Sunday, 24 July 2011


I thought I'd use a blog post or two to share some of my friends' amazing skills and talents with the wider world.

Not the sort of amazing talents that leave everyone else in the room hooting with laughter, or feeling a bit queasy, or calling an ambulance, though.  No, no no.  Although there's probably a few blog posts right there, come to think of it.

These are constructive and marketable talents, as opposed to the sort that get you a recurring slot on Rude Tube or some low-budget reality TV programme.

Part of the reason for this is because yesterday I had an Adventure.  I went to the Art in Action show - all the way to Oxford! - all on my own.  And I managed to get there and back without going via Watford Gap services.  Yay me.

A mate of mine was exhibiting there, so I had a proper reason to visit, but I am really glad I went anyway, there was so much to see.  Anyway, wandering round looking at all the various artists got me thinking about the people I know who make great stuff, and I thought I'd share some of them on here.

So, first up, my mate who I went to see at the show.  He's called Bruce Aitken, and he makes clocks.  Rather amazing ones.  I have taken a few photos of his work, but look at the ones on his website too. 


There was a chap there doing some blacksmithing, so I watched for a bit.  I worked out that I know at least four blacksmiths.  Hello Ian, Rick, Sherman and Chris!

Madregal Designs.  If you need any fancy ironwork doing, swing by this place and see what they can do for you. 

Anvil Art.  If you prefer, go here and take a look.

Bowstock.  If you need any leather working doing for you, or indeed, some hard-to-find leatherworking supplies, check out Steve's site here. 

TymeAgain.  If you need some well-made historical toys, go here.  Their toys are just fab.  And they are lovely people to boot. 

Delingpole Studio.  Need some fancy artwork doing?  Go and look at Richard's website here

The Full Motley.  Having a party?  Get a band! In fact, get this band

I hope, in due course, to add my own little website to the list, but until I work out what I can make, and whether anyone else wants to buy it, it's staying in my head.

Other news:  We continue with the great house clearance task, but it is improving.  Mr WithaY has cleared out the shed this afternoon, moving various boxes hither and thither, and as a result there is far less junk in the kitchen. 

Several of the bookcases have been found new homes, and most rooms no longer look like they belong in Steptoe's house.  Relief all round.

To celebrate the (mostly) back to normal kitchen, I have been domestic goddessing  in it.  I made redcurrant jelly with about one third garden redcurrants, two thirds supermarket redcurrants, and it has turned out very well. 

Today I made grape jelly.  That was less successful, but hey, I had some grapes in the fridge and I was in a jellying frame of mind.  I also made a lemon drizzle cake.

Note to cooks:  When you make a lemon drizzle cake, pour the sticky lemon juice and sugar mixture over the top of the cake AFTER you do the two plates thing to invert it and get it out of the tin. Otherwise, the top of the cake stickes to the plate, leaving a sorry mess.


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