Monday, 9 November 2015

Goblets and bowls

The lathe is now set up on a bench, and I have had a chance to practice using my new tools.

My first thing...EVER!

An oak goblet.

Then I thought I'd have a go at a bowl using an offcut from a thick kitchen worktop.

These were sanded using a fine grit and natural oils used to finish.

A few days later I made and acorn in softwood, sanded on the lathe, polished with wax and buffed with soft safety cloth.

I enjoy this craft a lot and can't wait to learn how to do it better.

Monday, 26 October 2015

My first go at wood turning!

I thought I'd show you my first ever go on my new lathe!

This was a short section of low quality softwood which was originally meant for a decking spindle.

I must say, I'm rather pleased with my efforts...

...I just need to make sure my chisels are REALLY sharp next time!

Saturday, 24 October 2015

A new toy!

Hello again friends!

I thought I'd let you in on a new exciting project!

Today I bought an old wood lathe off a friend of my Dad....

...for £50!!!!

I got 13 chisels, spare chucks, rests and other fittings for that too!

As you can probably imagine, I am SOOOO excited!

Lets see  what comes of this new hobby.

Watch this space!

Saturday, 21 September 2013


No, not a real one!

Can you see it?

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Memories relived and revived.

17 (ish) years ago I bought a CB750 chop... 15 years ago the cam sprocket came loose, damaging 8 of the 16 valves and seizing the engine.

Recently I bought a working cylinder head off  a well known auction site for £110, which, is amazingly cheap as it comes with everything I need to get the old thing going again (hopefully!)

I've removed the head and block and discovered the cam chain had pinched itself down by the main drive. This I rectified and now it's just(!) a case of cleaning, smoothing, polishing and then putting everything back!

Here's a photo of it in action...

...and here's a pic of it with seat, carbs most wiring and head off...

More pics and news on the revival of this old monster to come!

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Sunday roast.

Jo has been rather ill this weekend, so I took it upon myself to cook dinner. 

Roast chicken, roast potatoes, parsnips and carrots and peas.

It's been over 15 years since I last did one of these babies.

I was pleased with everything apart from the peas which I overcooked - but hey ho, you can't have everything can you!?


Sunday, 31 March 2013

Inspirational Easter!

Since I was outside and it's easter - I thought I'd carve something with my chainsaw in a Eucalyptus log....

....I found it very relaxing and the hour I spent carving went in a second! My son Kane thinks it's amazing! ( What a fantastic kid!!! )   ;)

I need to make some slight adjustments and clean it up, but what do you think of my first effort?



Kane– Ancient Tiki God of Light and Life
In Hawaiian mythology, Kane Milohai is the father of the tiki gods Ka-moho-ali'i, Pele (whom he exiled to Hawaii), Kapo, Namaka and Hi'iaka by Haumea. He created the sky, earth and upper heaven and gave Kumu-Honua the garden. He owned a tiny seashell that, when placed on the ocean's waves, turned into a huge sailboat. The user of the boat had merely to state his destination and the boat took him there. In agricultural and planting traditions, Kane was identified with the sun.
     In many chants and legends of Ancient Hawaii, Kane is paired with the god Kanaloa, and is considered one of the four great Hawaiian divinities along with Kanaloa, Ku, and Lono.

Fallen tree surprise

A few weeks back we had two Eucalyptus trees fall in the wind - it didn't help them that they were undermined by rabbits.

Out of all the plants and trees in our garden my favourite were these. I loved the fact the bark just peeled off them to reveal the wonderful coloured trunk underneath, the reds, yellows and greys are amazing. Not least because they seemed to spiral around the trunk and catch the light on a summer's day.

I looked at getting someone in to clear them, I looked at prices of chainsaws and decided to get a cheap one and see if I could do it myself.

I spent £100 on a 37cc Spear & Jackson chainsaw with a 16" bar. See below. 

It's a great little machine, although it has plenty of low ratings on the website, one that should not be underestimated in the world of power tools.

Now, I have no experience of using a chainsaw - indeed, I've always declined when given the chance to try one out, but I thought this would be the perfect chance to have a go. My experience in the past with various woodworking machines and trimmers is quite relevant with this tool, so I wasn't too worried with the actual use and safety of it. I have the proper headgear with ear and face protection, a thick work coat and decent gloves. I will invest in a pair of proper chainsaw trousers as soon as I can. 

On with the trial!

I managed to chop most of the main part of the first tree, but had to leave the top and bottom section for when it got lighter.

...and a little later...

...and we have some logs!

Overall, a great little chainsaw with plenty of power to get the job done and a successful trial for me.

....more to come!

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Not all fun and games!

Well I don't seem to be able to do anything but work and sleep at the moment.

What with the snow and bad weather recently, it's not been easy at work in the yard. The timber is frozen together and it seems I spend a large proportion of my time breaking apart packs and lengths of wood!

I went out last Friday on some deliveries and, even though it started to snow, I thought I'd be ok but unfortunately the weather was getting worse and the roads were quite bad.

Now, a lot of our deliveries are to farms and places in the country - you can see from the photo above that the quiet lanes aren't gritted at all!

Luckily most of my journeys on Friday were off main roads, but even they were a nightmare as you can see from the photo below! This was just the start of it.

Below is a shot of the first congestion I encountered - not as major as it looks but still took me an hour to do something like 5 miles.

After all the deliveries were completed it was time to go home... this was to be a major problem as by now the snow was falling heavily and traffic was crawling along like a snail!

You can see above the tailback on the A27... in fact the congestion started waaaaaay before the slip road. It took me an hour and 40 minutes to drive 29 miles.

I had a phone call from my boss at 1:30pm telling me that he'd sent everyone else home and he was waiting for me - I actually got back to work at 2:40pm.

PHEW! What a day THAT was - it's been a lot better on the roads as the councils have been gritting well, but unlucky for me they don't come to our yard and separate the bits of wood!


Thursday, 10 January 2013

Testing 1, 2, 3!

Ok ....  my first post by smartphone app!

I never got into Twitter, mainly because people on there generally spout all sorts of pointless nonsense.

Anyway I look forward to seeing how this form of blogging works out for me.

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Annual visitation.

WOW! Has it really been almost a year since my last post!?

Like most of you, a lot of things have changed since March 2012!

I got a new job in the beginning of the year - I finished my contract at the sword place after 3 months - a shame, but I did what I was employed to do and it was time to move on.

Now I work in the yard at AVS Fencing, which is an interesting job - very physical but there are some great guys who work there who make the job entertaining.

Dave the yard Foreman (left) and I


I get to drive a forklift and sometimes the transit van for deliveries - all very exciting!

Lewes Boccia is still growing with new people coming along and boosting our numbers.

Boccia is a fantastic inclusive sport for disabled and able people and one very close to my heart as my son (seen front of photo with his new pro ramp and a massive cheesey grin) also plays - and to a good standard.

We have many good players and still hope, one day, to enter a competition...maybe this year will be the year!

It's been a bad year for our chickens, losing all but two, a Purple Haze hen and the male I reared from an egg - Star.

I' going to work on the coops and runs this year so future chickens(?) will be safer and better than they are now.

Well, that's all for now - hopefully see you all again before next year eh!?


Sunday, 4 March 2012

Something different!

Today I wanted to do something different!

So I made bread!


Saturday, 3 March 2012

New Year - new start.

It's been a while, but already I'm probably blogging more than last year!

I left my last job at the sword place as I finished what I was doing for them. So now I'm looking for a job, anything would do really, as long as I pay the bills and feed my family I'd be happy. I've been sending off application after application this last month or so, got one interview for a job that didn't exist but at least I have my foot through the door at that company now. :D

We went on Holiday to Florida recently to Disney World which was amazing on so many levels! This was our first holiday in something like 8 years and Kane's first proper holiday ever!

The photograph at the top of this post is one of Kane and I at Epcot on the Aqua Seas Tour. Jo bought this for our Birthday treat. This was proper scuba diving but without weights, so we swam around on the surface looking at all the sharks, turtles and fish below. I loved the man made coral reef and the fish swimming around and through it - the colours were incredibly vivid.
     The best thing about this (apart from doing it in the first place, with Kane of course) was the fact that Jo had also bought us both prescription masks, so I was able to see underwater for the first time in 30 years!! - THANKS JO!

We met some great people like Terry who was from Buffalo, NY. He was a construction worker who had driven massive dumpers and wanted to run a fishing charter boat at Niagara Falls. Not heard back from him, but he was a breath of fresh air in Disney, and we had a lot in common.

We also met Wayne Moore, who was an ordinary cast member at Animal Kingdom Lodge but because of his incredible passion for Disney trading pins he was given a new role. He is now King Pin, who is available every day at 3pm at AKL to trade pins - Kane got some really cool pins from him, and a couple of very special ones too!

It was a great trip, the flight over wasn't too bad, and the flight back was ok too - it's always a drag, but I was sat next to a tech journalist who lent me his Kindle and introduced me to a series of books I will read one day. Not only that, but we had some great chats about online gaming and other 'stuff'.

Hopefully sometime soon I'll get a job, but until then I've been working at home on the garden and chickens a little.

I hope you'll keep reading as I will post separate posts on what I'm doing here - and a run through of our holiday.

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Christmas already!?

...not quite, but it will be on us in the blink of an eye!

Life is a changin', I have just finished my 4th week at my new job and I'm absolutely loving it!

I am now a cutler. I work for Pooley Sword who provide swords for the Ministry of Defence and other military establishments.

It turns out that we also made Prince William's sword for his wedding to Kate Middleton!

You can see the Prince's left hand resting on the bottom of the guard in the above picture.

We have also refurbished Prince Phillip's swords amongst other. Just finished a sword to be presented to Bernie Ecclestone too!

So, work is amazingly interesting and different every single day. I am in charge of stock and logistics and have already implemented a couple of ideas to make things work a little more smoothly, whilst I have also found ways of saving money too.

All the family is well, and we are looking forward to Christmas!

See you all soon!


Sunday, 10 July 2011

New Chickens on the block!

We've had a bit of a weird week, so we thought we'd get out the house for a while.
    Putting on our shoes Jo, Kane and I jumped in the car and went to St Martin's Wood to have a look at some chickens and buy some feed. It's a nice drive, only about 20 minutes, but it's enough of a change to clear the head and see some beautiful countryside - sometimes that's all you need!
   Jo had found their Facebook page and discovered that there was a discount, offered by the new owners, for this weekend only. The only way to secure this discount was to mention the new addition to their family, which was an Alsatian puppy called Indy. It all seemed a bit cloak and dagger if you ask me - walking up to the owner and saying in hushed tones;

"You have an Alsatian puppy called Indy"

I half expected him to say something back like "the larks fly at night"! It was a bit weird!

Anyway, we looked around and chatted about what sort of chickens we liked and the gentleman showed us what stock he had in. There were a lot of lovely looking chickens there, and it took a few minutes of looking at each other and debating to find out that we were actually going to buy some then and there.

Jo started to look around and pick chickens while the man tried to corner them and catch them - he said he could catch them first time, but seemed to have more than a bit of trouble catching the ones Jo and Kane wanted. Admittedly they were running around like Usain Bolt!

The chickens were put in a large box with plenty of holes, and then put in the back of the car with Kane keeping a good eye on them. Two bags of feed followed the box into the back of the car. I paid for the lot and also a large water dispenser which I will pick up next weekend as they were out of stock at the time - but we got the 10% discount which was really worth it in the end!

So, to the bit you've been looking forward to - the unveiling of my new 'ladies'.

So there you go - the gentle integration of our 4 new ladies into the family. I put them in with Star and two Isa Reds as Star is the youngest and fittest cockerel and will outlive Rhydian - sounds harsh, but it's how life goes I guess.

Thanks to Jo for those photos, below are the close up pics I took whilst inside the run. We have two Red Rock and two Blue Haze chickens.

Our Blue Haze ladies.

Checking out their new home.

A close up of one of the Red Rocks.

An unsure Star looks on.

I kept an eye on them most of the afternoon, and they kept themselves to themselves mostly, the new ladies taking over the coop, while Star, Queenie and Minnie decided the corner of the run was the best place to watch the new girls. Star tried several times to be amorous, but the new girls weren't having any of it - apart from once. We only have one name so far - as one of the Blue Haze birds has the lightest colouring, but is also heavy - so I thought of calling her Stone to start with (cos of the weight and colour) but Jo came up with Joss - as in Joss Stone. I'm happy with that!  

Then in the evening Kane and I spent the second night in a tent in our garden - next post I expect!

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Lewes Boccia club update

Since I started Lewes Boccia there have been some changes.

I always envisaged the club to be open to everyone without limitations, but to start with I had to narrow the field down for what was specifically needed at the time which was a club tailored to my son Zak's needs.

Since running the taster sessions and the multisports sessions at Wave Leisure centre, the club has at last totally opened up to all ages and all disabilities.

On the 11th June, Zak and I (and Jo and Kane!) went to Northease Manor school, which isn't far from where we live, to promote Lewes Boccia. We arrived to find two long tables placed for us, and we set about putting our information out - plus our balloon bunting! 

We had photographs of our sessions, information packs, Lewes Boccia stickers, tee shirts and various equipment to show people what Boccia is all about. 

Here we are behind our promotion table. I thought of taking our big garden umbrella and stand as it looked like rain - good job we did as it threw it down for about 10 minutes!

It's not a particularly big fete, but it was our first time of promoting our club. We met a surprising amount of people when they visited our stall to see what Lewes Boccia was, and we were able to give out our information packs and a LOAD of stickers!

It was great to meet everyone that day, and we even met one lad who came from Zak's school! Overall it was a good day, and is something we shall definitely do again when we get the chance!

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Back to basics

You may have noticed my lack of regular blog over the last year, this is because I have been concentrating on my other projects.
     The first one is the Kingston News, a village newsletter that goes out every month. It was failing as far as funding goes, and the treasurer was starting to get concerned over costs and longevity of the paper. When I took over, the previous editor didn't like asking for money for submissions, and after only two months I had implemented a pricing tariff for articles and adverts. Now, after almost a full year, the Kingston News is thriving, with people sending me the correct money, and happy to do so as they realise I have the villages best interests in mind.
     I have also turned it around so much that I we are able to sponsor a literacy award to Keystage 1 and 2 at my youngest son's school in the village. We are providing two wooden, engraved trophies for the kids - better than a book token I feel, as they get to keep them forever. 
     I have also created a website for the paper, which I keep updated with stories and photographs from the village.

The other thing that has been taking my time up this year is Lewes Boccia. You can read more about this on my other post, but briefly, my son couldn't find anywhere to play the paralympic sport Boccia, so we created a club ourselves! 
     It was the 14th January that was the defining moment of the club, it was after a meeting with the local leisure centre manager that I realised I had to start the club. Up to then it was just an idea floating around.
     We have helped the leisure centre run some multisport activities involving Boccia for young disabled kids, and also run two taster sessions for our own club. Our first proper club session was last week and it went very well indeed, with all participants enjoying themselves.
     I also created the website for Lewes Boccia, and it will evolve and be updated as much as it needs to.

I have been busy with Zak as well. We have been making ramps for him and the club, going into the shed for hours at a time on the weekends!
     Our last time in the shed was spent designing and cutting to size materials for a table type raised bed.
The raised bed I made previously in our vegetable patch wasn't high enough for Zak, so the only other solution was to build something off the floor. Most of the parts are ready to put together, and we should be able to finish it this coming weekend.

In between everything else, it's the Easter holidays, Kane is home for two weeks. We've spent some of the nicer days playing outside throwing his frisbee and firing rockets up to 400ft up in the air with his stompy air toy.
     We've had some real laughs outside as the frisbee and rockets sometimes go in some strange places and hit bits of the body we'd rather not mention!
     Kane has also been sitting on my lap driving 'The Rig' (my ride on lawn mower) around the garden, flattening the mole runs and helping me cut and move some low hanging branches.

The soil for the raised beds arrived this morning, dropped off by an old work colleague from a firm I used to work for, which means I have more work to do!

Saturday, 5 March 2011

A numerical wonder!


This blog just hit the 3000 pageview mark!

(although the counter was put on here way after I started)

Thanks all for reading!


Saturday, 26 February 2011

Lewes Boccia club is here!

A couple of months ago, Zak asked me to find somewhere for him to play Boccia. For those of you who don't know what Boccia is, it's a paralympic sport, created for athletes with cerebral palsy, and other impairments. You have to play it sitting in a chair, and it's similar to bowls - you have a white 'jack' ball, and you have to get your own coloured balls nearest to it to win.
     After a few weeks of looking for a Boccia club in our county, I found that most of the 'clubs' available were either within schools or residential places. I did find one locally, but it was for people 60+! That was in a residential home anyway. 
     Unable to find anywhere for Zak to play, I threw a flippant remark at him, saying maybe we should start up our own club, since there was nothing about. Zak agreed, in fact he seemed really impressed by the idea. 
     As I'd never done anything like this before it was difficult to know where to start, but I phoned the governing body of Boccia in the UK, and they thought it was a great idea. They in turn gave my email address to a couple of people. One person who called was a trustee of the local leisure centre group, and someone who knew about Boccia - what a result! She put me in touch with the manager of our local centre, and a meeting was booked for the 14th January.
     It all seemed to happen so fast after that. I had the meeting with the manager and a young man who's title was Disability Co-ordinator, it is a new post there, but it basically means it's his job to get the disabled into the   centre. It was only after that meeting that the club was officially formed. What happened next was a blur in my eyes.
     Within three weeks, I had a club name, a bank account, flyers, posters, designs for pin badges and stickers, and a website. I had also designed banners (4' x 2' for promotion purposes), tee shirts, not to mention I was able to take part in a official Boccia England training course!
     Part of the meeting at the leisure centre was to do with what they were already setting up for disabled young people. They were putting on some multisport activities, such as wheelchair basketball, or table cricket, wall climbing and other such sports. I was asked if I would be able to an introduction to Boccia on their taster days, so I jumped at the chance. I decided the best option was to be able to take Zak, so Friday evenings 5pm - 6pm were organised. The first one is on March 4th.
     The next logical action was to book my own taster days and so Jo accompanied me to the centre and I booked a month of Sundays to see if this idea/club would be viable. Paul the manager was so keen to get our club there, he gave us two hours in the sports hall free to use as our own taster sessions to introduce people to Boccia and our club.
     Now we have a website, email address and are even on Facebook!

All the contact details are on our website with information on our taster sessions;

Zak is very pleased, as he has the membership number 001. He has his own laminated membership photo ID and a cool lanyard we bought him from Barcelona this week.

I also received a message from Boccia England asking me to contact a woman about 30 miles away, which I did straight away. It turns out that she used to play on the national Boccia team, and has been looking for such a club for years! I was pleased to be able to tell her all about the club, show her our website and facebook page, and she seemed very excited.

It proved to me that this club is exactly what some wheelchair users have been waiting for - they start to play the game within their schools or placements, and then once they leave, there is nowhere for them to go to play. More importantly, it somewhere for people who have been or still are wrapped up in their 'bubble' to get out, and meet new people in a similar situation.

There is a sad lack of social occasions for wheelchair users in this area, but hopefully that is about to change.

Fingers crossed all will go well on our taster days, and we start to form a regular membership!


Saturday, 19 February 2011

Has it really been THAT long!? (updated - photo added)

WOW! Doesn't time fly by quick!

It's a whole new year and this is my first post!

A lot happened the end of last year - at least, this was the last thing on my mind if I'm being honest.

I hope to get back into regular posting, as there is so much going on now.

Kane is now 8 years old! It doesn't seem that long ago that I was holding him after he had just been born. He looked up to me with one eye as if to say "you'll do" then closed it again.

My wife has started running arty crafty courses, Kane is doing really well at school, Zak is adjusting to
semi-independent life and has a new interest which he is sharing with me, called Boccia. I'll do another post detailing exactly what has been going on there, but what started as a flippant remark to Zak, has turned into something far more - Lewes Boccia club!

My Birthday was on the 16th Feb, and I had a lovely day - got some nice presents, and some cash to pay for a private Soo Bahk Do lesson!

Jo and I celebrated Valentines Day by giving each other cards and then having lunch at the restaurant we went to for our first meal together. The Chef there has worked at a few restaurants including the Fat Duck owned by Heston Bloomenthal, and produced some very nice food indeed.

Also we lost three of the chicks we originally hatched, losing the silkie with smooth feathers quite recently. The good news is that the first one to hatch has turned into a very handsome cockerel called Star. You can see the silkie in him though with the 'brillo pad' on his head instead of a vertical comb. It's nice to see him climb the pecking order too - it will be nice to see him up the top some day! You can see a photo of him at the top of the post.

There is more news, but I'll write about those after they've happened (obviously!).

If you're reading this I'd like to say Happy New Year to you, as I missed doing it on the 1st Jan, and I wish you all the best for the coming year!