Published: 10/02/2005, Volume II5, No. 5942 Page 36

Alison Cox has been a biomedical scientist in immunology at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital trust for the past seven years, but spends her weekends welding in the garden.

'A few years ago my husband bought me a welder for Christmas because he knew it was something I wanted to get into. I used to live in Australia and enrolled on a course, which taught me the basics, and when I moved to London I picked it up again, ' she explains.

'We do not have a garage at the moment so when I have the spare time I set up in the garden. I have made everything from mirrors to candlesticks and tables, but it is just a hobby. I have never been tempted to sell anything as I do not think my finishing skills are that good, but I have made a few wedding presents for my friends.

'The equipment can be expensive although the bits I use didn't cost very much - about£100 - and I usually find bits of scrap metal to weld with.

'I am not welding as much as I would like to at the moment because I have two small children. I have to wear protective clothing and eyewear and I would not want to risk one of them getting accidentally hurt. Perhaps when they get a little older I can teach them.

'It is a bit awkward welding in the garden, so my husband and I have recently put a bid in on a garage in our street, which backs on to our garden.

Hopefully it will be accepted.'