Jimmy Rang His Mum to Ask Her to Take His Chicken Kievs out of the Oven. It Was Going to Be a Long Night. the Accidental Landlord; Victoria Whitlock Enrols on a B&Q 'You Can Do It' Evening Class in Plumbing -- and Quickly Learns That She Can't

The Evening Standard (London, England), November 23, 2011 | Go to article overview

Jimmy Rang His Mum to Ask Her to Take His Chicken Kievs out of the Oven. It Was Going to Be a Long Night. the Accidental Landlord; Victoria Whitlock Enrols on a B&Q 'You Can Do It' Evening Class in Plumbing -- and Quickly Learns That She Can't


Byline: Victoria Whitlock

ARE there places less appealing that a DIY store on a winter's evening? I can't think of many. Scrub that, I can't think of anywhere that is less appealing than a DIY shed at any time, but one Monday night I found myself quite excited at the prospect of a lock-in at B&Q. I had decided -- possibly inspired by the sight of TV's Sarah Beeny almost single-handedly restoring a 1,000-room mansion -- that it would be a great idea to learn how to carry out basic plumbing repairs in case a pipe burst in one of my rental flats this winter. That's why I'd signed up for one of B&Q's do-it-yourself evening classes.

"I'll save a fortune on plumbers' emergency call-out charges," I told my brother, who is the only one of the family who can do anything useful with a screwdriver. I told him, perhaps a little optimistically, that I might even learn enough to tackle the shower valve the tenants broke months ago. "God help us," he said, which was not the encouraging response I was expecting.

B&Q runs "You Can Do It" classes at 15 of its larger stores around the country. For [pounds sterling]10 to [pounds sterling]20 it promises to teach you basic plumbing, decorating, plastering or tiling skills. It also runs classes for kids and I briefly considered signing up my 10-and 13-year-olds, until I discovered they'd be taught how to make a bird feeder or a mug tree when I wanted them to plumb in a radiator or change taps.

"DIY isn't scary," says B&Q, but as it doesn't run You Can Do It classes at my nearest branch I had to go to Sutton, which was pretty terrifying. As it happens, my lesson almost turned into a "You Can't Do It" class.

I arrived at the Sutton store to find its two resident trainers, Jimmy and Ben, packing up for the day. B&Q had changed the timing of the course so it had ended two hours earlier, but nobody had thought it necessary to tell me -- the only customer. …

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Jimmy Rang His Mum to Ask Her to Take His Chicken Kievs out of the Oven. It Was Going to Be a Long Night. the Accidental Landlord; Victoria Whitlock Enrols on a B&Q 'You Can Do It' Evening Class in Plumbing -- and Quickly Learns That She Can't
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