I hold before me a toy wooden car. It’s unfinished wood. Imperfect. Heavy and clunky, like a station wagon from the 80s. But it’s mine. Well, it’s my children’s, but I made it. I brought it into the world.

At long last, I’m beginning to understand the appeal of DIY and craft.

Partway down a long road

I’m not exactly a candidate for Gary Larson’s School for the Mechanically Declined, but in my life, I’ve never taken much with DIY.

For a long time in my life, I wasn’t proud exactly, but I was happily good at other stuff. However, eventually, I started resenting the fact that woodworking appears like magic to me.

But it isn’t magic; it’s a learnable skill. And so I found a center in Amsterdam, the Openbare Werkplaats. They had a basic DIY course coming up, so I enrolled.

I didn’t just learn to freestyle a wooden car from offcuts. That was just some puttering around in the last block of the last class.  In the five sessions, I also learned some basic electricity and grouting and plumbing and home electricity basics.

But most of all, I learned it in Dutch. Yes, the course was in Dutch. And so I tried to follow along. And I just about managed.

But if I’m being honest my skilling up was probably 50-50 Dutch-DIY. And that’s actually not bad, but I’m not going to do any of the home electrics stuff, because the teacher said a lot of stuff that sounded really important, but I’m not certain what they were, exactly.

UPDATE: I painted the car. It’s a very sloppy and rushed paint job, but the desired result (childhood joy) has been achieved.