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Winter and Spring 2008




Dark Dismal December…

… to alliterate for a moment came and went. During Christmas week we finally got to Mark Mc’s farm at Binley to mill a Walnut tree. Brian had felled the tree in August after talking to Mark’s ‘man’ at the Blacksmith. Unfortunately he didn’t discuss with Mark whether he wanted the tree which was at the edge of one of his fields felled.

It’s fair to say he could have been described as niggled. Actually, livid was closer and he and Brian had words. As I was sunning myself in France and knew nothing about it Mark wasn’t upset with me so I let him finish the harvest and cool down and discussed the way forward.



Mark sells timber in the round…

… and has had a Woodmizer in fairly recently so he knew how expensive it is to ‘get a man in’ and agreed that getting it milled on site was sensible.


On site is good, where it fell against a fence in a windy field is less good so we persuaded Mark to 'pop it' in the farmyard which had a firm base and was sheltered.


Rob pictured guides him in.

The job was arranged...


.... before Rob had his saw so Gordon was booked to do it on a Saturday at the beginning of October. Unfortunately his Landrover let him down a couple of days before and he cried off. A suitable date didn’t pop up and it was suddenly winter.

Christmas week was the first available and Rob agreed to come and do it. It milled very nicely though I only ended up with 4 planks as Mark wanted some and I sold a couple to Paul a customer who had come for some Oak but got badgered into coming and watching. Happily he came back for the Oak a couple of weeks later.

After all the metal in our first jobs it was a pleasant surprise to get through the tree unscathed.

It isn't about making a lot of money ...


... I always tell myself unconvincingly. It is more getting good timber and finding a happy owner. No really it's true, if I was obsessed with material things I'd be a lawyer.


One such was getting out of his Ferrari when a truck passed too close and and took his wing mirror off.


"Oh my god he screamed he's ripped my mirror off".


A passing doctor came over and said "You bloody lawyers are so obsessed with your possessions you haven't noticed he's also ripped your arm clean off."


The lawyer look down and screams in greater horror "Oh Godddddd, he's taken my Rolex too"

With Christmas already a hazy memory…

… the New Year began rather wet and windy, this is how I like my women but not my wood days so I didn’t do a lot.


Somewhere around then Brian located another even bigger Walnut tree. He went and did the deal but with the surrounding land waterlogged this was put to the back of the queue.

The Landy started playing up again. I know the old girl is 23 but we do maintain her well. I saw a customer’s blog a few years ago where he said Brian and Paul were helpful but you will probably have to push their Landrover, so it’s been happening for a long time, still we usually knock a few quid off if you’ve been inconvenienced.


One poor bloke…


… drove it into a tree as Brian endeavoured to drag it into life by towing it with the tractor. I only learned this when I saw the bumper had been straightened. I thought it was the LPG gas playing up so took it to the very helpful people at Picket Piece Motors but their diagnostic computer gave the gas the all clear and found a cracked coil and knackered HT leads.


A bent bumper and new leads would have been nothing to Rob. One of his climbers left the tailgate down on his tipping Landy with the result the chassis was bent.



After considering all the options…


… he decided to turn his Landy into a six wheeler. This involved towing it to Essex for the new chassis and a four week headache with problems like having to completely uprate the brakes with new everything I believe the technical term is.


Below is Rob doing the initial connections amongst much sweat and swearing.

January slipped away and turned…


… into February as it has a habit of doing and it was Gordon’s birthday. It was only about a year ago that he had his last one.


I didn’t buy him anything, he only really likes big toys and preferably bigger than Robs, just so that Rob has to go and get a bigger one. I hear he has his eyes on a mini Digger- Rob’s got one of those but he did say before Christmas he was going to get a bigger one for a road job.

A steady stream of customers…


… put a few quid in the coffers but also depleted the stocks so I cast around for more timber. Gordon had a nice Ash butt and some Oak and I paid a visit to the genial Christopher who has 300 acres near Whitchurch to get some Oak. Rob has also come up with some Oak and Sycamore so with the Tulip and the Walnut (see other blogs) the ' to cut pile is growing'.


Now an example of…


… a customer we could probably do without and one who became a mate and I would like to get hold of as I have some cash for him.


The first bloke who is nameless mainly because Brian can never remember names phoned and asked if he could come on Saturday morning. No problem says Brian but when he hasn’t shown he goes home to Whitchurch. Mid afternoon Brian is watching sport and the bloke rings and asks he can come straightaway.


No says Brian but you can Sunday morning. He shows up Sunday morning and they board the Landy and set off to the woods. What exactly do you want Brian asks conversationally. Some Larch for a chicken house. Brian points out we sell Hard not soft wood and turns around having wasted his morning.


Jon Collister on the other hand…


… was the best sort of customer. Not only did he spend a lot of money but he would come and help too. When Jon decided to give up his business he offered me his stock very cheap. I was particularly skint at the time and the deal was that I would pay for a van to move it if he helped which he did.


The upshot is that after deducting the cost of the van Jon didn’t get much cash. He’s headed off south somewhere and I haven’t seen him since but if you read this Jon or someone else who knows him does, get in touch I’d like to give you a few more quid.

Jon built the Kiln side door for me free of charge, picture above being admired by Mark from the sawmill prior to more improvements.

March drifted in…


… with the weather taking a dive after February had been great. We sorted the Walnut (see Beautiful Walnut Blog) and Brian came out of retirement to help out with his ticker running well. Pictured above for no valid woody reason other than we all like to see a couple of good looking young birds now and again are Meg and Kiera. Kiera snuffed it the day after this was taken (R.I.F. rest in freezer).

So another winter the 10th since my father permanently retired to the great wood yard in the Sky, no doubt telling everyone up there how they should be doing it. Just had a customer from Belfast who hadn’t bought anything since the old man was about and was amazed at the passage of time.


Hope to see new, old and extremely rich faces over the summer months.