This weekend we loaded up our belongings and moved onto the Science Park where our new and permanent home now is. It took over a year to complete the outside but the inside will take just a few more weeks. It was a mixed week of sad and happy emotions because we’ve made friends and we needed our own turf to develop our dreams.
This past week we outgrew our Sylva Wood Centre home for a few reasons. This happens with many of us as we grow. The decision to put down deeper roots makes what you do more permanent because, as with many large trees, the deeper the root the greater the resistance to pressure; unless you are a beech tree. Our work is only just begun even though we have been woodworking educational leaders in the field since 1990. In the beginning there were so few schools in the private sector. When I taught my first classes there were only about ten individuals like myself teaching. Of course there were those selling tools that claimed expertise but at the end of the day they mostly sold tools. Persevering on two continents gave me ever-greater insights into the struggles woodworkers had and into what they were often looking for but couldn’t always identify.
Today I think I have identified issues that I’ve striven to bring to a worldwide audience yet without selling a single tool unless you call my best work a tool which was and is Essential Woodworking Hand Tools. The book has been a success for me and I m working on two more. One is done and nearly ready for the editor and proofreader. The other is done in my head and I am working diligently to bring it to pass. The crew has grown steadily and I say crew decidedly because they have added great action in the powerhouse of publishing. Every week I watch the rowing teams train nearby on stretches of the Thames. They power through the water in perfect synchrony with each tip entering the water stroke by stroke at precisely the right time. On other parts of the same river the sailors respond to every wind of change to grab the wind and tack accordingly to best grab the energy they need. To tack is to understand just where the wind hits from when under way—port or starboard— so as to maneuver between starboard and port to bring up the bow via the wind. It takes the energy of everyone on board to optimise performance. So crew it is.
When we were packing, in the final throes of it, everything was blanketed and skinned ready for the removal team of two. As I thought my thoughts I realised that this was more than likely my final move. Our ambitions are still big, bigger than ever I would say, but the move is a big relief for me. Our new quarters are big but we will be very confined for a few weeks as we develop the working garage to replicate the ones most people will have at home. I took Karla, Izzy, Hannah and Ellie over for the first time just before the move and they are so looking forward to the new workspace. it’s a strange thing to see an empty room where we were once packed like tinned sardines. The last sweep up and window washing closed the deal at one end and the unloading of our goods at the other made me realise the marked contrast—we can fit the old into the new about ten times.
Where we are is about a hundred yards from the No5 Cycle Path which reaches 370 miles from Reading to Holyhead and my North Wales former home of Bangor. The Radley Lakes start across the road from us and it’s a two minute cycle ride into Abingdon town. Lots of wildlife with otters, crested grebe, red tailed kites and much more along the way. No more commutes for me although I did like the drive to the Wood Centre. Anyway, this is just to get the ball rolling. From mere on I’ll keep you up to date.