Thursday, 25 July 2019


Tulips in Full Flower
Mid-week sessions with local schools at Valence House in East London between Romford and Dagenham for what was loosely termed a Pre-History week of crafts and other interesting skills.  We were turning with gusto and each class made a story stick for use in the schoolroom.  Other activities were archery, cheese making, cave painting and investigating dinosaur poo!
Mrs Bodger Giving Directions

Valence House is beautiful.  It's the only surviving manor house in Dagenham and dates back to medieval times and still surrounded by a moat to keep invading marauders at bay.  It's almost sandwiched between Romford and Dagenham with the large grounds now a public park and the house run as a free museum.  The only reason it wasn't knocked down in the sixties when everyone was still trying to clean up after the bloomin' German bombing raids (and folks wonder why we want to leave a European so called 'Union' that's run by unelected Germans) and the local mayor took a fancy to it for his new Dagenham Town Hall and his own personal residence!  He didn't get his wish but the House was left untouched and abandoned until Havering Council and lots of volunteers realised it's historical value and set about sorting it out.
Caveman Will Lord Discovers relic of Ford Capri Whilst Hunting

The weekend was open to the public and we had queues of young would be turners having a go on the lathe with a bit of guidance from Vanessa who has the patience of a saint where kids and their parents are concerned although she does put a stop to folks who think she's a free creche!  We couldn't take many action pics as parents don't want their kids photos taken - we always ask first.  they don't hesitate to photo us though (without asking) and get the hump if one of us says, enough is enough, we are not exhibits at the museum in ourselves!
Let The Force Be With You

Ness with the local constabulary at the weekend event and getting this lovely lady to grips with a chisel. 

Saturday, 20 July 2019


So much to do, 24 hours in a day is just not enough!  A busy week up in Yorkshire with Countryside Learning at their annual event for inner city kids up North (well from us in Essex that is) and we stayed in a B&B in Sherburn in Elmet - locally called Sherbert in Helmet but that's just a little mad play on words or malapropism that we're so fond of here.
Two days of full on excited children - it's a really great way for them to learn by doing.  Torque, reciprocation, use of pulleys and your own muscles all created an electric atmosphere that's so hard to bottle and take home.
Miss was particularly excited as she hadn't done anything like this before and like her pupils welcomed the chance for a day out of the classroom.

We decided to support the local community, that's why we stayed in a small B&B, it was a stay to remember!  Mine hosts were very friendly but the rooms hadn't been updated since the late 60ies according to my wife who was slightly taken aback to say the least.  It was very dog friendly with plenty of cats for chasing activities and I don't think our lurcher noticed the lack of amenities.  Vanessa commented that she'd never seen 4 miss-matched pillowcases on one bed before and that the ceiling shades were from standard lamps And the curtains were far too short, linings ripped and at least a dozen more curtain hooks were needed.  Formica furniture and the wash hand basin was in the bedroom at least 15 foot from the khazi much to her chagrin.  Next time we're staying in a Travelodge and sod the local community!  We'll still go to Sherbert for fantastic food but although the host and hostess were lovely, Vanessa says she needs a comfortable bed, shower that showers, nice crisp bedlinen (not odds & sods worn out over the last 50 years) and fluffy towels and that did not include a detour to somewhere akin to Royston Vesey!  She said in the 21st Century even a bodger needs to take care of the inner spirit and soul...