Tuesday 31 May 2011

Soggy.....but successful!

Of all the days! No rain for weeks, then a downpour.....ALL DAY, it was such a shame. But this is England and we expect adverse weather, don't we? In typical British fashion the supporters of the Sherborne show were not going to let a bit of water stop their fun, oh no! Out with the brollies and wellies, four layers of clothing topped off with a waterproof jacket and away you go - no problem.

The show seemed busier than ever, almost as if everyone had come because of the rain! Jive pony, (website here) were performing in the main ring and even they stoically did their acrobatic equestrian act in leotards despite the pouring rain. They did have to scale down for the second performance when Ronan their gorgeous Highland pony seemed to have a bit of a problem with his shoulder, he was "retired" from the afternoon performance whilst the girls quickly put together a new one horse show, "on the hoof" so to speak!

So here we are drinking tea - lots of it, to keep warm. The lady standing next to my other half is Kath who trades as "Cradle to Grave". She is a highly talented basketmaker and yurt builder who very sensibly was nice and cosy working next to us protected from the weather in two linked yurts!

And the child sized rocker......? Well it still lives with me, for now.

Sunday 29 May 2011

Off to Sherborne

The horsebox is packed with food, clothes and furniture, just need to get some fuel, (again!) and then we're off to Sherborne Castle. We did finish one or two special little projects for the show, here's one when it was halfway through.

Perhaps someone at the show will fall in love with this little child sized rocking chair and give it a new home, but if not, it can live with me!

Back to the office on Tuesday.

Monday 23 May 2011

One week to the Sherborne Castle Country Fair

So....... an update. We now have many restored footstool frames and more importantly, Bernard's fuel gauge and charging systems work, thanks to the fantastic family run commercial vehicle workshop in Poole! So all that's left  for us to do now is to weave about five footstool seats, clean and polish Bernard, redesign and build our display stand, re-polish four chair frames, make another egg basket and.......and......

Meanwhile on Saturday amid all of the preparation work, I realised that it had been one year to the day since we lost our beautiful cat Rodney. Time has flown. We were pretty much doing the same things last year preparing for Sherborne when he was suddenly taken ill, that months posts are here http://seatweaving.blogspot.com/2010_05_01_archive.html His mum is still with us, she will be 19 in September, but is a poor little soul now with wobbly back legs, a gammy eye and not much appetite for anything really. She's happy though, just as lovable as ever. So some memories of Rodders.....

Thursday 19 May 2011

Footstool frames

All week, frame after frame has gone through the restoration process - feels like I've done millions of them! Stripping, re-gluing, re-finishing and we've still got the seats to weave yet. But it is satisfying to look around the workshop now......

Piles of frames everywhere! The soda blasting of the American rocking chair was only partly successful, so I will have to persevere with that one another time. Meanwhile, talking of perseverance............

Word of the Week:

Assiduous -constant in application or effort; working diligently at a task; persevering; attentive.

It's been a good week here for "assiduous".

Wisdom of the Week:

"I think we have more machinery of government than is necessary, too many parasites living on the labour of the industrious" - Thomas Jefferson 3rd US President!

And he said that over 200 years ago, so what's changed.......?

Monday 16 May 2011

Progress report

I've used enough soda to bake dozens of cakes! Who'd have ever thought that under pressure blasted at a piece of wood soda could do this......

Or this.....

So the result is we now have 13 footstool frames almost re-finished and a further 7 stripped! I've got a more ambitious plan for today, soda blasting an American rocking chair. These chairs are very intricate and normally a complete nightmare to hand strip with chemicals, so I'm looking forward to seeing the results.

The little footstool in the background will be the next candidate.

We had a lovely day yesterday, a friend of ours held an open day at his yard. He is the proud owner of 10 classic commercial trucks and amongst them are 2 handsome wooden horseboxes all of which were on display. We took Bernard and loads of other people turned up with their classic trucks, London taxis, motorbikes and all sorts of old engineering including an "O" guage model railway set. There was even a lady making Dorset buttons. Our friend's wife laid on burgers and salad followed by home made apple pie - she catered for 160 as a coachload of sixty people also turned up! All donations, (and I hope there were lots) are to be given to the local cottage hospital where our friend's wife received treatment recently. A really friendly traditional good time was had by all.

Meanwhile Bernard is now at the doctor's! We took him this morning to have his charging system and petrol gauge fixed. At least we will be able to tell how much fuel we have in future.....hopefully......

Wednesday 11 May 2011

Getting the weave wrong

We've been sorting things out........never a good plan, but it's surprising what you find. As we're getting ready to have a mass soda blasting session, we have trawled through our bits and pieces to see what will and what won't blast. Lo and behold, we came across this pair of chairs:

Nothing wrong with them you may say, until you look more closely:

The weaving is all wrong! The seat on the right looks okay, it is a six way weave but when you look closer....

The diagonals have been woven under when they should be over and vice versa which makes the lines wiggly instead of straight and will also lead to the cane cutting against itself when you sit on the seat. And the seat on the left:

Known as Gypsy weave, named after the travelling weavers who most commonly used it. Still a six way weave, but basically getting it wrong....albeit consistently to form a regular pattern!  Which leads me on to this weeks word and wisdom.

Word of the Week:

Assonance - resemblance of sounds, partial agreement or correspondence. (or as Julie Walters said in the film "Educating Rita" - "getting the rhyme wrong")

Wisdom of the Week:

"I am easily satisfied with the very best" - Winston Churchill. 

Yes, indeed I am!

Sunday 8 May 2011

Bernard, our project next week......

Well it's that time of the year again. Bernard our trusty old horsebox needs his annual overhaul. The best news is at least we can move him now thanks to a wonderful friend of ours. Up until the middle of last week the clutch was seized and we had no way of being able to deseize it - our friend came to the rescue. He fiddled and thumped, moved and shook the truck, then suddenly, we heard a click.....the clutch was freed! However, our friend doesn't know how he did it - so none of us are any the wiser how to fix it if it happens again. Hey ho.

So tomorrow I will be soda blasting various bits of furniture and truck. Then we will be cleaning various bits of furniture and truck..... and finally, we will be re-painting or re-finishing various.................!

Not the most exciting prospect in the world is it? But someone has to do it. By the end of the week we will hopefully have a handsome truck AND some footstool frames to work on at our first show of the year at Sherborne Castle at the end of May. It is wishful thinking on my part but it would be great if Bernard looked as good as he did when we spent 800 hours on him 6 years ago:

But to quote one of our sons, "that ain't gonna happen". It's more likely that I'll be making up a sign saying "Please excuse me I'm a Work in Progress"!

Tuesday 3 May 2011

I hate cleaning!

I hope everyone has enjoyed the holidays - what great weather we've had and whatever people think about Royal Weddings, the pageantry was pretty impressive and Kate looked stunning didn't she? They look like one very happy couple.

Sadly we didn't get a lot of time to watch weddings or enjoy the sun, we were decorating and cleaning Mother in Law's house! It was over 16 months ago now that she went into a specialist care home following a sudden onset of seriously debilitating demetia, it came as quite a shock, I wrote about it here. But now, finally we have almost finished the total restoration of her house so that it can go on the market. As usual, our timing is awful for selling a house, but it has to be done, how else will the care home bill be paid.....??? So frustrating. Because of her condition the house was in an appalling state. She did employ someone occasionally to do cleaning, but as is often the case with elderly people, the need for company and a good chat got in the way of housework. So I have been CLEANING!!!

Spot the difference. There are two sets of three of these.

My knees ache from scuttling around washing all of the skirting boards, but you have to get this muck off before you can paint don't you? Everything has had to be scrubbed, bleached, polished and dusted to within an inch of it's life!! (...and that's just my hands...) Some restoration job, but nearly done now. Now we're back at work to have a rest, (hahaha).