This is not a rant about DIY shops in the Canterbury area specifically but an opinion on the whole sector. For many years now DIY has been a hugely expanding trade and as it has done so the places that house these monsters have got bigger and bigger and bigger. I am sure there are still some Japanese soldiers lost in the bowels of some of these giants. Of course they need to be big to stock such a range, but is big necessarily beautiful. As these monoliths have gone from strength to strength they have slowly but surely squeezed the life blood out of the little hardware shop, where some old boy who knows his job inside out and backwards was quite happy to discuss your problem with you and then sell you the small handful of screws you need to do the job. Not so the big boys. With them it takes forever and a day to find a member of staff in the 10 acre shed they live in and then the level of assistance you get varies from poor to nil. At the end of the day you are left working out what you need yourself and then having to buy a box of 50 screws to get the six you need. I am not a DIY fan by any means and as such I do need help and advice when doing certain jobs and I have found the level of expertise in these places depressing. I am also a "magpie" and never chuck out anything which might conceivably be of use in the future. This means that as a result of my complulsory over-buying in the past my garage is full of part used boxes of nuts, bolts and screws. Let me finish with an example of the type of service which I want and is now disappearing fast. My son had a DT project to do for school and wanted a piece of 3mm plywood about 300mm square, a foot to you golden oldies like me. The big boys of course only sell this stuff in sheets about 8 feet by 4 feet at about £15 a time. A friend recommended a local timber yard, I went in there and walked out five minutes later with exactly what I needed. The cost? Sixty pence. I rest my case.