Walking to work – space between home and the workshop

In the chaos of the confused world at large I watch the group women knitting in the corner of the café. The woman in the corner chats as she spins on her spinning wheel and seems at ease with what she spins and what she says. Younger women come and go, littler ones try their hand at spinning. It’s restful watching them. Some might say these are hobbyists. That dumbs down what’s taking place here. The impartation through three generations, the conservation  of a craft, the preservation of a way of using natural fibres to create clothing warm for winter and babies born and yet to be born. I like to watch their hands move and their lips exchange words back and forth like a shuttlecock on a loom. My friend Phil Adams comes over and sits with me as I sip my freshly made tea and we too exchange words about wood and woodwork. It’s brief relaxation and friendly people that create a sphere of restfulness. Computers and keyboards cannot measure this sphere nor recreate it. They cannot add to it in any positive way. They will never know the printers of old, how they rested the lead letters into the frames and printed by hand their documents one at a time. Engravers too know spheres of creative work no mass printing press or printer today can ever know. The crisp blacks and the hue on the page we no longer see except perhaps to glimpse it n the world f another.

My car invaded my world today with some needed work so I walked in the cold icy woods to the castle. Walking on the high side i looked back to Snowden covered with snow and mist. It was nice as I stood out of the wind.

I was carrying an eBay #4 Stanley plane with me to add to the others, so my hands were quite cold even with gloves on.

At the castle I meet a new friend called Douglas. He will be coming to the February Level 1 Foundation Course next week. The class has started to become quite popular.


As I walk I see the patches of snowdrops and think of the peace those tiny little white bells ring out in silence. I drop to my knees and soak in the purest white. There is no white like it, I don’t think. It’s quite lovely. I think that this flower defines simplicity. Evolved?


These are the first lambs of the year for me. They were in the bottom pasture below Penrhyn Castle. The ewes will soon be lambing en mass and the farmers will run by on their four wheelers checking for newborns and reuniting the lost with the mommas.



  1. Thank you! Lovely piece. I saved the snowdrop photo, I would love to do it as a carving, or maybe a marquetry piece. If I ever do, I shall send a photo along!

    1. Thanks David. Glad to be of help. Sometimes it’s good to get off of the conveyor belt and see life we cannot create.

  2. Hello Paul, I came to your piece via Lumberjocks and then was surprised and delighted to read about the knitters.  My wife is an enthusiastic knitter, and a member of a group similar to the one you describe. They now meet in a public space in the local museum, but she has in the past knitted with others in pubs, and in open air spaces.  I have, at times, sat back and watched the action and listened to the chat, and found it quite relaxing (as well as marvelling at the speed and skill!).

    Coincidentally, today I came dashing in from the workshop to tell my wife that whilst I was listening to Radio Four I was incensed that the presenter on, of all programme’s “Woman’s Hour” talked about a number of activities that might feature on the programme and concluded with: ” …we cover a lot of subjects…_even_ knitting!”

    By the way, I’ll be trying your approach to sharpening!

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