A grand afternoon out at Parcevall Hall,Wharfedale

SAMSUNG CSCI nearly saw a magnolia today.

SAMSUNG CSCThey were just bursting their buds.

SAMSUNG CSCBet they’ll be better tomorrow.

SAMSUNG CSCGood setting – masonry to die for.  All this stone has been hauled a long way and worked by hand.  Look how those steps are laid out.  I’d like to have been there when they were laying some of these stones – like that key-stone – must weigh at least 2 hundredweight or more.  Some of the coping stones on top of the walls looked like they would need at least four strong men to lift ’em.  Or perhaps a block and tackle and shearlegs?

More masonry:

SAMSUNG CSCAh, stone, valleys and stone field walls – that’s m’Yorkshire.  Pity nearly all the chimneys are capped off.  The double ones are particularly perverse.

Some one had a good idea about wooden studs in a door.

SAMSUNG CSCTurned out in the long run that it wasn’t so good, even though split-wedged at the back, some fell out.  I think we need more tapered drill bits.

I’d like one of these in my garden.

SAMSUNG CSCAnd mebbee a little one of these.

SAMSUNG CSCBut I would have to move home about ten miles, and it’s higher and colder there. It’s outcrop limestone.  Outcrop means it is the stone of the land coming up to the surface – not laid by man.

The cherry was in good heart, “If there’s not enough room on those twigs, I’m just gunner bloom from my trunk.”

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Epicormic

Speaking of trunks, you need to watch out that some invader doesn’t choose yours as a good place to grow.

SAMSUNG CSCMistletoe growing on an apple tree.

So much wood, so many uses.

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That’ll keep those bloody sheep out. (Not the underwater swimmers mind – Ed.)

PS In case you were wondering:

Sir Perceval of the Round Table marries Arthur’s sister Acheflour, but is killed in a tournament by the Red Knight. Rejecting knightly culture, Acheflour retreats into the forest with their young son, also called Perceval, taking only some goats and a small spear. After fifteen years she explains Christianity to Perceval and, excited by her stories, he searches for God in the forest. He meets Ywain, Gawain and Kay and, seeing their rich clothes, asks which one is God. When Gawain informs him that they are Arthur’s knights, Perceval resolves to be knighted too. He mounts a wild mare, and although his mother is upset, she advises him on courtesy and gives him a ring.

On his way to Arthur’s court, Perceval enters a hall and finds a lady sleeping; he kisses her and exchanges her ring for Acheflour’s. When he arrives, Arthur recognises his uncouth nephew and agrees to knight him, but as they dine the Red Knight bursts into the hall and steals Arthur’s goblet. Perceval promises to retrieve the cup: riding out of the court before Arthur can give him armour, he pursues the Knight and kills him with his spear. The youth takes his horse but, confused by his armour, attempts to burn it off the body. Gawain arrives and helps him put it on, but Perceval decides to seek more adventures. He kills the Red Knight’s mother, a witch, then encounters an old knight and his sons, who are delighted to hear that he has slain their enemy.

A messenger on his way to Arthur’s court informs Perceval that Lady Lufamour of Maydenland is being besieged by a Sultan. He immediately sets off, and Arthur, delighted to learn that Perceval is alive, follows him with three knights. Perceval arrives in Maydenland and defeats the Saracens overnight. He is welcomed by Lufamour, who promises to marry him if he kills the Sultan. The following day he defeats the Saracen reinforcements then rides against Arthur, mistaking him for the Sultan. He jousts with Gawain but they recognise one another and are joyfully reunited. The Sultan arrives, demanding to fight a champion: Arthur knights Perceval who soon beheads his enemy. He and Lufamour are married, while Arthur returns to court.

After a year, Perceval sets out to find his mother. On his way he meets the woman with whom he exchanged rings: her lover, the Black Knight who gave her the ring (a protective charm), has accused her of infidelity. Perceval fights the knight, but spares him when he promises to forgive his lady. Perceval offers to re-exchange rings, but the knight has given Acheflour’s ring to the Sultan’s brother, a ferocious giant. Perceval beheads the giant and retrieves the ring, but learns from a porter that his mother saw the ring and, believing her son to be dead, went mad and fled into the woods. Perceval replaces his armour with goat skins and sets off on foot. He finds Acheflour by a well and carries her back to the castle, where she is cured. They return to Maydenland together and Perceval joins the crusades where he is slain after many victories.

From: Mary Flowers Braswell, Sir Perceval of Galles and Ywain and Gawain. Kalamazoo, Michigan: Medieval Institute Publications, 1995.
Manuscript: Lincoln Cathedral Library, MS 91 (Thornton Manuscript)

Rhubarb,rhubarb, rhubarb.

OK, day off again yesterday, where did we go, what did we see?

SAMSUNG CSCWe went somewhere dark,and warm, where a 30 second exposure is needed to capture the scene.

It was here:

 

SAMSUNG CSCInside this shed:

SAMSUNG CSCThose heaps in the field are the waste product from this ancient process –

SAMSUNG CSCYes, we were in the mysterious Rhubarb Triangle.  Crowns of rhubarb are dug up (about 14,220 in the shed we visited first) and kept warm, dark and moist  and the result is this:

SAMSUNG CSCBeautiful pink rockets of fibreless forced rhubarb, a vegetable we use as a sweet, much celebrated and used by posh chefs, as well as me and thee.

The sheds are lit only by candlelight to encourage the rapid growth:

SAMSUNG CSCAlthough it’s quite dark in the sheds a 30 second exposure revelas the extent of this seasonal crop:

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We bought a couple of packs of the forced jewels as well as a crown/root of the variety Timperely Early which crops twice in a season out-of-doors, which is how we grow it.

We then went on to one of our favourite haunts, Yorkshire Sculpture Park, where there is always a feast for the eyes, even by just looking out of the gallery through the windows:

SAMSUNG CSC SAMSUNG CSC SAMSUNG CSCWe saw some very fancy spacemen by Yinka Shonibare floating around their tin can

SAMSUNG CSC SAMSUNG CSCEven the cafe with its blocks of subtle colour changes looked like a work of art:
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We had sandwiches in the car before we went in!  Cheap skates.

Out of doors we saw some chunky Miro:

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And more Yinka Shonibare

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An iron door to nowhere

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And a new Gormley which changes colour!
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Altogether a Grand Yorkshire Day Out.

Two stools

Coppicing, felling, tushing (pretending to be a horse dragging timber rideside) trying to do a little woodwork.  Today it was coppicing.  Finally finished off the monster stool – it’s about 4 foot across, and severely overgrown.  Nothing else was growing within the spread of its massive (for hazel) canopy.  But after four visits its all down:

SAMSUNG CSCI should have taken a picture of the huge pile of wood we got from it.  ‘All’ that’s left to do now is to get it down to this level:

 

SAMSUNG CSCA neighbouring, smaller stool we took down in one today, thanks David!

 

 

 

Servers deer course

Pigs and deer, that’s what the green visitors to Strid Wood have been making this weekend.  All adults this time, two birthday presents, two ladies and three gents.  A jolly good bunch with handsome woodland animals to take home.

This is not a skills course just a couple of hours of fun making something for the garden.  The main work consists of drilling one inch mortice holes with a hand auger and then fitting legs, necks heads and antlers with matching tenons using a draw knife and rounder plane.  I guess some of the skill for beginners is understanding that any skill at all is required to make something by hand.  It requires concentration to make the tools jigs and clamps work effectively, and the result is so free-form that (sometimes with a little tweak from my Silky saw) it always pleases.

It’s a different day for me, baking the rolls first thing, getting the soup ready, making sure the stove is roaring away to heat the soup, tidying up, making sure the right tools are available, and then splitting my time several ways between the participants to make sure everyone progresses.  As I know, it can get a little cold standing around (mental note to self; long johns compulsory on course days!)

Very busy now with Christmas orders as well as courses.  Made a set of salad servers:

A bunch of wine carriers (this is getting a bit like production runs):

They’re being collected today.  I need to replenish supplies of deer, foxes, bird tables as well as complete a half-dozen split ash hurdles.  There’s a small table on the stocks too.  Got a load of logs home last week so should be OK until Christmas now.

The Examination and Trial of Father Christmas,...

The Examination and Trial of Father Christmas, (1686), published shortly after Christmas was reinstated as a holy day in England. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Busy, busy, busy!

Smoke, mud, rain and joint stools.

Hi Folks!

This is your correspondent relaxing at The Commercial in London, an interesting pub:

Not at all like the old pubs of Keighley where I started drinking beer. The Boltmakers Arms, The Friendly, The Volunteers, The Gardeners, The Lord Rodney.  Ah, those past teenage days of Timothy Taylor’s ale and headaches.

The woody highlight of our trip to The Smoke (AKA London) was another visit to the Geffrye Museum.  In one of the period room settings was a stunning oak table with a set of 6 joint stools.

Sorry about the lousy picture, it’s not a brightly lit place The Geffrye, but well worth a visit, with a beautifully calm herb garden (well more like the size of about 4 allotments) at the back.  I liked this green window:

Nim & Jane

But, back to the joint stools.  We met up with my son Will in London, over from Brooklyn, and he brought with him Peter Folansbee’s new book Make a Joint Stool from a Tree.  An excellent book.  I will be making a joint stool using the guidance in said book and I already have the green oak lined up.  Unfortunately, I have now got a bit of a thing going about these stools and I’ve gone and ordered another book:

This has a whole section on period joint stools, and further along some chair leg turnings which are uniquely Yorkshire, so I may be using them as a base for the stool legs.  One of these stools would look well in Skipton Castle or indeed in any other castle which is short of furnishings.

We did quite a lot of culture in London (That’s what London is for innit? -Ed) including a visit to 18 Folgate Street, Dennis Severs’ House.  If you visit London, and don’t visit anywhere else, visit this house – cost £10, you can’t take photos or speak.  It is an experience in warping of reality, history and your senses that you will not forget.  And, a great bonus, you can have a pint of Meantime beer in The Commercial afterwards.

We also did some mudlarking too.  My brother-in-law lives in Deptford in what was once the naval victualling yards, quite near to Drake’s Steps

Hardly now in fit condition for a queen to ascent prior to knighting her circumnavigator. When I went out for a walk on the Saturday the prospects for mudlarking were rather off-putting:

A fine coat of silt over everything.  But by Sunday morning propspects were much better:

London is so old the flotsam and jetsam are very diverse. anything from printed circuit boards to flint arrow heads (I searched for the latter but didn’t find any).  The oldest natural thing I found was a fossilised sea urchin, the oldest man made thing also flint, with a hole in it, but unrecognisable (by me at least), I think I’ll have it as a charm.  It was a good Sunday morning out for all the family:

From here you can see the three-masted Cutty Sark tea clipper which was due to open a couple of days later

On the Monday we saw the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery practicing for a royal salute as the queen shall have been re-opening the Cutty Sark after long and extensive refurbishment.

Typically, as it started raining in Greenwich we headed indoors, and both father and son’s beer noses detected a mash in progress – hah, it was the aforementioned Old Brewery who produce Meantime bitter beer (Geddit Greenwich meantime?)

Well it was back to work on Tuesday and it’s been a rather wet week, to say the least.  Tuesday wasn’t bad, in fact Theo and I dined in the luxurious outdoor canteen in Strid Wood, with view of nesting Mergansers.  Theo finished off his coat rack with double wellington rack – rather impressive I’m sure you’ll agree.

It is surrounded by this week’s paying project – 4 off 8 foot bike racks for The Cavendish Pavilion.  I was working outside The Bodgery, and it was a very pleasant change, the sun even shone a bit.

By Wednesday the weather had turned nasty and I had a course running with a NE wind gusting rain into the bodgery.  I’d advised Bob to wear layers and he had taken my advice – I wish I had taken it in spades.  Anyway, despite my almost catching hypothermia, Bob had a good day and we had some very interesting chat to boot.

This is one of the unfinished bike racks, I was in no mood for taking photos by the end of Thursday’s installation, but ~ I’ll get one on Sunday, hopefully with a few bikes as serving suggestion.

The logs for the base were rather heavy, and I bust the guide bar on my milling saw last week so I had to split the first one:

They were still heavy after splitting as I found to my discomfort when I managed to trap my finger between one and the trailer, doh!

Ah well, after a heavy week I’ve been relaxing today, making beer, granola, shopping for brill and jacket lining repair material, planting beetroot and lettuce seeds, launching a new Twitter account (@FlyingShavings funnily enough) and dreaming of joint stools …

 

A four-legged workshop

Today I ran a workshop for five people making deer.  I was ably assisted by my wife (chief photographer, waitress, tool mistress and adviser for the day).  Two of the chaps on the course shared today as their birthday and the course was a present from their wives.  Although we were surrounded by (melting) snow I managed to keep everyone busy and all went home with a deer (except for me, I’m more of a venison man):

Here are the youngest and oldest 15 to 62 (fortunately my insurance cover goes as low as 9 years old).

These gels had fun:

I should point out that the rips in the jeans were pre-existing and that no humans were harmed in the making of these deer.  The red stains liberally sprinkled around the middle work bench are just Flying Goose hot sauce stains caused during an eating incident at lunchtime.

There were actually six members of the course but the robin just didn’t seem to get the hang of things at all.  He seemed to enjoy the biscuits and home-baked bread nonetheless.

It has been very scenic in the wood this past week, if a bit chilly.  I’m surprised at the very low numbers of visitors considering the sights to be seen:

I think sometimes I like the shape of trees without their leaves better than with.  The shape is so much more clear and stark and beautiful.

Even the messy old bodgery looked not bad:

The sun did his bit too to make things look good:

These pictures take a bit of getting as the sun only shines on my side of the River Wharfe briefly in these short Winter days.

I feel so sorry for the wildlife living outdoors all the time, I know vaguely how they must feel, and they don’t have four pairs of trousers and five tops like me.  Earlier this week at home the temperature dropped to minus 13 centigrade – just how do you sleep out through that?  Maybe the cold is just another state to wildlife, but I guess they must enjoy warmer weather.

And another thing, why do snow pictures usually look as though they were taken on (almost) black and white film?

Wild about Wood

Just returned from a good weekend at Kew at Castle Howard’s Wild about Wood.  Pretty busy with a joint display of turning on the pole lathe, making a stool, have a goes and three charcoal burns:

But Jane was there helping out, and so was Richard D (many thanks for sterling efforts both!)

The Friday burn turned out the usual amount of brown ends, but far too many on Saturday’s burn, emptied Sunday.  I’d closed it down too early, but the brown ends went back in and the outturn of Sunday’s burn, opened today was just two bags of charcoal and NO brown ends at all.  It was a little tricky watching the burn smoke colour and chatting to people and doing demos, sometimes all at the same time.  However, the emphasis of the weekend was education and several groups of people went away knowing much more about charcoal than they did when they came in.  A couple of people also learnt the difference between sawdust and shavings (and they were not children!)  Bit showery on Saturday, but a lovely sunny day Sunday with lots of visitors.

We camped in our classic 2nd hand de Waard dutch tent and cooked all-in-one-pot meals each night in the dutch oven.

The arboretum is really well laid out in what used to be parkland with mature oaks and chestnuts, and much more recent plantings of trees from around the world.  Lots of different oaks etc.  Here’s a sample of the trees and vistas:

The lathe was set up in a little hornbeam copse.

We also had a surprise visit from two German journeymen carpenters who were looking for work at The Arboretum.

They were wearing the traditional carpenter’s dress and were fully trained craftsmen looking for further experience by travelling. You can read more about the German journeyman system here on Robin Wood’s blog.