If only I were a carpenter

WOODWORK: It was reasonable to assume I could master the craft.

I AM building myself an outside bar ready for summer.
That’s to say a good friend, whose grasp of all things practical is a billion times more evolved than mine, is building it for me.
But fair dos, I am helping significantly with the construction process – I pass him screws; hold the step ladder steady; shout encouragement and drink mugs of coffee. It’s amazing how quickly things progress when there is close cooperation such as this.
But I have to fess up and say that anything to do with DIY has always been as alien to me as a good melody is to Morrissey. The same goes for anything to do with computers. Just as I get to grips with one new supa dupa machine, it is made virtually obsolete by a suparer duparer piece of kit appearing on the market, and I have to get the six- year-old from next door to explain it to me. It’s humiliating.
It’s something I have never understood, because my dear old Dad was a whizz at all these things… well not computers of course; in his day it was quill and parchment, and an abacus. But he would always be sawing and hammering and making useful things in wood in his little shed in the garden, or making scale models of Sunderland flying boats or Spanish galleons, as well as knocking out the odd water colour painting to hang on the wall.
He was no George Hepplewhite or John Constable, but he could pretty much put his hand to anything creative.
In my first year at secondary school, woodwork was part of the syllabus and with a father like mine, it was reasonable to assume I would have been able to master the craft fairly easily. No!
In the first week of the new school year in September, we were given the task of making a simple teapot stand, but I was still planing and sanding that darn thing as we were preparing to break up for the Christmas holidays. The woodwork master was so exasperated with me, that he binned my pathetic and rapidly shrinking effort, and much to my shame and in front of my tittering pals, he knocked one up for me in 15 minutes flat.
I duly presented the article to my parents as all my own work, not having the nerve to tell them that my class mates were already working on dining- room suites and ocean-going yachts.
At least I am accomplished in the art that will put my bar to good use.

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