Stuck at home, with idle hands itching to work, noticing all the redecoration that is needed, and work in the garden, but the DIY stores and garden centres are closed by the panic. This is like declaring war on the Middle Class.
This is a prime time for DIY, but it is stymied by a shallowly reasoned restriction. The small hardware stores are open already, as they can be general stores selling essentials. The big DIY stores have plenty of space for distancing if that is still a concern, and those about to set their hands to the plane and the lathe are generally the fittest, not those felled with pneumonia. It’s not like a hugger-mugger supermarket – and they are open. The garden centres are largely open air. These are the lowest-risk shops there are. (There is only so much worrying you can do and stay sane.)
More importantly though, we need those stores open because they are important in a lockdown. When we are not out at work, DIY and gardening are the first things we long to do – that is why the stores are so busy at the bank holiday weekends. Any extension of their closure will be resented even more than it is now: without opening those centres, public support will fade, and that will be a vicious blowback from the affluent, influential middle classes.
I got a good stock of paint and wood-stain in before the lockdown and now everything is looking fresh and new, but there is so much more to be done: I need replacement bolts for those fittings, and skirting board over the new plasterwork, and planks to shore up the edging in the garden, and new flowers to go in it. Yes, and however electronic I go, I always need more bookshelves, especially with the children going through school. Ours is but one household, one of millions straining against the enforced idleness in the knowledge that, unless the DIY stores are liberated, we will not be able to do all the work that is need until there is no time to do it. Therefore liberate the DIY stores as an immediate priority.
DIY and gardening are positive value-producing activity, and let us exercise our creative juices, inherent since Adam first dug a furrow, since Tubalcain wrought his works of brass. Let them thrive and let us recover our humanity.
- Don’t make us resent this
- What about those who are immune?
- Competitive panicking
- Does anyone understand the rules?
- The necessity of normality
- A Journal of the Plague Year by Daniel Defoe
- Pale Rider: The Spanish Flu of 1918 and How it Changed the World by Laura Spinney
- The Madness of Crowds: Gender, Race and Identity by Douglas Murray
- Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds by Charles MacKay (1841)
- 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos, by Jordan B Peterson
- Woke: A Guide to Social Justice by Titania McGrath