I thought it was holidays

But not if you work for yourself, and you work in green wood.

August is very busy, sorry for not posting. This week I’ve been to two events, one 111 miles away in Leicestershire’s Beacon Hill National Forest Wood Fair, and then Kilnsey show, just a couple of miles up the Wharfe river from my workshop.  It’s a stunning location on a pan flat flood plain site with Kilnsey Crag louwering over the whole proceedings. It is very traditional with a fell race to the top of the scar next to the Crag, lots of cattle classes and the finale is harness racing (also known as trotting) with on course betting.  It was a very cool start with frost on the grass.  After it warmed up a little, a plague of midges descended so we got a shavings fire going which smoked the blighters out.  Finally it turned into a glorious day, which was a jolly Good Thing as Kilnsey has been plagued by the wet Summers for two years.

Here’s how the trailer looks when fully loaded for an exhbition:

Just a pile of junk really, but soon turns into this:

It was an excellent location at the entrance to the REAL village section of the show which highlights upland Dales industry in four marquees, I was pitched at the entrance to the village so everybody came past and nearly all stopped to watch and quite a good few to buy, make orders or invite me to their own shows.

Luckily there was an amplified sheep shearing contest three times in the day, lots of calls of “Foreblows” and “Longblows”, as well as a fencing (post and wire, not rapiers!) demonstration which I decide not to compete with, but as they finished I had a ready-made audience.

The people visiting and showing were really friendly, and I don’t think I got a daft comment all day.  Some of the Dales children were very dry too.  Obviously in training for becoming Dales farmers.  Jane had a serious conversation with one 9 year-old and one of the key questions he asked, after establishing that I was in business “for mesel”, was “Has ‘e got a log splitter?”  I had a chat with a farmer from the top end of Nidderdale about alder and clog soles.

The Hampshire branch of our family turned up and a couple or three had a go on the machines:

Theo decorates a woodland elf.

Daisy attempts the amazing ‘cut the lady in half’ trick.

Jenkie had a go on the pole lathe – change from a power lathe, I must have a go on a power lathe some day!

At Beacon Hill National Forest event I entered my first log to leg race, and picked up a few tips to improve my rather poor results (last in both races!) for the APF big event later this month.

I also purchased a rather fine 9 foot by 2 inch thick slab of elm for bench seats:

The Smoke

Down (well I live UP North, yes?) to London last weekend to visit my daughter whose birthday it was.

Lots of trees, but not much variety, I had always noticed there were lots of plane trees, but not how many.  They are everywhere, and not much else in the streets.  They looked pretty good in their autumn colours, and loads of leaves to kick about on the pavements.

OK these are mainly limes, but there were some pretty big plane leaves:

See the size of the sycamore next to it!

We went on the top of this building; The Blue Fin:

There were trees on the top!

It’s an extension of the canteen, rather more formal than the bodgery canteen, but it has some fruits, which turned out to be edible, but rather seedy:

The Strawberry Tree (Arbutus unedo), it’s a broadleaved evergreen, and the seeds are on the outside of the skin a la strawberry.  Doesn’t taste anything like strawberry though!  Native to the Mediterranean and Ireland and a member of the heather family.

In the middle of the Barbican (or Barbican’t, as we rechristened it, not being able to find anything doing on a Saturday morning) we saw a heron sleeping on St Giles’ church

It is a seriously strange ghostly place, will not be revisiting there in a hurry:

All those dwellings and hardly a soul about (it was All Hallows Eve) at 11am.

Maybe London looks prettier when it’s all put away for the night:

Head down bum up

Very busy in the bodgery making chairs.  I’m using a chair stick to make sure the set of six matches.  This is a stick with all the relevant measurements marked on it – height of front leags, where the rung mortises are, splat height and widths.  I find it very useful, it was used in days of yore too.  It’s very quick using a gauge instead of measuring everything.  When I had 12 asylum seekers visiting in summer to help make a charge of logs up for the charcoal kiln I made a length stick and a thickness gauge, made it very easy for everybody, and overcame any language difficulties.  Mind you it didn’t stop one guy from insisting on carrying about 1.5 cwt logs on his shoulder and running with them.  He had been in the Somali army and had to run with sand bags to make defences when the other side were advancing, how easy we have it!

Here’s a photo of my day student of Saturday

He had a good time on his birthday making a stool.

The autumn colours were rather drab, as it was wet most of the day (but dry under the tarp in the bodgery).  Then the sun came out and the colours were rather fine.

I’ve taken the top section for my blog header.

Mind you, today it was very wet and windy all day and the River Wharfe rose quite a lot quite quickly.

Never mind day indoors tomorrow learning how to be a tutor – for free.