Friday, 28 December 2007


After the massive build-up, excitement and expectation of Christmas it can seem a bit deflated and dull afterwards.
We didn't have our traditional walk in the Forest as the weather was so wet and gloomy - just cosied up had a fire and an excellent meal. Had another massive meal on Boxing day at Vanessa's parents. So I was glad to get up to Gaynes Park yesterday and get the good physical exercise that beating requires - running around the estate cracking flags, whoopin and hollerin and having a gas with the lads. Coming home with a few brace of birds to a hot bath and a pint is the payoff. A happy tiredness.

Sunday, 23 December 2007


Painting and decorating is quite good fun up to a point but I have cut it a bit fine to finish it by Christmas ! I think the problem is having to work round things and move them all the time. ( I think the woodwork might only get one coat for now)

Was listening to some Chuck Berry & Peter Tosh - Good painting music.

We've put up some Chinese paper lanterns.
Have a look. . . . .

Friday, 21 December 2007


Been doing the painting today. Vanessa's sister Jackie and her daughter Natalie came over for lunch and posed afterwards for this shot !

Wednesday, 19 December 2007

Tuesday, 18 December 2007

Finishing the stool parts

Had a frozen breeze blowing down my neck as I finished these parts. Now I can get down to the important business of painting the living room (!)

Monday, 17 December 2007


If you click on the photos they come up really big.


I can't believe the errors in yesterdays blog, spelling, punctuation etc, for which I can only apologize. That should be "wallpaper stripper" not stipper. Always a bad misteak to have a few drinks then start blogging or emailing !
Have a picture to look at that my sister Lizzy took the other day

Sunday, 16 December 2007

Steam bending

I like heating wood with steam and bending it into nice curves - don,t do it often enough. The steaming rig is a piece of downpipe with a batten taped to it to stop it going too floppy when it gets hot. There's a removable wooden bung with a little hole in it and a bung in the other end drilled to take the pipe from a wallpaper stipper which gives 1.5 hours of steam - just enough for a 1.5" diameter piece of wood.
The bending jig is a la Mike Abbott and I didn't put the fulcrum quite near enough the end. That makes it quite hard to bend relatively short lengths of wood. Still - you live and learn ....


These are the longest (29") and thinnest (1.5") turnings I've ever done and tested my skill as a turner to get a good finish on them as they tend to flex quite a lot. They're for the seat rails of a new design footstool I'm trying out.
Maybe next time I'll shave them rather than turning.

A very pleasant pheasant plucker

We've been working outdoors today - Ness plucking phezzies and I've been doing some turning and steam bending. A lovely bright, cold day. The moon had come up by the time I'd finished.

Thursday, 13 December 2007

Hooray !

Put out the flags ! Problem finally sorted. We took the Belkin router back to PCWorld (yuk) and exchanged it for a D-Link one which was £50 cheaper (touch). Plugged it all in, booted it up, configured it etc and everything now works perfectly. Such a relief after the nightmare and time spent on the problem.
Time to get back to the REAL world and REAL life now.

Wednesday, 12 December 2007

Pheasant hunt

Third shoot of the season at Gaynes Park, Epping and a beautiful, crisp, clear, sunny day for it. I'd rather be here than in London's West End any day. The only trouble was that not many beaters turned up but those that did were a crack squad and we put up loads of birds for the guns who were the owner of the estate and his mates. They weren't brilliant shots so loads escaped to fight again another day. I secretly cheer those birds.

Tuesday, 11 December 2007

Same problem

Rupesh from Go-Plus phoned at 8am yesterday and we spent another hour trying to set up my Mail account. I kept asking if it was a problem with the wireless router - perhaps the way it had initially been set up. "No" he didn't think so.
Phoned back in the afternoon for another session. He'd apparently set up my account with password etc on his computer and it had worked. Again I mentioned about having no problems if I 'piggy-backed' onto the net via a neighbours broadband. He didn't think it was the router and tried some clever tricks with numbers rather than letters. No luck. I said I had booked a session with the Genius Bar at the Apple shop in Regent Street for today which he thought was a good idea as there must be a problem with my computer.
We flogged up to the West End for the second time in a week and I queued up to speak to a "Genius" ! He listened to what I had to say - we connected up to the stores broadband. Everything worked perfectly ! "There must be something wrong with your router or in the configuration of the ports" he told me, "your machine is fine".
So the router goes back to the shop on Friday to be exchanged for one that works properly - he suggested a Netgem.

Saturday, 8 December 2007


We just had to go out for a walk after the cooped-up feeling of yesterday. Got absolutely soaked even with waterproof, wellies and big hats.
This afternoon I split the billets from half an ash log (10"x30") for a new footstool I have in mind. Also made a new bending jig from an old fence post as the seat rails are going to be steam-bent. Unfortunately bad light stopped play around 4 o'clock but I'll look forward to that tomorrow.
I like the steam bending process.

Friday, 7 December 2007

Waste of a day ?

Another day spent slaving over a hot, sweaty, reluctant computer.
I've had trouble with the Mail application - it wouldn't send messages for about 12 hours. Got in touch with Utilities Warehouse tech support and spent about an hour on the phone. At one point he took over remote control of the screen - it's quite weird to watch the arrow whizzing round guided by another hand ! Well he finally admitted defeat and arranged for a Super Expert to contact me on the mobile. He tried a few clever tricks, even set up a new e-mail account. The result of which ??? - nothing works at all now ! Still he's promised to phone back on Monday morning at eight to see how I'm getting on . . . .
Watch this space for new developments.

Wednesday, 5 December 2007

Up in 'the smoke'

We've been up (or down) to London today for our annual pre-Christmas jaunt. . . .
The best part for me is always sitting in the front, upstairs in a double-decker bus going from Liverpool Street station to Tottenham Court Road. You go through the City - past The Bank of England and St Pauls. It's just so busy, so vibrant , so many people bustling about, so much to see, I almost suffer from visual stimulus overload. There's loads of building work going on everywhere - sites being demolished, cleared and rebuilt. We heard a kid say to his Mum - " When will the world be finished ?"!!! !!!
Tin Pan Alley (Denmark Street) is and always has been quite appealing to me being full of guitar shops. From there we headed down to Chinatown (like stepping into another world) where we bought some colourful paper lanterns to use as this years decorations, up through Soho to Chappell's then to jolly old Oxford Street to M&S and BHS and finally we got the bus back as it was getting dark and saw this years Christmas lights - they are really delightful.
This is about as far from Bodging as you can get but I really enjoyed myself - and spent a few pence.

By the way a tip I got from a real expert was to switch off my wireless router (reboot it) and then back on - this seems to have sorted out the problems but still can't get into Hotmail.

Tuesday, 4 December 2007

Tits-up & Pear-shaped !

Oh God !!! Come the apocalypse/revolution/whatever they'll have to put it on hold because we'll all be staring at a screen, wild-eyed, punching madly at buttons and tearing our hair out.
I foolishly thought that getting our own wireless broadband would make everything a lot easier but it hasn't - it's got a lot worse.
Neither of my browsers (Safari & Firefox) will work properly - "can't contact the server". "failed to open page" messages are all too familiar at the moment. My Mail & Hotmail won't load properly - when I have managed to get onto Mail it won't send messages and won't quit when I want. My password and username for my ISP aren't recognised even when I've checked and been told they are correct. AND I've been told I'm not connected to the net even when I obviously AM ! O! brave new world. What to do? What would you do dear reader ?
I went down the garden and whittled some moist wood into useful items - it felt SO REAL!!!!

Saturday, 1 December 2007

Gosh ! December already ?

Spent yesterday driving down to Kent and acting as a removal man for my sister, Clare and niece, Jessica. They only moved about quarter of a mile but had a fair bit of gear to shift. The washing machine was the worst part. In the evening we had a bit of a housewarming. My mum, Rona, sisters Jane and Lizzie and brother-in-law Nigel were there too. Worst part was driving back up the motorways (M2 & M25) in the pouring rain and high wind. The lorries were sending up such a lot of spray I just couldn't see even with the wipers going full speed - thought I was going to die any second.

Today we've bought a wireless router and now have our own broadband connection. So no more nicking it from outside in the road ! no more piggy-backing ! no more cursing when the neighbours go away and switch it off !

Dave Elliot came round with Mk2 of the Pole Lathe Drive (see photo). It worked quite well but still needs a few refinements. Watch this space.