Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Greensted Church on the way to Slough House Woods 22-08-14

I have copied this from their website – ‘The church represents some 1300 years of English history and Christian worship.
The 51 timber planks you see here today date from about 1060, although excavations undertaken in the chancel in 1960 revealed the existence of two earlier timber structures dating from the 6th, and 7th centuries, around the time that St. Cedd began his work of converting the Saxons to Christianity. The church bears witness to the work of Saxon, Norman, Tudor and Victorian builders who variously extended, repaired and restored the building over the ages. In 1848/9 the church underwent severe restoration works, and in 1990 works were undertaken to stabilise the church as it stands today, whilst in 2005 the spire was completely re-shingled in Oak.
The body of Saint Edmund, King of East Anglia, and England’s first patron saint martyred in 869AD (the Normans replaced him later with St. George) rested in the church in 1013 on its way to Bury St. Edmunds in Suffolk.
In 1837 as a result of a public outcry against their harsh sentence of transportation to Australia, the famous Dorset farmers known as the ‘Tolpuddle Martyrs’ were returned to England where they were given tenancies in Greensted and High Laver’.

 Some of the glasswork, the painted detail is stunning!

No  image of this building can recreate the atmosphere. You must experience this for yourself.

It appears to be open all the time and there are locally produced goods for sale with an honesty box. I can recommend the chutney.


They also have a 12th century Crusaders grave.

Later on driving through Stock – some pretty and unusual signs.

             Not sure what goes on down this footpath!

Teddy Bears’s Picnic 20th August – (Bank Holiday weekend) at Slough House Woods Malden Essex.

This was not my first visit to this lovely setup in Essex. Nick and Katie Abbott have owned the wood for some time.

Lots of Chestnut as well as Pines and the standards and a few unusual specimens.

Katie has certainly not lost her skill on the pole lathe.

Eric was busy with a spoon I think.

He went for an extended walk around the wood and brought back some Wild Service tree berries which I think he said he was going to dry out and plant them in 12 month time. Plan being, to then grow them on and bring them back for planting.

1.    Wikipedia – 
 Wild service trees (Sorbus torminalis) is a deciduous broadleaf tree native to the UK and parts of Europe, Africa and Asia. It is quite rare in Britain and is mostly found in pockets of ancient woodland and occasionally hedgerows.


Nick had been making slats for a bed rest.


I was adzing out a bowl but here Will Wall was using a faster method. I preferred his design and will use the axing method on my next dish.

I love watching how others approach the same project but using different tools and holding devices. The high level lightweight bowl horse could certainly make for a good demo – more visual than my shave-horse / chopping bench.

Needless to say that Will’s bowl was thinner and a better shape and probably more saleable than mine!


Great to see Hugh and family.

During the weekend his sons rebuilt the large oven, virtually unaided and cakes were baked by Helen Lamb on Sunday.
My thanks to Nick and Katie for the invitation.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Visit to Knole House Sevenoaks Kent TN15 0RP

This Kent meeting was arranged by Harry Rogers.

Knole House is a National Trust property located right in the centre of the Sevenoaks. They have an ancient breed of deer that appear not to be afraid of humans. It is well worth a visit, the house and grounds are amazing.

Whilst we were setting up I noticed a WCT blue top and it belonged to Mrs David Batchelor (chairman of the HOWE committee) who volunteers on a regular basis.

David joined us later on and is seen here chatting to Terry Jones who was displaying and making some very fine walking sticks.


Early on Graham Aslett was repairing a seat using a petrol driven drill, I want one!

Graham has a great tine cutting machine – designed to entertain the kids.

Harry Rogers deep in discussion with David. They both live very close by.

Well thank you Harry for the invitation to such a stunning location right in the centre of Sevenoaks.

On the journey to the Wilderness Gathering.


I stopped off at Barford for lunch at this partly 16th century Inn.

Great Badger ales and some interesting décor.


  This unusual knife cleaner was in the bar.

I also found some unusual panelling, apparently taken from a school around 1820.

The Wilderness Gathering 15/17th August   Bush Farm Bison Centre West Knoyle Wiltshire BA12 6AE

I was invited to attend by Bardster who was demonstrating leatherwork and manning the Bushcraft shop at the Ball.

The organiser Roger organised a very successful event. He does not milk the traders and the demonstrators attend FOC.

I only understood the true relevance of the farm name after I consumed my first Bison burger!

This oven was made of very course clay and was up and running baking bread the next day.

The base was made from a square of low density blocks held with a strap.

There were many traders running activities to draw custom.

Lots of courses were advertised and sold as well as raw materials.


Another design for a rocket stove, a little over-engineered from thick wall 75mm square tube about 8” long and 10” high with a middle shelf and robust feet and trivet.

Not being insulated gave it some extra features –  plate warming below and a flat hob above.

This demonstrator was really into his stone-age napping and drew big crowds.

I am still working on the development of successful displays to promote sales and our organisation.

John Arthur had a great display of carved goods and also sold tools. I hope he can make the next Ball.


One of the magazine crew talking about his very special relationship with animals.

He was playing with a very small weasel. He gave some very interesting talks during the weekend.

This was a very enjoyable weekend and plenty to see and do. The normal cost for traders this year was £140 per pitch but included four weekend tickets normally £75 each. It would be great to have more bodgers there next year.

My holiday in Rethymon Crete 1-14th August

Nicos Siragas is a world famous wood turner who lives with his English wife Frances in Rethymon; where he has a shop in a busy area of the old town. He visits England in the winter and is demonstrating in November this year – see his website for details.

He has demonstrated at our woodturning club a few years ago.

He is an artist; he carves many of his turnings and was doing so long before many others.

He has also designed tools for Hamlet. He has a woodturning club and runs courses in the winter from his beautiful house overlooking the town.

Visit to the home of Manolis Brokos  in the village of Zenia.

I had read an article on the web about this amazing spoon maker who was still working at 102! And decided it was worth a three hour drive into the mountains to find his home. Sadly he died last year at 106 and his wife soon afterwards. He used olive wood which is abundant (the Cretans farm at least 6,000,000 olive trees).


I was given access by his grandson to his workshop and his tools. I was asked to add labels in English.

The home-made hook knife was made from scrap materials.

The view from his house in the mountains was stunning.


This was his living area, a sofa bed and a wood burning stove.

He also made some local musical instruments. Most of his work has gone and these were just re remnants. 

Eleni wife of Manolis was asked as to the secret of their longevity  - ‘There is no secret. For as far as I remember, we eat what is in season given to us by the earth and our clothes and utensils are made from natural products. ‘And the young Cretans today’? She sorrowfully shakes her head and holds up a pale yellow fruit. ‘People eat their food from plastic and poison their food with Chemistry. This deprives the body its power’

The food on Crete is amazing and all home grown. I enquired as to the source of their bread flour. It is now imported but used to be Home grown Emmer. The following I copied from Wikipedia
‘In 1906, Aaron Aaronsohn's discovery of wild emmer wheat growing in Rosh Pinna (now in Israel) created a stir in the botanical world.[5]Emmer wheat has been found in archaeological excavations and ancient tombs. Grains of wild emmer discovered at Ohalo II had a radiocarbon dating of 17,000 BC,[6] and at the Pre Pottery Neolithic A (PPNA) site of Netiv Hagdud are 10,000-9,400 years old.
DNA studies on emmer wheat have shown its place of domestication to be near Şanlıurfa, in southeast Turkey.[6] Domesticated emmer first appears at Pre-Pottery Neolithic sites in the Fertile Crescent, either in the PPNA period (9800-8800 cal BC) or the early-mid PPNB (8800-7500 cal BC). Small quantities of emmer are present during Period 1 at Mehrgharh on the Indian subcontinent, showing that emmer was already cultivated there by 7000-5000 BC.[7]

On the way to a beach in the south of Crete we passed this stick maker  at the roadside.

He made his sticks from two species of Oak and bends them wet with a blow-
lamp and a jig set up in the back of his truck.

It was a pity his English was no better than my Greek: I was therefore unable to get any more detail.


This was the jig, two acrows to hold the bent handle in place along with binding wire after using the bending jig at the bottom.