Alison Goulding: ‘Clearly there is a woodcutter in the genes’

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AS CHRONICLED in earlier columns, my mum sold the family home last year and is now ensconced in the middle of a city where she can take full advantage of her bus pass.

The only reminder of our former countryside existence is her garage – or rather the contents.

Over the years our family have accumulated a lot of things like axes, vices and saws – big clunking tools that could mislead outsiders into the belief that we are violent Mafia criminals with a taste for colourful revenge.

We are not, or at least not to my knowledge.

It’s just that we have always lived in a house where my brother and father have spent many hours banging around in the shed drilling, chopping, sawing and generally enjoying themselves.

You know, turning things into different things. Spinning tree trunks into tables – or sawdust, depending on whether the theme of the day was creation or destruction.

Clearly there is a woodcutter in the genes somewhere.

Anyway, I was invited round last week for a cup of tea and while hopping about agitatedly, mum told me she was having her garage pulled down in 48 hours to make the yard bigger, thus leaving a lot of our instruments of death homeless.

So I took stock and offered to store the wood-cutting frame and the axe for a bit until a suitable home could be found for them.

Upon carrying them to the car I suddenly understood just what exactly my male relations had found so enticing about these tools.

Manhandling an axe is brilliant.

There’s a bit in Uncle Buck where John Candy is menacing his nieces’ awful boyfriend, Bug, and he waves one from the boot of his car: “Here it is! Come over, come on, I want to show it to you. Maybe later. Okay.”

I’d buried that moment of brilliant comedy in the back of my mind, but suddenly it resurfaced from the murky depths like Nessie and I felt my hand tingle.

Arriving home it dawned on me that a small flat with two messy ladies in residence is no place to be storing such bulky items so I hastily arranged for them to lodge in a friend’s shed for the time being.

A day later and said friend and I decided to move them to their temporary home.

We packed everything back into the car and for good measure I added the throwing knives a mate gave me for my last birthday.

I figured that while we were peddling with sharp things we could have a mess about with them for 10 minutes.

Two hours later and we were still there, oozing concentration and shouting encouragement.

Turns out there is nothing quite as nice as the thunk, thunk, thunk of three knives hitting their target.

It takes a bit of skill too – we had to fish them out of the undergrowth many times.

The best bit was when my mate decided we weren’t standing far enough away from the target and stepped back another 30 yards.

The whole universe was on his side as he threw them perfectly and they all hit dead on. It was magnificent.

There is a caveman/woman in all of us just dying to get out and play with sharp things and I have definitely discovered mine.