Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Grow a Chair


Whilst clearing out the loft lately I came across this Spanish hayfork.

They are grown in rows in beds and trained into shape as they grow. I can see 6-7 annual rings in the end of the handle. Then they are cut down, peeled, pointed and voila. (Can't tell what species it is)

Anyway it reminded me of a book which I have

They're available on Amazon and Abe but seem very expensive for quite a small paperback which was published in 1995 - ISBN 0-9647280-0-1

Inspired by Axel Erlandson's "Tree Circus", the author explains the process of grafting, framing, pruning and notching to produce a chair. I'm going to have a go this year - find some whips of ash, elder or sycamore - maybe even start several.

Watch this space - in a few years time !


Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Frustration in London

I had a 9.15am dental appointment in London today. Vanessa came to "hold my hand" and we caught the 7.30 train, took the tube to London Bridge and sat sipping a coffee for half an hour.

When I presented myself at the reception they said, "Oh you're at the wrong hospital. You should be at St Thomas' !" Now this was my fault because I hadn't read the letter properly. So after a mad £10 taxi ride to Westminster Bridge I got there at exactly 9.15.

After waiting about 20mins I went to ask when I would be seen as I assumed there wouldn't be appointments before that. A lady went off to find out what was happening and was gone for quite a while. It looked bad when she reappeared and went into a huddle with the office people and they all kept glancing pityingly in our direction.

It turned out that the person who was going to carry out the treatment (which I have built up to and braced myself for) had "called in sick".
So we had a wasted journey. Can you imagine how furious I was after making the effort ?

They refunded my rail fare but not Vanessa's OR the taxi . . .

So I had to go and do a bit of retail therapy to cheer up (few CD's and a tee shirt). When we got home there was a message from this girl which she left at 7.40 - half an hour after we'd left the house. Did she sound a bit hungover ?

PS. Most people in London now walk about wearing an iPod, staring at a phone and sucking on a skinny frappuchino !

Thursday, 15 January 2009

The Blue Flame

We had a really hot, bright fire yesterday evening and . . .

A rare blue flame appeared briefly.

Friday, 9 January 2009

Lost & Found Orchestra

Yesterday we went to see the Lost & Found Orchestra at the Royal Festival Hall.

What a gas - sheer uplifting, exhilarating, exciting, inventive and funny entertainment. I recommend anyone who has the chance to go and see it.

On their website you can hear each of the Instruments but the sound quality isn't very good but on the Gallery page you can watch snippets of the performance - nowhere near as good as actually being there.

The Festival Hall gig ends on Sunday but I'm sure they'll be touring with it.

Monday, 5 January 2009

New Year Resolution ?

I suppose the closest I've got to a new year resolution is to clear out the attic.

So today I made a start by ruthlessly sorting out all the bits and pieces of wood up there - practice chair legs, axe handles that have warped and a load of holly poles about 8 years old that I was going to make walking sticks from. It's all so dry it should burn very bright and very hot.

This is the sort of state you can get into if you become an old tool junkie . . .

and this this only about half of it but when I started to explore I discovered loads of interesting things I had forgotten about. Such as: some nice wooden moulding planes in vgc, some strange shaped hammers and braces and a big box of gouges.

I'm going to get those tons of steel out of the roof and build a tool shed on our plot. I'll do an inventory and be open to offers.

Saturday, 3 January 2009

Sweet as a Nut


One of the best things about Winter is the open log fire. At the moment we're burning some Oak, Ash, Elm, Hawthorn, Lime, Sycamore, Pear, Maple, Hazel & Yew(!)

If that sounds like firewood snobbery - it is !

I know it's a bit of a cliche but when there's a really good hot bed of embers it's worth roasting some fat, juicy chestnuts . . .

. . . on the old coal shovel . . .

. . .and have a nice little late-evening feast.

Of course we burnt our fingers and got a bit sooty but the smell and taste is as evocative as Proust and his madeleines but I'm not going to write long, boring books about it . . .

- § -

Thursday, 1 January 2009

Born with a wooden spoon in her mouth ?

I made a spoon for Charlotte Elizabeth from Apple wood which came from a tree in her Granny & Grandad's garden.
She seemed very pleased with it and immediately pressed it in to service as a teething aid . . .

Happy New Year to everyone.