Blown away by the North Easterlies

Hi all! Where did March go? Blown away by the evil Easterly wind blowing in from the frozen continent. It has been a bit harsh here for March.



This last one was taken from a railway carriage speeding back from the Heritage Crafts Association AGM in London at the V&A, where there were very inspiring speeches by a host of craftsmen, or people concerned with craft. Isn’t it time we reclaimed that word? In the UK ‘craft’ seems to have been mixed up with cutting out and sticking in, baking cakes and taking photos. Slippery things words. At the HCA ‘Manifesto for Making’ Deborah Carre was keen to describe her craft as cordwainer – which is the old word for shoemaker.  A step in the right direction, perhaps some of the mystery should be put back into the craft word.  Perhaps in this sense: 1808   H. More Cœlebs in Search of Wife I. xxi. 305   No man is allowed to set up in an ordinary trade till he has served a long apprenticeship to its mysteries.  With maybe just a little touch of: 1594   T. Lodge & R. Greene Looking Glasse sig. B2,   He was the first man that euer instructed me in the mysterie of a pot of Ale.

Well it is Beer Day.  Being an heathen, it is Good Friday upon which I break my Lenten fast from alcohol.  I’m always tempted to drink some for breakfast, used to be common:

“Elizabeth I started her day with beer and mutton stew, while Dickens opted for rum flavoured with cream.” Check out an excellent article on breakfasts here in The Lady. “Quite often, breakfasts were staggeringly alcoholic.

Winston Churchill, Prime Minister of the Unite...

Winston Churchill, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1940 to 1945 and from 1951 to 1955. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Take Winston Churchill, who liked a bottle of Pol Roger before settling down to a brace of cold snipe and a pint of port. And how did anyone get anything done after breakfasting on beer with mutton stew (Queen Elizabeth I), bread soaked in ale (12th-century choristers at St Paul’s Cathedral) or a Canaan Balsam, the cocktail consumed ‘first thing’ in Moscow, consisting of 100ml methylated spirits, 200ml milk stout and 100ml clear varnish?”.

The last one seems OK, but I think the varnish is just a bit over the top.


Anyway, (I can see this turning into a terribly rambling blog post, are you sure you didn’t have beer for breakfast? – Ed), whilst in London learning about not making gold and selling it as silver, I had time to roam around the V&A museum.  Somehow, last time in the medeval & renaissance gallery, I was so blown away by the wooden Breton staircase  that I somehow missed this beauty:


It’s the first and second-floor facade of an old shop ‘without the gates’


SAMSUNG CSCAh, what craftsmanship! What a splendid piece of work here’s a health to the carpenters!  Pass me another bumper Quilp (Look, if you’re going to start bringing in obscure references to Dickens, you’ll be needing to at least let the gentle reader know whence it came. Really! – Ed)  Quilp was a character from “The Old Curiosity Shop” by Charles Dickens.  Mr Quilp was very keen on a bumper – which is a glass filled to the brim for a toast.  His breakfast was more sober: ‘giant prawns with the heads and tails on’ and boiling hot tea drunk ‘straight from the kettle’.  Although he was rather attached to his case bottle.  That’s a square bottle that fits into a case more economically than a round un.

Yes, it’s a fine piece of framing (above) (and below):



There was next to it a massive door and frame with a picket gate in the door.  Somehow I managed to blur the photos, but did get this joint with the oversized pegs squeezing aside the fibres of a rail (or maybe that was the spoon bit?)l:


And here is where someone a long time ago, had a lot of difficulty deciding how to mount the lock:

SAMSUNG CSC  So, whilst on the subject of things wooden, we had the gravest event of 2013 so far in High Farnhill.

SAMSUNG CSCA massive beech tree fell across the canal overnight.  No roots on the canalside of the tree and rising sap I guess caused an overbalance, there was little wind.  Made a right mess of the towpath and the bank and blocked the waterway.

SAMSUNG CSCYou can see the problem with the root plate here:

SAMSUNG CSCRather bizarrely, the waterways chaps seem to have winched the stem around to drop the thickest part off, but by doing so the root plate has not fallen back where it formerly was, but into the  canal.  There’s a sign now reading “Underwater obstruction, keep left.”  Now if it had been me cutting it … (It wasn’t – Ed).

To continue the tree topic, there must surely have been a natural inspiration for this stunning roof structure in the new London Kings Cross railway station concourse:


SAMSUNG CSCI bought these two useful items in London.  I’ve been looking for the Flying Goose chilli sauce for some time, and have even bought a couple of poor imitations – one of them seriously hot.  The felt is to make a softener for the lid for the memory box I’m still working on.  At least it is now a box and the outside is finished.

SAMSUNG CSCHandles and hinges made.  Just final assembly required.

So to round off, back to my first picture where I’m modelling a new pair of fustian hi-rise trousers from Spencer’s Trousers of Friendly, Halifax.  Alas, my old supplier of country clothing in Hebden Bridge is long departed leaving a sadly deserted little factory.



A lot of water has flowed under and around bridges in Hebden since HC was making those fine clothes.


5 thoughts on “Blown away by the North Easterlies

  1. my mother had made for me a chocolate brown two piece fustian suit from hebden cord, went for the fittings and all. button flies and braces buttons. i wore it with commando soled tricker boots, tattersall check shirt with knitted tie and a rupert the bear waistcoat with foxes heads pressed into the buttons, miniature foxes heads, that is. tis probably still floating around somewhere.

  2. it was my eighteenth birthday, i have had a good many since, birthdays, not suits!

    • And I forgot which novel Quilp is from – should be Old Curiosity Shoppe, not Bleak House – comes from a strict diet of Dickens, Dickens, Dickens.

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