Wednesday, 26 April 2017

22nd April White Chimney Wood (Burbage Towers) Benenden, Kent group meeting.


Who else – another of Ed Murphy’s spectacular cleaved ladders, 27 rungs = 21’ split from one piece. Thatchers / fruit pickers’ style. Normally the rounds are on the outside but thatchers like it flat on the outside to help them dress the thatch on the flat.

Ed pestered Derek Body (86) the last long straw thatcher in Kent now retired for help with his laddermaking.

View of John Burbages workshop from the top of Ed’s ladder.


Graham Aslett always has something interesting to show me.


Timber scribing tool with cap removed (actually permanently since he lost it and had to make a new one).

Keith Leonard making candlesticks – maybe for a ball competition?

Ed very kindly took me to see the Roundwood, long straw barn built by Derek Body 30 years ago. Apparently  he built it as a kit inside another barn and then re- assembled it having used the usual convention of numbering the bits using Roman numerals. Well Derek being Derek he used a felt tip pen for the numerals.

Some of Derek’s ladders still in use.

Ed pointed out this godfather post repair as well as a few others to gates etc. done by Derek Body normally unconventionally!



Chris King was lacemaking – amazing, never seen it done.

This bowl making thing is really taking off, someone was making hook tools with the help of Robin Etheridge – did not get a picture however.

This is Jeremy Cox – good lathe design it all breaks down very quickly (intelligent design).


Mark Fenn was also having a go, his first bowl – it was very very good – even wall thickness first time – wow!

Mark was on hand to chainsaw up all our materials – thanks for that.

Amy leake and family were still tinkering with their new shelter to use at the Kent show.


And later on made one!

Tom Standen made this Kuksa look really easy – he scooped out the bowl with Ashley Illes gouges.

Terry Jones was basket making with bark again.

Phill Piddell has bought himself a Ball bell tent without pegs so He and Harry busy making them. Harry was cheating – using a stock knife!


A good days production!

Graham was making hurdle components from some tricky wood.

Amy and family later on entertaining us on the smoky stage.


Damien Goodburn was making loom components for a replica Saxon piece.

Needless to mention that he is very well organised. They do say a picture is worth …

Carol Leonard was leading in the cake making contest.

Shelter finished Amy set up her bowl lathe with side mounted pole.

Another great weekend with the Kent group, John Burbage is a very generous man – thanks John. He holds another weekend at the end of the season.

Friday 21st April The Halfway House,  High Weald AONB, Horsmonden Rd Brenchley Tonbridge TN12 7AX

This pub has a wall full of awards for beer, food, festivals you name it.

The barman was a bit of a wag! Very fast service however.
 After I ordered food he put the order into a basket and lowered it into the cellar via a drainpipe under the bar below (kitchen).
 A little bit reminiscent of the man with the golden gun and the casino scene (money / bullets in basket).

It was busy – full of locals, they informed me that I should return for the beer festival – why bother they were already having one!

Very big level car park perfect.  Can recommend the Cider and Dark Star Hop Head. As the barman stated – honest food (total understatement however it was as good as you could imagine – everything made from scratch).
Cherry Wood spring project week Monday 17th - Saturday 22nd April 2017

A regular Thursday volunteer Roy Henderson testing a planter for Tim’s yurt platform.

Little did we know that this was a precursor for a cocktail binge later in the week.

The new live in chef – big boots / pony tail.

Her first test – Victoria sponge using a wood fired pizza oven. –  Past with honours!



One of the first big projects I worked on with John Fells some years ago – looking really good still.


Big Willow log to be hauled up the bank so work can start on the dug out canoe.


New roof cover to the main workshop – some new light gathering material.


Cherry wood cocktail – fresh strawberries and vodka. Red an ex apprentice celebrating his last few days before an imminent  shoulder rebuild.

One of the new apprentices George had invited his family down for the week – Georges’s Dad making planters.

All the meals are vegetarian and are cooked buy the live in chef from local sources.

Part construction of the fruit cage in Tim's garden - a bit OTT just to hold up the bird proof mesh?


Ono,  George and help shoveling … for the planters

Elm bark stripping, this was just a very small bit of the huge roll they got from one tree.


Another chef’s challenge, banana shortcake  – passed.

Poppy Weight enjoying the atmosphere – great to bump into Lillie again.


The carpet of wild garlic gave that great aroma and was a perfect addition to most things cooked during the week.

Reminiscent of the yellow brick road largely because the wild garlic almost looked fake.



So this was a new growing idea -  a pile of logs covered in manure set to grow squash.

Fruit cage nearing completion.

I was asked to build the new pig house. All the materials were grown on site 0 air miles!


The planters were quickly filled and planted up.

Well, another great project week, I had to leave early to be with the Kent group at Benenden. I say this every time, it's my favorite place – if you have never been then you must go, it’s so refreshing to meet so many young people who are as passionate (if even more so) than most bodgers are who actually trying to make it their livelihood. 

Thanks again Tim for your hospitality and see you in October for another project week.

Check out their website for course dates etc.

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

 Framlingham Country Show IP13 9 EY 8/9th April 2017

This was my first time to Framlingham – we were in the grounds of the school. Amazing facilities, they even have a castle!
This was the view from the school.

This birthday cake was made by my daughter in law Helen. Perhaps she should be co-opted for the Ball cake?

There is never a shortage of interesting people to talk to at public events;  this gentleman had a very unusual modified wheelchair.

This is a collector’s item – Mr Damant not making anything. Well yes he does have to sharpen his tools occasionally. He is using DMT diamond stones. I find the credit card size more practical, basically with diamond stones it’s all about quality.

Jayne and Shane – wot no pullsaw?

Jim McVittie – a great ambassador for our organisation. He does a great demo – always attracts a crowd, plenty of banter and lets the public have a go.

David Owen using his stool assembly jig.

So much going on with the Wimpole Lathers –Valerie Anderson carving a Cherry dish.

A clever way to hold a bowl when carving.

Junior cello chair for Elspeth Owen – no guessing who made it.  It has an angle seat and it overly wide. Elm bark seat.


What a great event organised by Quintessentially British Shows.  The heatwave and sunshine certainly helped to make it a very pleasant weekend. Some very good entertainment the best of which was from Jonathan Marshall who a horseback falconry display that was something very special – a great showman.

I found this on the web -


King John hunting on horseback

King John hunting on horseback, from a 14th century manuscript. King John was entertained at Framlingham in 1213, by Roger Bigod II. © Getty Images
Framlingham castle was built by the Bigods, a powerful Norman family in the 12th century. The first stone buildings at the site were probably the work of Hugh Bigod, 1st Earl of Norfolk (d. 1177). But it was under his successor, Roger Bigod II (d. 1221), that the huge stone curtain walls we see today were built.
In 1213 Roger Bigod II entertained King John at the castle. But by 1215 relations had soured - Roger, along with 25 other barons, challenged the high military taxes levied by King John and forced him to accept the Magna Carta. Enraged, John laid siege to Framlingham in 1216. After two days, the castle surrendered. This loss of the castle was only temporary however - it was later restored to the Bigods.