Monday, 23 April 2018



The English heatwave continued throughout the weekend with unheard of temperatures in April, not certain exactly what they were but it was as if June had arrived early.  So we spent Her Majesty's 92nd Birthday just south of Oxford in the leafy setting of Harcourt Arboretum, part of the Oxford Botanic Gardens, in the leafy shade with blossom in the breeze.  The company was excellent with folks from all walks of life, a large number being part of the different universities, and lots of children wanting to have plenty of fun and games.  I had my child powered lathe in action with quite a queue at peak times and made dozens of twig crayons with blue being the most popular colour chosen.  We had plenty of help with turning and did complete one dibber!
Sunhat sales rocketed in Oxford!

I haven't seen so many peacocks all in one place for ages, white ones & black as well as the most vibrant pirate's colours and my goodness I'd forgotten what a raucous call they have - obviously very appealing to the peahens and there was much rushing around and shaking of tail feathers.

This handsome chappie was strutting his stuff all over the place and was fearless when chasing the competition away.  Has anyone ever tried peacock?  Guinea fowl are very tasty so I wonder if these are in any way comparable - must ask my butcher although I'm sure they could be obtained from Harrods or Fortnums.

There was a chap set up just a few yards across the lawn selling some great old tools and he had been a cabinet maker before retirement.  There was a lovely selection of traditional hand tools for sale but the thing that tickled me pink was his ladderback chair.  It was a sweetie and destined for life in a bottle - you know like a ship in a bottle to collect dust on the mantlepiece!  Absolutely fascinating.  It's seat was woven in strands of raffia and all made to collapse for insertion into the neck of the vessel - I'm so full of admiration of the craftsmanship - it's tricky enough making a full size chair, childrens furniture is a bit more difficult - I tend to find smaller things always take longer than full size ones to make but a miniature chair that folds down that will then pop open when inside a glass bottle - fantastic...



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