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Wood Skills Weekend— at Clive’s Place 5/6th November 2016


I was wowed by the organisation of the Wood Skills Weekend and the skill and craftsmanship of the people instructing in the old ways.  How to make bush stools, a post and rail fence, how to choose and drop a tree, and I learnt to sharpen my knives properly - simple when you know how.

And then there was the food!! So much for the advertised dinner and breakfast as per the programme. I remember a fresh mini scone with jam at some stage of the afternoon, then Camembert on crackers before dinner which came out of a dozen camp ovens on the fire. A HUGE dinner followed with real apple pie and custard - The cooks were amazing, Chef Wombat (I don't think that's his real name) and Narelle our webmaster tending and teasing the fire to get it under way.

By Saturday afternoon many projects in the almost completed stage: the concrete slab was curing, holes were drilled for the fence, logs being sawn into bearers for Tin Mines, shingle splitting with a froe and a mallet from slightly cranky grained timber.  A foot powered treadle lathe turning out stool legs, finishing with a draw knife ... where to look next. About 60 people sat down to dinner, including Andrew Miller from NPWS. Two Namadgi rangers left after lunch on Saturday.  Participants in the weekend and members who came along for an end of year breakup.  Wine and beer and the a Band - a guitar and two didgeridoos??!! That was un-forgettable.

Next morning at breakfast I discovered for the first time Toad in the Hole or maybe it should be Egg in the Hole with crispy bacon and cereals. As much as you could eat. Lunch time rolled around and Kathy brings out the 'loaves and fishes' and you really found out about country hospitality. Scott brought along marinated wild duck breast tenders bbq'd d'oeuvres, absolutely delightful. Kathy's reputation of being able to feed a mob the size of Genghis 's army and have leftovers remains intact.

What an amazing feast and learning weekend with everyone getting into the wood craft's skills of yesteryear - that are still viable today.  Well done and thank you for an incredibly interesting and fulfilling (both mind and stomach) weekend.

Pauline Downing