Claire Black: One in five young adults doesn’t own a hammer, a screwdriver or a spanner

OUR stair door started sticking recently. It wasn’t entirely refusing to close, just being a bit recalcitrant unless you really slammed it.

'It's a DIY treasure trove. I love it'. Picture: TSPL

It was as though it just got sick of everyone walking past it each day, taking it for granted, standing there implacable against the wind and the rain, and so it decided to demand a bit more attention. By sticking.

We put up with it for a week or two, just hoping that it would sort itself out so we could all go back to ignoring it. But it didn’t. It continued, and the slamming got harder – a combination now of irritation as well as practical necessity – so I decided to take action.

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Whenever I decide to take action on any such matter (draughty window, squeaking shutter, wobbling chair) my first port of call is my cupboard. I’m not a very possessive person, and I share both the space in the flat and the mortgage on it happily, but this particular cupboard is mine. All mine. Only mine.

The reason for this is that it is filled with items, appliances and various bits and pieces – random but necessary, I assure you -–that make sense only to me. It is a place of WD-40 (what cured the sticking stair door, of course) and wood glue, rawl plugs and screws. It houses a drill, a sander and a heat gun. There is a multitude of paintbrushes as well as sugar soap, flexible filler, caulk and plastic wood. There are scrapers and chisels, screwdrivers and spanners. It’s a DIY treasure trove. I love it.

Most of my tools belonged to my dad. When he died, apart from the literally hundreds of cookbooks that lined his flat, tools were his next most voluminous possession. He had an even bigger cupboard than mine; a proper daddy bear-sized one to my baby bear-sized effort.

I don’t remember him teaching me how to put up a shelf, or adjust a leaky cistern. I don’t remember him explaining how to use fuse wire or fit a new Yale lock. But somehow I learned all of these things from him. And I’m truly grateful because according to a new survey one in five young adults is so mystified by DIY they don’t own a hammer, a screwdriver or a spanner. How can this be? They are utterly deprived of the sense of satisfaction as the door clicks shut effortlessly. It’s tragic really. I seriously love my cupboard.

LAST week a motorist was given a community sentence for causing the death of a second cyclist in Edinburgh. As I write this, nearly 50,000 people have signed the e-petition to push the government to support the recommendations of the Get Britain Cycling report. The 18 recommendations focus on reallocating investment, safer road design, lower speed limits, better training and strong political leadership. Seriously, who can argue with any of that? And if you’d like to get up close and personal as well as virtual, the second Pedal on Parliament is being held on May 19. Go to for details.

IF I could have any wish granted, then I’d instantly become a member of the Axe Women of Maine. 
This would mean I’d spend my life travelling the length and breadth of America competing in wood chopping contests. I’d perform feats such as the standing block chop, 
the underhand chop, as well as hot sawing. Alissa Harper is the leader of the Axe Women, a woman who claimed the title of axe throwing champion in the World’s Open Lumberjill Contest back in 2006. I am not making any of this up. What am I doing with my life? «

Twitter: @Scottiesays

» Last week Claire... saw an exhibition of Sarah Lucas’s work and it made her laugh and gasp and feel slightly weird. A good result she reckons