There has been an outbreak of DIY in our neighbourhood. At eight o’clock sharp someone starts grinding and drilling and a bit of banging about. A lorry laden with pallets of DIY things will block the road while it unloads. Of course if no 43 starts on a “project” then no 45 feels his manhood has been challenged and for no particular reason will start digging a trench, which he will then fill with concrete and stand and stare at it, proudly.
I don’t do DIY. I come out in a rash thinking about it. Mrs BW allowed me to do a little painting a few years ago, and has vowed never to to do so again. I made a bird table in my formative years, that collapsed as soon as a bird landed on it. I have not tried to do so again.
Of course in our neighbourhood if your’re a man and you don’t do DIY then you must be homosexual. The wife and children are a cover story. A few years ago one of our neighbours came to the front door when I happened to be making bread. I was wearing an apron and had a light dusting of flour over my hands and face. The look on his face said it all. “What are you doing?” he spluttered, shrinking back a little from me. “I’m baking” I said, proudly. “Baking! But you’re not a woman!” No well well spotted I thought. “Yes” I added “and Mrs BW is out the back cutting the grass” He went away convinced that I was seriously weird.
On the rare occasion that we have a warm summer evening, I like to sit in the back garden and catch the last rays of the sun and listen to the swallows and swifts zing high but,or the blackbird warn of cats from the bushes, preferably clutching a cold beer. My next door neighbour has to get his lawn mower out. Doesn’t matter if the grass has been cut the day before, he can’t sit still and rest he has to cut his grass because I guess its what a real man does on a summer evening.