Warning this post contains gratuitous nostalgia – feel free to just look at the pictures or ignore it entirely! But here is my retrospective on 2010, the Year just past, in only 12 photographs. A kind of backwards facing calendar? Very hard to pick 12 photographs – not because they are good (though I hope some are) but because to me they represent the year.
Hard work but it wasn’t a bad year, I made a lot of progress if not a lot of money. This year I’ll settle for more progress! Back in January, only 12 months ago snow was a novelty, particularly deep and crisp and even instead of the rather slushy and wet snow we normally get in Sussex. Oh, how little we knew.
February was the last chance to catch the Seville Orange season and make marmalade (yes you can freeze the oranges – but you do need space in the freezer). In the event it was a great batch – though perhaps the whisky helped!
In March I took my annual beachcombing tour of the Gower a chance to recharge the batteries and prepare for the coming season of shows and events. I learnt to make a Pesto sauce using the local wild garlic (Ransomes) – this photo is to remind me to collect more this year – though I chickened out of a photo of wild garlic and went with this photo of the sunset over Oxwich Point.
The second weekend of May is always the date for the annual general meeting of the Association of Polelathe Turners and Greenwood Workers – AKA – The Bodgers Ball. Probably the best Ball in the World – as Carlsberg might say. 2010 was no exception. Lots of lathes, even more spoons and more greenwood than you could shake a thumbstick at. But it’s certainly not all about the wood, there is also the beer and the campfire. My first real Log-to-Leg race and I got very nervous so things didn’t go too well – though I did finish.
Things went more smoothly at the Annual West Country Scythe Festival in June – but only just. Only my second time mowing competitively and I mowed my 5m x 5m patch in 1 minute 23 seconds, only 8 seconds behind the current champion – though the quality was so poor that I had to have my own category the ‘Fast but crap finish’ award!
By the New Forest show at the End of July I put a lot of time into improving my bowl turning technique along with better tools made over the winter and developing a new lathe intended to allow both spindle and bowl turning at shows. Clearly Alan Waters wasn’t as impressed by all this progress as I was and he promptly fell asleep to the sound of the lathe.
Though to be fair perhaps he was just storing up some strength for the coming storm. In August at Ashdown Forest Alan put on a traditional charcoal Earthburn as the centrepiece of a weeklong coppice event. The 2 tier charcoal clamp sealed with hay and earth was the largest to be burnt in the UK for around 20years and take special skills to control successfully as we all learnt. Here Mr Jameson tends to the just started kiln to help draw down the fire.
In September the Autumn shows start, the beginning of the end of the Season. You think you are working hard and it just keeps on getting harder. A very busy period – my busiest period yet and very hard work trying to keep enough stock on the stand to be able to sell – which is of couse good news in that I sold it, or perhaps bad news if I sold it too cheaply? As always an imperfect science.
‘Twas a great year for apples. In 2009 I forewent making much cider due to time constraints and this year despite the same constraints I was determined not to lose out again. There is something very therapeutic about making cider from fruit in the Autumn, a part of recognising the progress of the Seasons. I even managed to make a little Perry as well – here’s hoping it will be a fine vintage in the new Year. Most of my Cider making was completed in September but the last show of the season is the New Forest Steam and Cider weekend at Burley. Say no more!
The autumn colours on the trees were exceptional this year. The Birch trees on the Lynchmere Commons were almost surreal showering us with golden leaves through November.A warning of the weather to come perhaps?
And then there was December. Just when you think it’s all over – the temperature plummeted rapidly and then it started. Not just the snow but also making Spurtles again. I normally have a couple of months off over the winter on the spurtle front but I’ve been making these spurtles especially for the BBC Radio 4 programme ‘Broadcasting house’ hence the stylised microphone on the end.
Well that’s it. So much to mention, did I say Landro………… but no more time. Goodbye to 2010 and time to look firmly forwards into 2011. If I manage to achieve as much again in the coming year I think I will be pleased. I know if will be busy and interesting and I hope yours will be as well!