Monday, 20 March 2017

Sunday 19th March - Basketmaking with Christine Brewster at Little Hidden Farm Hungerford Berks.


Bill Acworth was hosting the local Berkshire group as well as the course.

It was a little chilly to start with but we lit the sawdust burner. Very similar to the stoves that Alistaire from the Wimpole group experiments with.


Christine was in fine form and was taking a break eating her massive pasta lunch.

There was plenty of us and Christine was helped by Christine ll

Mark Griffin’s (winner of the best chair at the Ball) with another two spectacular chairs.

It was a busy area with the local bodgers  making all sorts.


  Just a taste of the diversity of the group!

Bill’s kitchen – tv tuned into the nesting owls!

Over the years he has successfully managed the safe rearing of barn owls.

Great host – the farm is just off the M4. Well worth the drive from London. Bill often runs a basket making course.

Christine Brewster is once again involved with the pre-ball courses at the ball. Get yourself signed up.

Later on I stayed in the car park of the John O’ Gaunt in Hungerford RG17 0EH
16th Century Pub and microbrewery.

Just one of the many beers. Would highly recommend – amazing staff (mainly Londoners) and great food.

Hungerford has the Kennet and Avon canal running through it (do love boats). 

I ended up on a pontoon helping a boat to turn round. It was a brand new boat - a bit wider than the standard boat.

Visit to J.T.Batchelors Culross mews off Balls Pond Road

I had decided to make leather curtains to cover my van windows. At a £1/ per sq.ft a bargain.

It was warm and sunny so had lunch at the The Scolt Head       N1 4HT

They must cater for some very tall gentlemen – note the height of that urinal!

An interesting dining area.

Part of the main bar was a stable – hence the stable window.


Some interesting artwork on the walls.

Great beer, staff and food. Parking however difficult.

Sunday, 5 March 2017

No seafood lunch - En route to The White Horse at Upton and lunch – later than planned.


So many interesting buildings -

Round spire Beeston St Lawrence

Stow mill Mundesley

Sherringham lifeboat paintings

Next to the lifeboat station there is the sea wall and a long line of paintings. This appears to be a bit of a local tradition – hence the pub sign.

Well worth a return trip in the summer if its not too busy with holidaymakers.


The White Horse at Upton - Brian beer


Well this proved to be an interesting experience – Storm Doris picked up making driving hazardous. I was glad to arrive and park next to some shelter.

Food excellent and then the power cut! End of food but real ale still going strong.
They shut early but I had been there long enough.

Friday 24th Visit to Harriot and Tillie at Bridgham Norfolk

Over the last 30 years Harriot has been rebuilding her house. She has literally done everything herself.

Who makes their own doors, grown from their own trees and even cuts twin tenons?
Tillie is now working on it and it is getting things moving.

Meanwhile they are both still busy hand making furniture for others.

Saturday 4th March Wanstead

Present from My Daughter Sophie – she had been to Bruges for a weekend, Trappist beer (made by the Monks) and chocolate.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Beers from recognised Trappist breweries: AchelChimayEngelszellLa TrappeOrvalSpencerRochefortTre FontaneWestmalleWestvleteren, and Zundert
Trappist beer is brewed by Trappist breweries. Eleven monasteries — six in Belgium, two in the Netherlands and one each in AustriaItaly and United States — currently brew beer and sell it as Authentic Trappist Product.

Thursday, 2 March 2017

Camping and Caravan Show at the NEC 21st February + a bit of a Norfolk trip

No pictures of the show, needless to say you could spend a serious amount of money buying kit. I was there to mainly look but I did buy a waste tank for my campervan. CAK tanks are good people to deal with; they have a huge range of self-build components and know what they are talking about.


Later on drove to Norfolk and stayed in the large and level car park of the Coach and Horses 77 Manor Rd, Dersingham, King's Lynn PE31 6LN
Great food, real ale and good people – very friendly these Norfolk.


Day Two – Norwich winter ale & beer festival

Nowhere to park in Norwich town, not even at  the park and ride, but I was never hopeful to be honest.

The barman (who turned out to be the owner of this and a couple of other city centre pubs) let me park and then drove me into town to the beer fest. Will go back there that’s for sure.

Day three – trip to the northern coast for a seafood lunch at Cookies.

Went past some great buildings including this Tithe Barn given by HM the Queen (not sure which one) for the storage of restoration materials.

Tithe barn at Dersingham


How very surprising – they even limit duck walking speeds.

Not surprising there was lots of wildfowl on the coastal route.

The famous Cookies crab and Lobster Shop.


Drove 100miles round trip for lunch at this famous shop only to find that they were shut due to storm Doris and the knock on effect to the fishing. 

Sunday 19th February -  later on Richard Bingham’s home farm

I bumped into Richard (Ball host) at the hedge laying on Saturday and he offered me some of this home grown (from seed) Gelitzia a Southern hemisphere native from NZ.

Looking forward to making it into something which makes the most of its colour and size – should I carve it or put it on the lathe? – perhaps one of each. Not sure how dry it was so chainsawed it up and then wrapped in cling film. I will need to process it within the month.

Sunday 19th February Hedgelaying competition at Magham Down BN27 4HY

What a great turnout – over 40 hedgelayers. I had never seen a Beech hedge laid before. This was two lines of trees, criss crossed as opposed to being laid in one direction. Apparently you do not get so much growth from the bottom of the cut as you do with Hawthorn.

Well the professional had the Beech and the novices were back on Hawthorne -

including our old friend - Alpacca man Phil Piddell.

Mrs Bardster provided the excellent home baking and drinks.

Paul was busy being the official photographer.

I have to say that they take their competitions very seriously – this was the prize giving lunch at the local pub.

A massive pub with an interesting interior as well. Harvey’s beer of course.

I was on the judges table – with some very interesting, knowledgeable people, plus a few champions of their craft.

I must say the food - especially the squash and red cabbage was superb.

Great day out, thanks for the invitation Phil.

Later in the day Saturday 18th February

The Swan Inn at Woods Corner Dallington TN13 9LB Half way from Benenden to hedgelaying near Herstmoncaux.

What a find – great Harvey’s beer and a menu to die for – pigeon, rabbit and pheasant - I had the pheasant.

Also had a large flat car park (thanks to Burbage for the recommendation).

Cannot believe it was built in 1399

The rear staircase to the loos was an unusual feature.

The floor had been repaired with old tool blades

A few references to shooting on the walls as well – real old country pub. I think Mr Burbage should write a good pub guide!

Saturday 18th February Shrink pot day at Benenden

What a great turnout for some glorious weather.
I was glad to see the donkey was still with us – apparently when the vet arrived he put on a good show.


Carole left her weaving and needle felting at home but brought some great baking.

Who else – this was Harry’s setup he was busy on location filming a documentary.

Keith Leonard on a less rustic setup.

Had not seen Gill Swan for a bit (missed the entertainment).


I was busy making curtain hooks for my van – from an assortment of woods – Holly, Birch, Hazel and Laburnum.

Another good day out with our host John Burbage at White Chimney Wood, thanks John.