Posts Tagged ‘Pole and Treadle Lathe Turning’

Mike’s final transhumance

 

A misty September morning on the Brookhouse Wood 'Verandah'

A misty September morning on the Brookhouse Wood ‘Verandah’

Transhumance is the seasonal movement of people with their livestock between higher summer pastures and winter pastures in the lower valleys. Since I established my enterprise at the end of September 1985, I have made such a twice-yearly journey, moving between my winter retreat and my woodland workshop for a series of summer green wood courses. To coincide with this 30th anniversary, I shall be saying a final farewell to Brookhouse Wood on the last weekend of the September.

  • From 7pm on Saturday 26th there will be a celebration around a campfire on ‘the verandah’ at my woodland workshop, of music, song and merriment. Bring food and drink to share. Overnight camping will be available if you bring your own tent.
  • On Sunday morning starting at 11am, there will be a procession along the lanes from Brookhouse Wood to the Majors Arms at Halmonds Frome
  • From 1pm there will be a spit roast (plus vegan option) at the Majors Arms where you can buy a selection of good local beers and ciders with fabulous views across to the Welsh Hills.
  • At 3pm the procession will lead to Greenwood Cottage where Mike will unload his belongings and visitors will be served with tea, cakes and scones.
  • At 5pm the procession will lead back to Brookhouse Wood where visitors will be able to depart for home. If some of you would like to stay overnight for a quiet celebration of the Lunar eclipse, then please let us know.

The Coiled Spring

I have just read through my previous blog entry – the secret power of trees and the rhythm of life – and it resonates more now than it did back in December.

Johnny Walshe has just posted a video he made while he took part in our Development Week at Brookhouse wood exactly a year ago. The sun was shining, the soil seemed too dry then but it crumbled beautifully under the horse drawn plough. Tom and Owen (Dillon & Thomas – I still think this is a brilliant band name) were in full voice, singing and playing around the fire, while others just gently mooched around the workshop.

Owen, Jack and the other assistants helped us get through the wettest summer ever with their energy, song and laughter but the Mayan prediction of the end of the world edged ever nearer. Little malfunctions started to happen – my chainsaw packed up in August, my car in November and all the time, news of ash dieback hung over us like the Grim Reaper. Two days after the courses finished in September, I helped my 92-year old father move into a nearby care home and by Christmas he was about settled there. We took a few day-trips, had some slap-up lunches together and took time to catch up on each other’s lives.

Eventually in January I had four good weeks tucked away in our cosy new cruck barn, frenziedly working on the new version of Living Wood (which I had enthusiastically announced on this blog way back in July). Then in February my father caught a chest infection and on 22nd he died – peacefully in his bed. ‘He’d had a good innings’ everybody says but it was heartbreaking to be with him for the last few weeks as he steadily lost the will to live. Surely there must be better ways to finish a life. Since then funerals, probates and sifting through his belongings have taken over from the new book. One consolation has been that I have felt spring has been holding its breath, encouraging me to sort out the unforeseen administration involved in the death of a parent.

So Johnny’s video reminds me that spring is aptly named – the coiled spring of the pole-lathe pole is quietly lifting the treadle back, ready for the next empowering downward stroke. The bluebells will eventually emerge and life will return to the woods with firewood being sawn, split and stacked. A steady stream of enthusiastic visitors will arrive to make more beautiful chairs in our amazing sylvan paradise and Living Wood 4th edition will be launched this summer, with its vibrant new cover and a new crop of photos taken at Brookhouse Wood over the last seven years.

The cover for Living Wood 4th edition