 3 free" It's no use, I'll have to ask...

I loathe asking staff questions in these places - always assuming you can find a staff member; they all seem to recede from you at increasing speeds whenever you need one, like Hubble's galaxies, blue-shiftedly racing away from our own Milky Way.

However, I succeeded in cornering one member of Wickes staff, who had been determinedly on his way "somewhere" but hadn't seen me lurking, and I blurted at him, "this 'buy 1, get 3 free' offer, does it mean one of these rolls counts as 4 or what?" "No, mate, you get 4 o' dem big rolls..." "Ah, and which, erm, thickness would be..." Too late, I made the mistake of looking away from him and when I turned my gaze back he had already dematerialised and been beamed up to a different section of Wickes space.

Meanwhile, two other lads - customers - had arrived with a trolley and they were also checking the rolls, and looking at the offer.
"I'm a bit wary too," I said to them.
"Yeah, a'know, mate, bu'rar John said dese are berrer dan B&Q!"
"I'm just not sure what thickness..."
"Well, am gettin' dese tin ones, cos it's for a rented 'ouse, bu' ye myraswell get the tick ones if it's for your 'ouse."

Right, bloody well will! do I get them to the cash desk? Ah, trolley. Where are the trolleys? Outside. Went outside, got a trolley and trundled back in. Loaded four rolls onto the trolley and trundled to the cash desk. How am I going to get them home!!??

"I'm not sure if I'll get all these in the car."

"S'oright, mate, jus' bring 'em back in, if dee don' firrin de car."

Trundled to the car (rented car). Hmm.. jammed 2 in the back seat. And now?

Brainwave! Fold down back seats!

Brilliant! Jammed them all in. Drove home.

Dragged them into the hall. Mission accomplished!

All I have to do now...



Anji said...

I wonder how you'll get on with the next part.

Our DIY people are over helpful and of course everything is standard size and when you get it home it never fits

Neutron said...

Next part?!

Anji said...

It's no use just owning rolls of loft insulation....