Wood and childhood sort of go together. Like fingers and splinters really!
They cross at certain points, sometimes painfully, only to remain apart again for ages. From the moment we start climbing trees we have a strong connection to wood.
The first real time it appeared on my radar as a kid was as a lump of balsa. I was never any good at modelling but I can clearly recall slicing away at the soft timber to create a bridge and funnel for a barge. The boat's body was courtesy of that unusual fruity treen, the date box. Those boats were easy to make even for a klutz like me.
The next timbers in my life were wooden lolly sticks, the well-fed brothers of toothpicks. You know, the short paddles supplied with Sky Ray or Zoom or Funny Faces. Licking the stick was always a somewhat grainy pleasure but it had to be done. Used sticks could be made into all sorts of things: an Action Man cricket bat, Action Man skis, Action Man splints. You get the idea. Greater minds than mine could fashion them into knotted shapes like tri-angles and pentagons, which were able to be thrown. I'm sure I've also seen entire forts made of lollipop sticks! Have you?
Next on my wooden journey were planks. Planks could be fashioned into small things and immense structures such as dens depending on the pile of timber available. Dens require a post in themselves I reckon but a single plank was readily kitbashed into that staple of a Fifties, Sixties and Seventies childhood, the toy wooden rifle! With some prudent diagonal sawing, vigorous sanding and the addition of a gate bolt, a simple kid-size rifle was possible complete with metallic cocking sound and action. Did you or your family make these readers?
Probably the single most important wooden item of my early teens was the broom handle. I adored them. My Dad ran a cash and carry warehouse so their was an almost limitless supply, which was useful when you were recreating the entire weapons arsenal of ancient China and Japan! I made nuchakus, tonfas, jo's, bo's, naginata, kusarigami, halberds, spears and tridents, all from broom handles. Those were glorious days in the shed and I felt like the Shogun's personal armourer!
I suppose there was a much smaller piece of timber present throughout my whole life. Yes, the humble match or to give it its Sunday name, the matchstick. My relationship with matches was mixed. I enjoyed making a match stand up through a hole in the box top, which was one of my party pieces. I enjoyed making small bangers out of them and a bit of tin foil. I also liked to watch a whole box of Vestas go up in flames. What I didn't enjoy was the arse-tanning I got from my Dad after setting fire to the Kitchen bin with a match! It was an accident Dad!
In my adult stage I suppose wood forms much of my home. I love wooden floors and shelves and nic-nacs. I also like to burn old logs and lumps in a fire-pit on dark summer nights these days and aided by a cold beer reminisce about my life in the forest of existence!
How have you and wood got on readers? Were you a whittler maybe or a maker of things?