Thursday, 27 November 2008

Wasted timber

We were walking through a part of Epping Forest this morning called Strawberry Plain.

The Tree Spirit of this mad, old Hornbeam was not amused to see . . .

. . . oak trees which had been cut down by one of the Forest gangs and left to rot where they've fallen.

That's the thing that really pisses me off about the way the Forest is managed.

No real reason for the trees to be cut down in the first place.

They call it "biomass" - I call it a wanton waste.

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Acker Bilk

. . .

This evening we went to see Digby Fairweather talking with Acker Bilk at the Methodist Church in Loughton. This was organised by David Nathan who runs the National Jazz Archive based at Loughton Library.

Acker was the first British artist to have a No.1 hit in England and America with the lovely tune "Jenny" a.k.a "Stranger on the Shore" - it was great to hear his reminiscences and stories.
Another great tune to check out is his version of "Burgundy Street Blues"

Unfortunately Acker had a chest cold and had travelled over 3 hours from Somerset so he was a bit croaky.

THEN . . . suddenly halfway through the second half the old lady sitting in front of us suddenly had some kind of fit or seizure and I had to try and help her husband and others to drag her out of the hall. Then he wouldn't let us call an ambulance !

It was a strange and upsetting end to an interesting evening

. . .

Surreal Day - from Camden Market to Christmas Dinner

A day of big contrasts yesterday.

Firstly Vanessa had another appointment at University College Hospital to see her specialist physiotherapist. Then as we were quite close, caught the 24 bus to Camden Market.

It's bigger and madder than I remember it from about 20 years ago - a punky-hippy-goth haven.

Then in the evening we attended the East Herts Woodturner's Annual Christmas Dinner at Sawbridgeworth Cricket Club. Apart from the fact that it felt strange eating a Christmas Dinner in the middle of November the food was terrible - a cross between old style school dinners and hospital meals.

At least the company was of good cheer and Vanessa won 4 pints of Theakston's Old Peculier in the raffle !

Sunday, 16 November 2008

Woodland Wondering . . .

Why we are here . . ?

Our camp in Shenley Woods, picture taken around 11am just before the rain, drizzle etc which kept up most of the rest of the day. At least it wasn't windy as well . . .

Saturday, 15 November 2008

Woodland Wonders

Tomorrow is our penultimate event of the year - Woodland Wonders - organised by the Parks Trust at Shenley Wood, Milton Keynes.

Why not drop in and say hello if you're in the area ?

Monday, 10 November 2008

Green Woodwork Gift Voucher

Our new Gift Voucher scheme is proving successful.

Over the years I've had quite a few requests from people who wanted to give someone a course as a Christmas or birthday present and wanted something to "give" on the day. For those people who can't decide which piece of treen to give it's ideal. Just choose the value of the voucher which can be any amount. Give/send me a cheque and I'll send out the personalised Gift Voucher

It's quite funny and feels as if I'm printing my own 'green currency' !

Why not give a Green Woodwork Gift Voucher for Christmas ? If the recipient can't come shopping in person I'll email photos of what's in stock and send their selection by post.

Friday, 7 November 2008

New Gouges

Just taken delivery of some new gouges . . .

3 roughing out gouges for the lathe with different radius curves. These, in my opinion, are the best tools available for roughing out on the pole lathe and are 40mm wide.
They are available from Bristol Design - but not for much longer !
I was talking to Charles Stirling, the owner, and he told me that his accountant had advised him that they were too expensive to make and he wasn't charging enough for them.

Also a Hans Karlsson dog-leg gouge for carving in the bottom of bowls. This is a beautiful, handmade and expensive tool available from Jon Warnes at Woodland Craft Supply.

The only gripe I have with it is that the pistol-grip handle isn't very ergonomically designed or made - the corners are too square. I'll have to spend some time shaping it to fit my hand comfortably - unfortunately this may mean carving away the HK makers mark.
It's quite liberating to accept that you can cut pieces off (or add bits on) tools, handles etc to make them feel right for YOU.

Wednesday, 5 November 2008


Yesterday Vanessa had an appointment at University College Hospital to see a specialist physiotherapist at 9am ! We had to get the 7.30 train with all the switched-off commuters.
Afterwards we walked down Tottenham Court Road and Charing Cross Road to Covent Garden - what a cheap dump that is now. So we walked up Neal Street where I managed to get a pair of shoes in a sale then came home.

Today I had an appointment at Guy's Hospital at London Bridge to have a look at a problem I've got with my teeth. Basically the two teeth that support my bridge are going rotten and my dentist said he couldn't fix it so referred me. I'll probably get an appointment in 3-4 months. Hope I don't die in agony before then. Teeth - huh - bad design fault.
After that I walked along the South Bank, past Shakespeare's Globe Theatre which is currently being rethatched, to the Tate Modern. I went in, immediately felt dehumanised and walked straight out again ! So I crossed the Millenium Bridge, which doesn't wobble anymore, through St Paul's Churchyard and back to the station and home.

That's my fill of London and hospitals for a while.

Monday, 3 November 2008

Weekend Blues

Wow ! what a spectacular waste of time that was.

Weather was appalling, the punters were like zombies on Valium. We got cold and bored and only took £8 on Saturday. Sunday was slightly better and I enjoyed myself turning some fresh Hornbeam and Apple wood.