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Summer 2022


A new season and a new way of ...


... getting stock - in this case a superb Tree of Heaven log. I leant on my friend New Forest Rob for some discount for Ian and Steve on a top of the range Panther mill with a 74" bar and awesome cutting width. The pay back is that they are already cutting boards that I can pop in the Pick up or my trailer and this saves exy lorry trips to Helmdon and a long wait for Steve to consider cutting them.


If you are not familiar with Tree of Heaven it's an ornamental tree of Chinese origin that has an Ash like grain and an attractive yellow colour. It was odd not milling with Rob but Steve and Ian did a great job. Two things helped them greatly - one beautiful blue skies and secondly having a 360 digger they were able to position the one to be cut on a couple of logs to allow a comfortable cutting height.

Hard to beat rolling up, someone else doing the work, getting a free tasty bbq burger cooked by Ian for lunch and trotting off home with a load of highly desirabe timber in the back!

As it happens I did beat that enjoyable and ...


... potentially lucrative experience a few days later, though it was a gamble that at times looked like it wouldn't come off. Andy the Walnut king had a sniff of a large pile of what allegedly included some Walnut, Oak and other hardwoods.


It was a buy blind job as it was on a large construction site that we couldn't access. Do you want to go halves Andy asked - I'm only interested in the Walnut and you can have first dibs on the rest.


Past deals with Andy have always ...


... worked out well so I was in. We weren't able to get the timber moved to Helmdon as he was chock full and Andy cast around and found a yard which was nearer. The delivery kept getting postponed at the last minute and Andy was tempted to pull out. Eventually the lorry below rolled up :

Yes the first 4 logs you can see are beautiful Walnut ... the Oaks ok but I felt like we had gone to a club and Andy pulled the stunner and me her plain mate!

Police were called to gun shots heard ...


... at a quiet residenial street. The first officer on scene reports over the radio. Interesting one this, a bloke has just walked across his wife's freshly cleaned floor leaving footprints - so she shot him dead.


Have you arrested her the Sergeant asked. Er not yet Sarge - the floor isn't quite dry! In other news two men were playing Chess when one says. Ok, let's make this more interesting. So, they stopped playing Chess.

Back at the Woods ...


... following a delivery from Erwin it was Oak springing eternal with some nice shaped butts to process. Some are a bit big for old Doris the tractor and us old geezers to be honest so a bit of Alaskan milling was going to be needed. At the time of publishing I may have found a new way to mill big logs but you'll have to wait 'til next time to hear about it.


Whilst grappling with that, Doris the tractor for the third time in 6 months needed major surgery - this time on the wiring loom that rats or mice had taken a liking to and she was out of action for well over a month. Another 900 quid later not only was she sorted but Paul had made a pretty impressive metal back wheel for our old topper for which it had proved impossibe to source a new wheel for.


As Summer got into swing the to do list of timber to collect and process kept going the wrong way and I was in serious danger of having to work hard!


I was getting to the thanks but no ...


... stage when being offered timber but having not sourced any Yew for a couple of years when Ian messaged he had a lot I was on the way round the M25 to have a sniff pronto.


Ian wasn't kidding- he has a lot! ... so I took a bit to play with and put my name on a few other interesting looking logs and will have to fit in getting those back for sawing.

A distraught male telephoned 999 ...


... The operator asked “ which service Sir? ” Caller “ police, hurry up it’s an emergency. “ There are two women fighting over me.”

Operator “ That’s not an emergency. “ Caller “ it is the ugly one is winning ! ”


Back to the Yew ...


... we got on it straight away and it didn't disappoint - good colour and no shakes. These when dry tick out the door with no effort so it's a more the merrier when stocking up jobbie.

I'm sure you could find a use for these reasonably priced interesting timbers

So, I totted up the ages of my three ...


... occasionally appreciated helpers: Tuesday Dave, Mike and Thursday Dave and realised they were 221 between them. This works for me as it makes me at 60 feel young but there's no denying that as old boys we don't get masses of work done on our two short days each week.


I have a mate who lives near me on London end of the M3 Martin the Plasterer who I have been trying to coax down the Woods for 20 years. This was on the grounds I knew he'd enjoy it there and more importantly he'd be useful. There was always an excuse about him being busy plastering which probably shouldn't be a surprise. But, this year he retired so I got the bugger down there.


Martin though a year older than me ...


... is very energetic, albeit in short bursts which works at the Woods and having finally got him there he has injected a bit of pace into jobs that have either been skipped or dragged along. He also obsessively tidy - and there's lots of tidying to do!


Who knows he may become Martin the Woodman. He's been rather rudely calling me Paul the Pig for over 30 years and I've been retired nearly 10.



If you want your newly cut Yew and Plane stacked immaculately get your mate with OCD to your yard ... you're helping him feed his compulsion so no need to pay him!


Unlike some Summers when I've been ...


... short of stock and enthusiasm I'm feeler keener this year (skint with all the rising costs) so you'll get a warmish welcome and warmer tea. Just ping me an email and we'll arrange a slot for you to come and get excited by my timber if not the beveridge.


In the next episode at the end of the year we should have cut quite a lot of Walnut and have other delights for the lovers of wood at a reasonable VAT free price ... or we may not!




Paul Goulden

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