The piles of fruit and vegetables displayed on the barrow is like a Disney advert for Vegetarian Heaven. Bright red cherries, golden corn cobs, shiny yellow, perfectly curved bananas, apples, peaches, pears, carrots and vine leaves – and all plastic. As kitsch as kitsch can be.

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The stall is part of the vast commercial area, which surrounds the Central Market on Athinas in Athens Royal creme juul pods . Fortunately, in a sea of food shops it appeared to be the only one whose produce was obviously inedible – although some of the delicacies on display would have required a highly developed constitution to devour, not to mention prepare.

In the streets around the market you’ll find shops and stalls selling virtually everything to satisfy the most diverse (perhaps a better word would be ‘weird’) of appetites. Uncovered crates of sausages and cooked meats stand out in the heat of an Athenian summer, on a day when the pollution levels had already accounted for two fatalities. Long strings of black puddings, salamis and smoked pork loins hang from the metal support arms of battered and rusting canopies, cages of tightly packed live chickens, ducks and rabbits stand six high and the cages of quail standing beside them might well have belonged to the bird shop next door to the butcher, but as quail don’t have the same cheery song as the canaries inhabiting the more spacious cages dangling from hooks in the walls, it’s unlikely that they’d be seen as anything more entertaining than the stuffing for the ducks in the adjoining cages.

Five different types of potato, eight assorted lettuces, eighteen varieties of olive, pyramids of dry salted cod that need to be soaked overnight, and which changes the flavour only to that of wet salted cod, kiosks overflowing with breads and biscuits with the pungent aroma of cinnamon, or tiny, hard bread rolls covered in sesame seeds.

Moving from the heat of the sun into the cool of the market’s interior, the most noticeable change, apart from the slight drop in temperature, is that there isn’t one. The noise level remains the same. The blaring of car horns being supplanted by the banging of scoops on ornate cast iron to attract customers in the fish market, or the banging of cleavers on slightly less ornate metalwork in the meat department. The high-pitched scream as the vendors hawk their wares and the customers exchange insults for getting in each others way, remains the same. Or in the case of the fish market, amplified by the magnificent arched ceiling that seems more suited to some Renaissance Venetian sepulchre than a place of fish heads, crab claws and conger eel.

So you want to make some thing out of wood, but not routine stuff like stools, mailboxes and coffee tables. They do not motivate you, or you have enough of such stuff at home and want to make things that are more interesting and useful. Well, here are some ideas that you may think of. Small accent pieces are great to start with, like a lantern, a vase holder or even a birdcage. If you look around you will find that these pieces, though small in size, are actually quite steeply priced, so why not make your own? They are great for your home, and will also make cool housewarming gifts for friends.

If you are up to the challenge, you can use unusual materials to add to your finished product. Let your furniture showcase your individual style, and using quirky pieces of material or those magnificent family treasures is a fine way to go about it. Have you thought of making things like wooden sandals? How about colorful wooden goblets or cups? The possibilities are endless, so put your thinking cap on and come up with extraordinary ideas to showcase your skills with wood.

Treat your tools well and they will serve you for a long, long time. You need not rob a bank to have your toolbox full, but buying the cheapest ones available is not such a great idea either. The best way is to start slowly with the basic ones you need, and then gradually keep adding to your collection. Paper, pencils, a good hammer, circular saw, table saw, sandpaper, screwdriver, router, drill machine, nuts and bolts are your basic requirements. Your woodworking plan will tell you exactly which tools you would need, to stock up as you go along. Again, you can save money when buying tools for woodworking projects, but try not to compromise on quality.

Safety precautions are a must when working on your wood shop projects. Always keep the work area clean, and avoid eating, drinking or smoking while there. Wear clothes that fit well and are not loose, and your shirt must be tucked in at all times. Avoid long sleeves or else roll them up, wear glasses or goggles, and remove any jewelry or accessory that you may have on you. Finally, know your tools before you start using them. Read the user manuals carefully and be open to making mistakes and learning from them.

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