Home Is A State of Being, Not A State of Having ...
A Spot Of Tea?
February 26, 2015
Assembling flat packs or stripping wallpaper, if you’re English, it really can’t be done without a cuppa.
I’ve been dipping into Kate Fox’s fascinating book, Watching The English, in which she discusses the unique behaviors and sometimes peculiar habits of my fellow countrymen ... and women. The day I first picked up the book it fell open at a small section with the heading ‘Nest-Building Rules’ … coincidence? I think not (plus we have the same first name)! Intrigued, I read on …
It seems that the English have a very strong territorial sense—after all, they’re accustomed to ‘colonising’ other nations and having their way with them, so perhaps they carry that over into their homes as well. This results in the English homeowner’s need to make his or her mark on every home no matter what. Even those who move into brand spanking new houses will often have a skip parked out on the pavement within a week or two (translation: a dumpster on the sidewalk) to accommodate the national obsession with ripping everything out and starting again.
Certainly, this need to make one's mark is a trait I possess—I don’t piddle in every corner, but I mostly certainly paint in every one. Out of the 19 homes I have occupied in my 60 years on this Earth, nary a vertical surface has escaped the attentions and applications of my paintbrush … and even a few horizontal ones (my current bathroom floor and countertop, for example). It doesn’t matter that the previous occupants might have done a superb decorating job or even shared my taste in bold and saturated colours, the mere fact that they aren’t my colours is reason enough to repaint.
In my vernacular, the term ‘move-in ready’ doesn’t exist. I've often heard new homeowners exclaim how fortunate they are to have purchased a new house where they “won’t have to do a thing”… well, that will never be me.
Of course, the other thing about the English when it comes to home renovations and do-it-yourself, is that nothing can be accomplished without gallons of tea and frequent tea-breaks. Somehow I think the Canadian do-it-yourselfer is more likely to clutch a six pack to his overalls than a mug of PG Tips. But, whatever your libation, the nesting instinct lives on in most of us and a house soon becomes a home once we’ve hammered in a few nails and splashed on a coat or two of paint.