“Crash!” (pause) “Uh-oh.”
The Small Boy had caused some kind of collapse of furniture just along the hall. It occurred to me mid-leap that the pause had at least been followed by speech rather than plaintive wailing, so with a bit of luck he had either dodged the falling masonry or the sound was worse than the reality.
The child brandished a triangular shard of MDF at me and grinned. It was one of the larger bits of Him Indoors’ wood collection. He’s a pretty handy DIY-er, but offcuts are never discarded, they are stored away with the other wood on the basis that they are useful.
Despite the extensive and allegedly ‘useful’ collection, a new project requires new wood, which is measured and ceremoniously purchased from B&Q. “What about the wood collection?” I ask hopefully. “We don’t have the right wood.” When the job is finished, several hundred offcuts are carefully stacked away with the rest. Due to the (still) impending loft conversion, this treasure trove was taking up temporary residence in our hallway and was a great new play-thing for The Small Boy.
I have consulted with a number of friends and colleagues on this and it seems the wood collection is a universal chattel of the modern male. Often it doesn’t reside in the loft, but behind the dining room door (where it renders said door unopenable.) Sometimes it takes up residence under a bed, the baby’s cot or a disused cupboard.
Then one day, out of the blue, the unimaginable happened. The wood collection was loaded into the back of the car and taken to the tip! Hallelujah! I could be seen doing a small victory lap around the flat as the car disappeared over the horizon.
Sadly my joy was short-lived. Not three days later I discovered a small selection of important off-cuts in the shed. I returned to the house to remonstrate with Him Indoors, only to find him briskly stacking a pile of collapsed boxes and bits of cardboard down the side of a bookcase. “What are those?” I asked, trying not to assume the worst. “These,” he explained proudly, “are useful bits of cardboard.”