AS a result of my garden reorganising endeavours during the lockdown, I find myself the not so proud owner of rather a lot of wood.

You may recall that we replaced half a dozen towering conifers with a rather fine fence, which left us with an abundance of logs, and a lumberyard’s worth of redundant fence posts, rails, and assorted offcuts.

A few years ago, we would have been glad of all this combustible material, but to my eternal regret, we long ago disposed of the open fire in favour of oil fired central heating.

The open fire not only provided a cosy focal point to the living room, but also came in handy for waste disposal, destruction of confidential documents, making far superior toast to anything that came out of a Morphy Richards appliance, and also served as an emergency cooker when there was a power cut.

However, it was also dirty, dangerous, dusty and disruptive, as evidenced by the fact that on one occasion a spark flew out of the hearth and set fire to the snoozing cat.

Now everything is cleaner, if duller, so there was nowhere to get rid of all the wood timber we had created.

Even after teens of trips to the tip to dispose of carloads of brashings from the trees, it was impossible to see the garden for vast heaps of woody waste.

Mrs Hextol tolerated the mess for a long time for her - about a week - and then I was required to dispose of it.

I had stacked the logs rather neatly I thought, in a little nook beside the conservatory, but Mrs Hextol insisted they had to be removed from her sight altogether.

So with the aid of several bags, everything was taken to the place where all Hextol flotsam and jetsam goes to die - the garage.

A Mrs Hextol blitz had left it unusually empty since the spring, but the acres of space she had diligently created were all too soon taken up by Yule log sized tree trunks, nail studded rails and six foot fence posts.

Soon the garage floor had disappeared as children's toys were repositioned, step ladders juggled and pots of paint balanced precariously wherever I could find a slot.

My first job was to remove the nails from the wood, because of the very real threat that I would probably stand on one, and doubtless contract tetanus.

They were all well and truly embedded, so I had to hit the haft of the claw hammer with the lump hammer to drag them out. I thought it was going very well until I took a closer look at the claw hammer, and noticed it was now bent double, and would never hit another nail.

Eventually, I had everything squeezed in sufficiently to be able to close the garage door, but it was impossible to get more than two feet into the structure without falling over a bike, or being hooked by the nose on a dangling fishing fly.

My tip-going car had been consigned to the tip itself, and there was no way the creosote soaked timber was being allowed in the posh car, so we had a problem.

Mrs Hextol then had a brainwave, and suggested that I saw up fence posts and rails and sell them to the fortunate folk who still had open fires.

“You could sell them at £5 for a little bag, or £7 for a bigger one. They will be better than firelighters, because they are soaked in creosote.”

“Brilliant,” I thought, because chopping sticks is one of the most therapeutic activities known to man. In our coal fire days, I spent every Sunday chopping sticks for the week, usually hacking the odd lumps off my fingers too, but it was worth it,

The problem was, the rails were all about 12 feet long, and had to be sawn into manageable sections before I could even think about chopping them up. I also had to find the axe, which had laid unused somewhere in the garage for decades.

After much straining, heaving and complaining, I located the axe under some golf clubs and cassette tapes, and we were in business.

Using the step ladder as a saw horse, I was soon slicing my way through rails like nobody’s business, and after a couple of hours, I was sitting in the centre of a perfect cone of perfectly chopped, sweet smelling sticks.

Even Mrs Hextol was impressed by my efforts - so much so that she promptly gave away all my hard won gains to friends, family and neighbours!