I’m just back from the National Exhibition Centre where I was exhibit A in Chris Myers’ show garden which was inspired by my workshop in Strid Wood. I must say he made a fine job of putting his garden together and just about all the thousands of passing public loved it too – the judges agreed and awarded him a gold medal and best in show to boot. The garden was full of details that were a feast for the eyes:
Even a rabbit hole.
The workshop area was smaller than my extensive ranch in Strid Wood, but workable, and provided that little extra interest for passersby, who often stopped to chat.
A lady said she’d bought a bodge at Damson Day earlier this year, “Oh yes?” I asked. “Yes a basket.” She replied. “Hum .” I thought, “maybe there’s another meaning to bodging.”
The Kentish Bodge
Later that day another gentle lady chatted to me about her father who had owned 150 acres of chestnut woodland in Kent, now owned by the Woodland Trust. He used to make chestnut paling fencing, and she was delighted to learn that there were still people making it, using those great old engines that run on wheels and twist the wire between the pales. She thought she might still have one of these engines in her garage. We chatted away and got onto bodges, which I discovered in Kent is what they call a trug, furthermore that chaps who used to make ’em were called bodgers – well I never! She also told me her father used to makes fore-lighting pimps (see here). He’d take some by train to Buckingham Palace and when they had been stacked he’d get breakfast on the House!
I just love these conversations, often sparked off just by people seeing me and my tools.
I had another interesting conversation with a chap whose grandfather was a shipwright. I said I bet he used an adze, “Oh yes, we still have it. He used to work on wooden masts, making them round with the adze. Two of them would start at opposite ends and hope it worked out when they met in the middle.”
Well it’s a poor day when you don’t learn something!