A happy and prosperous (in the best possible meaning) New Year to you all!
New Year’s Day is a good day for a walk.
Many people walk by my workshop. Some run by. Some ride by. Some speak, some are silent. Very young and very old. Well and ill.
Sometimes it seems like all the world passes by, certainly people from all continents. People from my past, teachers, fellow workers, acquaintances, friends, people from the band I play in (not all of them … yet), estate workers, farmers, dales people, they pause or stop and converse.
People who work (or have worked) with their hands: pattern-makers, joiners, coopers (well one), shop fitters, turners, stick makers, arboriculturalists, blacksmiths, weavers, farmers, electricians, mechanics, carvers, saddlers, jewellers, surgeons,
Why are they there? On holiday, scattering ashes, taking exercise, having a walk, talking, taking photographs, walking the dog, looking for birds, joining in, entertaining friends,
They come when it rains, when it pours, when it rains and blows and comes down in stair-rods, when it snows, frosty, icey, treacherous, when it’s warm, when it’s hot, when it’s fine, when it’s balmy, when the sun shines, when it bakes, with blue skies, grey, leaden, greenish, blackish, moonlit, Tilley-lit,
Groups, singletons (lots of these), schools, couples (lots of these), whole families, bits of families, friends, acquaintances, people who work together, mens’ groups,
ladies’ groups, young women with babies, couples holding hands (young and old), children together,
They go on foot, on a quad, in a 4 wheel drive, on a powered chair, with a stick, on a scooter, on a bike (not really allowed), even in a boat (well, really! – Ed), in an aeroplane (very noisy), in a fighter jet (deafening), some race, some dawdle, some sit, some picnic, some panic, some fish, some gaze, some look and focus, some are blind, some listen, some quarrel, some rest, some puff, some pant.
Some have food, some have cameras, some footballs (What in a wood? -Ed), fishing nets, sticks, woodland deer (of course), prams (lots), shopping bags (national pass-time),
They ask: “How far is it?”; “Is all the wood from the woods?”; “Have you seen a dog/cat/ my beautiful wife?” (Steady on – Ed); “Do you live here?”; “What’s this leaf?”; “How far is it to … ?”; “How do you do it?”; “How long have you been here?” (I suppose you give that glib answer”Since 10 o’clock .”-Ed); “Is everything made from wood?”; “Why”; “Did you make everything from wood?”; “How did you get here?”; “Is this a shot gun shack?” (Bet they don’t -Ed); “Do you ever make magic wands?”; “Where’s the beach?”; “Do they know you’re here?”
From many species: ducks, humans, rabbits, hares, birds (lots of ’em), mice, shrews, voles, wasps, bees (not many of them), butterflies, flies and midges (not when the fire’s lit), beetles, deer, squirrels (all grey, Goddam!), leaves, moss (Really!), amphibians, crustaceans, felines, bats,
Lots of dogs.
Some are active, some are tired, some cry, some laugh, some shout, some argue, some are earnest, some joke, some are sad, some falter, some fall (not many, mostly in Winter), some are interested, some bored, some didactic, some pompous, some polite, some rude, some mistaken, some surprised (quite a lot really),
But, I think, most enjoy.
And me – it’s usually me just working, or eating, or drinking, or reading, or sharpening, or thinking, or getting older, or not there, or tending the fire, or chopping wood, or lighting the fire, or with a friend, or alone, or teaching, or talking, or silent, or getting smoke in my eyes, or writing, drawing, painting, taking a photograph or a video, feeding the birds, felling, chopping, hewing, splitting, shaping, clipping, shaving, sawing, planing, carving, weaving, bending, stamping, squaring, turning, drilling, joining, punching, scorching, oiling wood.
By the way, yesterdays post showed our visit to Staithes and Runswick Bay on the East Coast in Yorkshire.
There wasn’t really much wrong with the picture, except it was a trompe l’œuil.