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Basic skills - would you admit to lacking?

(113 Posts)
Daisymae Thu 09-Sep-21 15:02:11

The local neighbourhood group had a request this week for someone to sew a button or two on a school uniform. What was even more surprising was that there were no shortage of volunteers. Obviously no one is born knowing anything but surely it would be more useful to ask is someone could be taught how? I learnt how to upholster a dining chair by watching YouTube. Come to think of it ironing is not my strongest subject, maybe someone would pop over and sort it?!

GagaJo Thu 09-Sep-21 15:16:53

Car engines / tyres leave me cold. I used to be able to use an oil dipstick, but my current car is too complicated for me.

It would be really useful to be able to use the oil dipstick, measure the tyre pressure and put air in.

Hellogirl1 Thu 09-Sep-21 15:34:03

Cooking and baking, I can only do plain ordinary stuff.
Sewing and embroidery, sewing practically non-existent, embroidery not at all.
Communication skills, never very good until I know someone very well.

Allsorts Thu 09-Sep-21 15:40:12

You tube for everything.

Hetty58 Thu 09-Sep-21 15:44:02

No - if I don't know how to do something, I'll do some research, find out, then practice. Maybe it's a retired teacher frame of mind?

It's a matter of pride to me that I can do almost anything an 'expert' can. It may take me far longer, that's all!

Apart from clearly dangerous activities (electrics, gas, roofing - and self diagnosis) I do everything possible all on my own!

GagaJo Thu 09-Sep-21 15:49:32

Me too, to a certain extent Hetty58. When I moved into my house, it was a bit of a wreck. I did all the work on it myself. OK, so it took me a week to plaster a small room, when it would have taken a professional a couple of hours. But it was done well and hasn't needed redoing at all in the 12 years I've lived here.

The one thing that beat me was stripping the floor boards and stairs. I REALLY wanted them with a lime washed effect and chickened out after I'd done a few stairs. SO much work. Just painted them instead.

Redhead56 Thu 09-Sep-21 15:49:41

I did car maintenance when young ok with that. I paid my son to do the ironing I am now an expert at folding washing so it doesn't need ironing. Now I can't hoover because of my back wink.

Blondiescot Thu 09-Sep-21 15:50:42


Car engines / tyres leave me cold. I used to be able to use an oil dipstick, but my current car is too complicated for me.

It would be really useful to be able to use the oil dipstick, measure the tyre pressure and put air in.

To be perfectly honest, with today's cars, there's actually very little that a 'home' mechanic can do anyway. So many electronic components now, which require specialised diagnostic equipment. My husband and I used to compete in car rallies, and I took a few car maintenance courses, so I could change most parts, including an engine if required. I could still do basic things like changing a tyre (which I personally think should be part of the driving test anyway), checking oil, water levels etc, but much of the more complicated stuff is way beyond me. Even my husband, who used to do all the maintenance himself, won't touch a lot of it now.

glammanana Thu 09-Sep-21 16:00:31

I would love to be able to hang wallpaper I am competent at most things regarding DIY and have just decorated throughout my bungalow painting all the wall and doors etc but the wallpaper was beyond me and I had to ask a good friend to do the honours for me.

VioletSky Thu 09-Sep-21 16:02:43

I've never really asked for help having learned in childhood that that just made me a... trying to think of the right word... Burden I suppose.

I'm always surprised watching others do it for even minor things when I felt terrible asking someone to babysit for a hospital appointment.

I left home with no life skills except what I had taught myself or learnt at school.

The thing is though, it is lovely. It is lovely that people want to help each other.

A friend asked me to sew a button once, guess who I felt I could ask to babysit!

MerylStreep Thu 09-Sep-21 16:15:40

This is the car that my partner races and obviously has to keep going.
This is not his advert but the man he bought it from.

SueDonim Thu 09-Sep-21 16:27:16

I can’t paint, either artistically or home decor-wise. I’ve tried the latter several times and just can’t do it. I spread the paint far too thinly and cannot overcome that. However, I can wallpaper up a storm so I’ll take a bouquet for that! grin

Neither of my DD’s can sew on a button. At least, they claim they can’t. hmm. They’re both left-handed (I’m not) and that is their claim to their ineptitude.

BBbevan Thu 09-Sep-21 16:41:45

They are having you on*SueDonim*. I am extremely left handed but can sew, embroider and knit. I always use a right handed scissors also as there were no left handed implements when I was a child.
I would like to learn to crochet though .

Deedaa Thu 09-Sep-21 16:51:29

I always reckoned that being able to ride a horse, milk a goat and shoot a gun fairly accurately would set me up reasonably well come the revolution (still waiting). I can make bread, make butter, sew and make clothes. One of the first things DH taught me was how to change a wheel but they are fixed so firmly nowadays that you need to be superman to do it. I can gut a fish and could do the same to a bird or animal but would rather not! I used to be good at wallpapering but my frozen shoulder means I can't reach up high enough to do it now.

eazybee Thu 09-Sep-21 16:51:45

Gardening: people talk mysteriously of soil types, acidic, lime, clay; annuals and perennials, ground cover, climbing plants, florabundi, hybrids and quote seven syllable names and seventeen different types of compost.
And my parents were keen gardeners.

Grandma70s Thu 09-Sep-21 17:11:54

I can’t do many practical things. I can sew on a button, though. I once read that someone - was it Shirley Conran? - said that anyone faced with a button, a needle and some thread and couldn’t work out how to combine them was unfit for any form of further education.

I am not faintly interested in any sort of sewing or knitting, so it doesn’t worry me that I can’t do them. I can’t cook, either, except for the basic essentials.

I can sing, I can write passable poetry and I know a fair amount about the arts and natural history, but I can’t do anything actually useful.

Ladyleftfieldlover Thu 09-Sep-21 17:19:09

I can do most basic things - knit, sew, cook, clean a house, decorate (although I’ve just paid someone to decorate the downstairs loo and dining room), weed, deadhead roses, cut the lawn and if I don’t know how to do something I’ll ask someone to do it for me or look it up. When OH was overseas I blocked the loo. I looked it up on YouTube and fixed it. But, when my washing machine broke down another time OH was away I rang a friend and her OH came round and organised a repair.

SueDonim Thu 09-Sep-21 17:32:23

Of course they are, BBbevan! grin Mind you, the one who is a medic isn’t much cop at doing stitches on humans! 👀 A career in surgery isn’t beckoning.

Jaxjacky Thu 09-Sep-21 17:41:01

I’m a reasonable cook, can sew on a button, minor other clothing repairs, check the car fluids/tyre pressures, garden, admin and project manage. No artistic bent at all, that includes actually making anything, sewing, knitting, crochet, decorating or jigsaws. I have little patience in those areas.

Shandy57 Thu 09-Sep-21 17:48:00

I was really nervous of changing the spotlights in my new bungalow, YouTube to the rescue. I do still need to buy a new ladder as I want one with a 'tray' at the top, and really appreciated my friend's tip to use a shoulder bag for the old/ new bulb.

Margiknot Thu 09-Sep-21 18:08:21

I was thinking of this recently, as I am concerned our roles within the home have become too polarised! My husband ( an engineer) is good at traditionally male fixing roles and is a good carpenter, so I have got a little out of practice at workshop skills- I tend to be the assistant who passes the saw or paste brush, and general cleaner upper! I’ve determined to do more of the repairs and house maintenance. Electrics and plumbing and anything more than pumping up a car tyre I leave to the experts! I can sew but haven’t crocheted in years. My current project is learning to play a keyboard - but progress is slow! My husband recently fixed the washing machine- which I don’t think he has ever used! So I am trying to learn self sufficiently and role reversal! Important as we get older not to lose skills I think.

LauraNorder Thu 09-Sep-21 18:14:51

I can do most things necessary for survival but have to admit to having zero nursing skills, I don’t like the sight of any bodily fluids and have no patience.
Buttons? No problem.

Callistemon Thu 09-Sep-21 19:20:20

I lack decorating skills - probably because I dislike doing it so much; paint gets everywhere.

At junior school we were taught some basics of sewing, weaving, embroidery and my mother taught me how to knit.
The rest I taught myself eg dressmaking, but did go to dressmaking classes when we moved here.

I learnt piano, violin and oboe (the oboe very badly) but was never good enough to play anything on the school stage, sadly.

In my 70s I taught myself to crochet from books and YouTube.

I can't sing at all, but I think it's a talent, not a skill.
I could ride a bike but haven't done for ages.

Do cars have dipsticks now? I used to regularly check on my first car but haven't done that since.

I could change a terry nappy with baby on my knee!!

Multi-semi-skilled, that's me.

Oopsadaisy1 Thu 09-Sep-21 19:23:19

I can’t hang wallpaper, the tyres on my car are so heavy that I can’t even lift them and our car doesn’t have a dipstick any more. Thankfully we have a decorator and belong to the RAC.
The new radio/cd player in my car has totally flummoxed me, I can’t see the little buttons, and it’s so complicated, that I lose the will to carry on and try to remember what to do.
And I wouldn’t even try to fix anyone’s teeth or operate on anyone……..

LauraNorder Thu 09-Sep-21 19:24:32

Callistemon Do cars have dipsticks now?

I’d say yes, more often than not in the driving seat