As a resident of Tunbridge Wells, your disgusted threshold is very low and you’re prone to write outraged letters to newspaper editors at the drop of a hat. It’s in the blood. Whether the issue is extortionate hansom cab fares or shopkeepers’ failure to wear cotton gloves, you’ll be down to the post box before you can say time for tiffin.

So I couldn’t really help myself when two recent newspaper articles offended my timber sensibilities. I had to put disgusted pen to paper and write to the editors of the Sunday Telegraph and Evening Standard.

The former ran a piece by building writer Jeff Howell in which he knocked timber flooring. He was prompted by the recent RoSPA report on accidents in the home. The organisation publicised the study by highlighting that falls on timber and laminate floors quadrupled to 12,900 from 1997 to 2002. After a bit of TTJ sleuthing (ie we read the report rather than just the RoSPA press release), we found that falls on carpet had risen from 55,000 to 70,000. As timber and laminate floor sales rocketed during this period and those of carpet slumped 15 million m2, the figures actually showed people were slipping up proportionately less on the former and more on the latter!

Meanwhile a home makeover piece in the Evening Standard included references to a bath made in marine plywood which, it said, would not warp as it had been “sourced from the sea”. It sounded very romantic and eco-friendly, but I felt obliged to inform the editor that marine plywood is not actually trawled up from the depths of the Atlantic using dolphin-friendly fishing methods.

On a serious note, what all this highlights once more is that the timber trade still has a job on its hands dealing with disinformation and misinformation out in the market place. Which was why the TRADA In Touch with Timber Conference was so encouraging. This event, highlighting the design and performance potential of wood products for construction, attracted nearly 170 architects. The only source of outrage here was the lack of other media present to report the dramatic things being done with timber in modern building. I think I feel a letter coming on…