Gary's News and views

Gary Streeter MP for South West Devon

Gary writes a weekly article which appears in the Plympton Plymstock and Ivybridge News in South West Devon. The articles are published here.


Thursday, 2 June 2016


It was disappointing to witness the outcome of the Wembley play-off on Monday, with Plymouth Argyle losing to the better team on the day. Most of our family trooped up to London to watch it and were frustrated by the final result. Still they had a great day out, coloured their hair green, went to Wembley for the first time and, for the little ones, it will be something they will long remember.

I stayed back to look after one grandchild and we decided to build a tree house. I built one for our own children many years ago, but at the time a neighbour (Norman) took pity on me, more or less wrested the tools from my hands and built a thing of beauty at the bottom of our garden in Fore Street St. Maurice. I imagine it is still there. I was very grateful to Norman.

This time history did not repeat itself. I was on my own, but the promise had been made, so I had to deliver. I have always been sub-optimal at craftsmanship, but I recalled the words of a builder who had once reacted negatively to me describing him as being "good with his hands". "My hands would not know what to do unless my brain told them", he replied. Fair point. Skilled craftsmen are exercising their brains as much as their hands.

So I actually sat down and thought about it. I thought about it. We made some plans. Sketches. Diagrams. I went out and bought the necessary materials, a few new tools and got to work. At the time of writing this, the floor is in, the roof is on and I hope to complete the side-walls on Saturday. The grandchildren are thrilled and Jan is gob-smacked.

We are never too old to learn a new skill. I had a mental block about DIY, almost taking perverse pride in being useless at it. No longer. As this masterpiece comes into being, I have turned an important corner. Learning new skills is part of living.

Back to Argyle. Our character is tested when we suffer great disappointment but the true test is whether we pick ourselves up promptly and get going again. I wish them well in the ensuing season and hope that their Wembley experience will motivate them to win the league outright this year. Several people in our household will be cheering them on, occasionally from a magnificent tree-house.

posted by Gary @ 16:08