What better way to spend a cold, wet and windy equinox evening than to tune in to watch the first edition of Kevin McCloud’s Man-made Home. And there he is with my old mate Brian Williamson helping him demolish a couple of oak trees and then rebuild them to build a cabin in a little patch of woodland.
Having three hours ago completed my summer programme of green wood courses I am now unleashed to spend the forthcoming winter completing the 4th edition of my book Living Wood. In the first 3 editions the strap-line was ‘From Buying a Woodland to Making a Chair’ but for the 4th edition we have changed it to ‘60 years of Playing in the Woods’ and Kevin’s totally amateurish and naïve approach to his cabin encapsulates perfectly my own lifetime of building and playing in woodland dens.
Together with my inspiring wife Tamsin, and two groups of willing volunteers we too have spent a chunk of 2012 building a shed out of timber harvested from the local woodlands.
Ben Law’s Grand Design programme in which he built a woodland house, was ground-breaking in showing that it is possible for a team of skilled craftsmen to build a beautiful house with very little expense. What Kevin’s latest programme shows is that a bunch of piss-heads can also gain that same sense of fulfillment by aiming for a far more attainable goal – to build a modest structure straight from a tree.
I hope Kevin’s new series takes lots of people one step nearer to giving it a go – be it a shed, a bed, a chair, a hay-rake or a spoon – and of course buying a copy of Living Wood to help them on their way.