Thursday 30 September 2010

The frog and toad!

We were minding our own business last night walking home through the village when my other half said "Look there, in the road - it's a frog!" Sure enough there was a small frog trying to cross the road. Now I'm stupid about things like this so I just had to pick up the frog and take him to safety before he got squished.

So, we continue our stroll homeward, I'm carrying the frog at arms length just in case he decides to....well, pee or something.... when other half says, "There's another one!" And there just squatting, right in the middle of the car tyre tracks, is a big fat toad. Well what could I do? So I risk life and limb, rush into the road and pick up the toad with my other hand. Now I'm walking home with both arms outstretched like a character from "Return of the Mummy".

We finally get home and I get my other half to take a pic:

Aren't they lovely?

I released them next to the pond in the garden. Frog spawn next year maybe?

Wednesday 29 September 2010

Word and Wisdom of the Week

Word of the Week:


diligent in application or attention; persevering; assiduous, persistently or carefully maintained: sedulous flattery.


Wisdom of the Week:

"Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm." - Sir Winston Churchill.

No, cant honestly say I'd have the patience to do that.

Monday 27 September 2010

Another weekend.

It's Monday and yet again we haven't stopped.

Last weekend was a marathon, on Saturday morning we travelled the 100 or so miles to mother in laws house. The property needs to go on the market soon and there is still a lot of organising to do. We picked up paperwork, cleaned furiously for two hours, checked in with the neighbours, then following a swift change of clothes, we left to go to my best friend's marriage blessing ceremony at 3pm a further 40 miles north. I think we must have hit every traffic jam in the World and as a result arrived 15 minutes late. It was lovely to see everyone again, but was all too brief - we had to leave at 5pm to get home at a reasonable time. Meanwhile in our absence, work continued on the new garage/workshop.

This Saturday was a repeat journey north, this time to meet with all of the family members at the house to do as much sorting out as we could. There were seven of us, but it still took about 6 hours to make any impact on the house clearance. We were home by 8pm. Sunday was catch up time for shopping - we hardly had any food in the house! Needless to say we both slept very well last night.

Thursday 23 September 2010

We are still working despite the chaos!

Well I realised that I haven't updated the work in progress for ages now, (too carried away with the excitement of the construction). So this last two weeks, what else have we been doing? There is a complete rebuild of one chair from two. Luckily one chair had broken seat rails but the rest of the frame is in reasonable, retrievable condition, whilst the other had a completely broken frame but perfect seat rails.

The "one chair from two" is now waiting for the glue to set so that we can put a new seat on tomorrow.

The porch rocker was also finished last week and will go home tomorrow:

We have also finished three rush ladderback chairs, a couple of cane panels and joy of joys, a set of five medallion backed dining chairs. Apart from that we've had two deliveries of materials but had no space for them in the store, so guess where the four foot high by three foot pile is currently lurking - in the breakfast room!! Roll on getting a new workshop.

Wednesday 22 September 2010

Half way there....

We've nearly got a workshop...........The blockwork is almost up to roof height now and we are really beginning to see just how it will look when it's finished.

It is going to be a great place to work, there will be two roof windows and as the whole space faces South West, it should have good light all day long.

Word and Wisdom of the Week

Word of the week:


Inclined or eager to fight; aggressively hostile; belligerent; pugnacious.

Hopefully not something I'm guilty of - I'm a pussycat!

Wisdom of the week:

"Patriots always talk of dying for their country, never of killing for their country" - Bertrand Russel

 Never thought of it like that before.

Friday 17 September 2010


Things have moved on apace! The local builder and his son have been here this week working furiously, it's been great to see a new workshop rising phoenix like from the rubble and mess. This was the site on Tuesday:

Just before the concrete was poured into the holes for the foundations.

By Thursday the foundations were in:

The conrete slab floor goes down today, woo hoo! Now we've been told we need to find two new front doors that we like.

Wednesday 15 September 2010

Word and Wisdom of the Week

Word of the week:


talking or tending to talk much or freely; talkative; chattering; babbling; garrulous: a loquacious dinner guest.
(something I'm regularly accused of)
Wisdom of the week
"Gossip is the art of saying nothing in a way that leaves practically nothing unsaid" Walter Winchell. 
How true! 

Sunday 12 September 2010

Frome Agricultural and Cheese Show

As the run up to this show was so eventful, we were hoping for a calm day or two just "doing what we do" at an event. But oh no, chaos insisted on ruling for at least another few days.

We arrived at Frome around 5pm on Friday evening. The weather was dry and warm, but a bit breezy. Bernard had driven beautifully all the way through the twisting roads of Dorset, Wiltshire and into Somerset with only a couple of complaining backfires. Our stand was set up in an hour and a half so we still had enough time in daylight to have a wander around before dinner and sleep.

Overnight the wind picked up to a gale and the rain lashed down heavily, but it stayed warm making for a very uncomfortable and disturbed night in the horsebox. By morning we were exhausted - the wind had calmed a little and the rain had passed leaving a murky grey sky. By 9am we had had breakfast, the sun was breaking through the overcast sky and lots of happy show visitors had started to filter through to our countryside area. I decided to get out the camera. It didn't work....ah....I'd forgotten to put the memory card back in! Never mind I had the video camera with me, I could take stills with'd got a flat battery! Oh well.

We kept busy all day working on a few footstools and a rush chair. Did I get to try any cheese? No! But we did have a very nice kangaroo meat pasty for lunch. By 6.30pm we were packed and ready to leave. Would Bernard start? Thankfully yes, he sparked first time, so we said quick goodbyes to our fellow crafters and set off for home. We were making really good time until 10 miles from home. We ran out of fuel. I should say here that there are two remaining gremlins in Bernard, the first lives in the battery charging system, it doesn't always work so sometimes the battery just goes flat for no reason and the other gremlin is in the fuel guage, that doesn't work at all. So we have a big stick for dipping the petrol tank to check the level and we try to preserve the battery wherever possible.

So picture the is dusk, we are on a very fast straight country road trying to hitch a lift to the nearest petrol station which is about 7 miles away. Eventually a very considerate man stops in a van with strangely blacked out windows and offers my other half a lift, which he gratefully accepts. Meanwhile I stay with the truck, trying to make the speeding motorists aware that we have broken down before they smash into the back of the box! I talked with our sons on the mobile, neither of them could come to our rescue, one was working and the other at a friends house without his car. I stand next to Bernard listening to the crickets at the roadside hoping that my other half hasn't been abducted. It's getting dark and I dare not turn on the horsebox lights it would flatten what battery we may, or may not have left, (remember the second Gremlin?)

Then there were flashing blue lights.........the police arrive. After the usual questions, "what's happened, what are you doing about it...etc" the two officers were very helpful. They parked back from the truck and put on their warning lights. I was glad of the company! Within ten minutes the same strange black car arrived with my other half and petrol can on board, what a relief. The fuel is poured in, but it will take some pumping up to the engine, will the battery have enough power to start the engine? It seemed to take a lifetime but thankfully it did start. The policemen must have thought I was a madwoman because as the engine fired I shouted, "Yeeesssss, there is a God" Maybe that's why they followed us half way home!

The very kind man who rescued us said that he was only able to offer a lift because he had no-one else on board. He is an Undertaker.

(Note to self - fix the trucks Gremlins)

Friday 10 September 2010

Porch rocker and preparing for the "Cheese Fest"

After all the excitement of Bernard passing his plating test on Wednesday it was serious "nose to the grindstone" time. The porch rocker with a drop-on close caned seat has taken a very long time, but at last it is finished.

Here it was before work started:

Here it is rewoven:

And finally, the colouring to match the old cane:

So now we pack the truck ready for the Cheese Festival! We've never been to this event before, so are really looking forward to it.

Thursday 9 September 2010

Bernard passed his test.........

After Bernard failed the annual "plating" test on Monday, we sent him to a mechanic who said that the handbrake would need to be adjusted and he would "take it from there", it could be that the only wheel cylinder that we haven't replaced has started to leak but the mechanic wouldn't know this until he delved a little deeper.........oh, please just let it be the handbrake.

The handbrake was adjusted, the brakes were bedded in, a bit of tweaking here and there and then the brakes were tested on a rolling road.

Bernard passed! Not only did he pass the test, but with flying colours - the braking system has never worked so well.

So, yesterday evening we collected him from Poole complete with a new 12 month pass certificate - deep joy! One less thing to think about, (to quote Forrest Gump).

So we shall go to the Frome Agricultural and Cheese Festival on Saturday after all.

Wednesday 8 September 2010

Word and wisdom of the week

Okay Thomas, this is just for you.

Our friend's son Thomas has been urging us to have a "word and wisdom" blog post every week because we just love finding new words and sayings to use. So as promised it starts this week.

Today's wisdom:

"It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation" - Herman Melville

Pretty apt for most people involved in craft or art.

Today's word:

Disingenuous - lacking in frankness, candour, or sincerity; falsely or hypocritically ingenuous; insincere.

What a great word - much nicer than saying someone's "telling you porkies".

Monday 6 September 2010


Bernard failed. Brakes, again! This time the handbrake's not good enough and there's an imbalance on the efficiency of the back brakes, (whatever that means). Our mechanic friend isn't at home so we can't do anything about fixing it.

Hey ho, looks like we'll be turning up to the show at Frome with the car and trailer!

Bernard's test

As I type, Bernard is being driven to Poole testing station for his annual "plating", the MOT test for trucks. The test is at 10am and I've got my fingers crossed so tightly that it hurts.

Last year was a fiasco. Our youngest went along with my other half just for the ride. The only booking we could get then was in Salisbury, which is a long drive away for us! Everything was fine, until the tester checked the brake lights....they had stopped working for no apparent reason. The testing officer decided that this was very, very serious and they would have to impound the truck!!! Luckily we had found a recovery company who are prepared to insure us for just this kind of event, it costs, but at times like this it's worth a million pounds. A phone call was made and the mechanic arrived in minutes - it turned out that his workshop was on the same industrial estate as the testing station - what a stoke of luck. But he couldn't work out why the lights didn't work either. He persevered for about 10 minutes fiddling with wires and bulbs. Miraculously he touched something and they worked, just in time for the tester to witness the fact! We never did get to the bottom of why the lights failed that day.

Bernard was allowed home complete with a "Pass" certificate.

This year the Gremlins have been haunting the offside front indicator light and the horn - sometimes they work, and sometimes they don't........please let them work PROPERLY today. We need to drive him to Frome on Saturday.

Wednesday 1 September 2010

Missed targets

We came close to doing all of the jobs set as targets recently but didn't quite make it - the target was a bit ambitious to say the least. The two arms of the bergere armchair did get cane woven into them, the Danish chair seats were started, one close woven seat was finished and I did make some more baskets. Now I'm working on a second HUGE close woven porch rocker seat.

The frame is stamped "Carolina Rocker" under one arm, so it has definitely crossed the pond from the US. It is so large compared with English rockers and incredibly heavy. The weaving is taking me forever even using a "steamer".....

We're still working in the office and kitchen as the garage/workshop rebuild is not due to begin properly until 10 days time, but at least we have been told that it WILL be finished in about 5 weeks. Huh, so much for wanting a workspace back in 6 weeks all told!!