Ironing has a rival for my affections – the matchless, marvellous joy of log-stacking

·2-min read

Faced with a waist-high pile of logs, I sighed, and listlessly began moving them. Then, a complete surprise: I had never known absorption like it


Those of us with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder crave absorption more than most. It would help if I were blessed with more practical skills. Basic competences in carpentry, knitting or even Lego would be so useful to me in my search for peace. As I am sorely lacking in these departments, when I do find a task to lose myself in, it is a source of great joy. Pooterishly, I have written before about a lockdown love I developed for ironing, my ardour for which is undimmed, but now it has a rival for my affection: log-stacking.

A great load was discharged from the side of the log man’s van. I looked at the waist-high pile and sighed. Almost all previous experience in my life of tidying or imposing order merely constituted moving piles of stuff from one place to another. Pointless.

Listlessly, without hope, I went about the task at hand. The first row I assembled didn’t look too shabby; the second row, even if I say so myself, fitted together rather nicely. With some judicious log selection and some slight rearranging, row three also came to look the part. Faster and faster I worked, as a spatial awareness I had never before tapped into slowly emerged, blinking into the light after more than 50 years dormant. I had never known absorption like it. My stack is my work of art. I have lovingly photographed it and it is now my screensaver.

Later, glowing with peace, I went for a walk and chanced upon a dry-stone waller of my acquaintance at work. I have often admired his work. He reminded me that I had once said I would like to spend a day with him. I gushed about my log-stacking achievements and saw the fear in his eyes as it dawned on him that I would, after all, be asking to spend a day with him soon. What is log-stacking if not entry-level dry-stone walling? What a joy it will be. No wonder this bloke always looks so happy.

• Adrian Chiles is a Guardian columnist

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