Listening to: Living For The Weekend (Hard-Fi)
Weather: Another good 'un
Surf: so, so tempting, 4ft clean. . . almost worth the frostbite
I've never been a practical person. It's all down to upbringing and education, I suppose.
I'm from solid, middle class, protestant Irish stock. My father was an historian who disappeared for what seemed like days on end, to be found behind a barricade of books in his study. Lovely fella, told a great story, liked a pint and a game of rugby, but he hardly knew what a fuse was, let alone how to change one.
At school, I was 'bright' (apparently), but always let myself down in sciences and practical stuff. Maths and chemistry I bungled my way through, but physics was beyond me and biology never fitted into the timetable with German and Ancient History.
Then there was woodwork.
At the minor public school I attended, I was forced to take either woodwork or metalwork until I was 15. I can't think of anyone who thought it was a good idea, but those were the rules.
So, I would tumble into the workshop with an armful of books (history usually), the sound of sniffing and sobbing from the back room indicating that the woodwork teacher Mr Waring was present and was resigning himself to an hour-and-a-half with 'the clever kids'.
I was bloody useless and even less interested. It took me nearly a year to make a bread board (the little legs were quite complicated). But I didn't make a nuisance of myself, spending most of the time discussing a theoretical Great Britain football team with my friend Mike Kirkman.*
Mr Waring and I just didn't connect. He was a funny little man with a beard and half-moon glasses and he was kind of semi-bald, in that his hair started halfway back on his head and stuck straight up in the air.
Today, I found myself wishing I'd paid more attention. I went outside this morning after a blustery night to find the half-built pig shelter leaning against the fence at a jaunty angle.
An hour or two huffing, puffing and swearing got things on a more stable footing so that it looked at least the right shape (pictured left).
I went around nailing on bits of wood and we're now at the stage where all we need is to put some kind of roof on.
But I've got the bug. I would love to know what those carpenter's joints are called and learn how to do them so that the next pig shelter doesn't rely on 1,397 nails to hold it together.
And Sal watched Jamie Oliver tonight, so wants raised beds for the asparagus we are, so I'm told, going to be growing.
Anyone got Mr Waring's phone number?
* Mike was a strong advocate of Peter Shilton in goal, but I (with an Ulsterman for a dad) was equally staunch in my support of Pat Jennings. I'll still have words with anyone who doesn't think he was the best goalie ever ever ever (Banks included).