After successful workshops run by Kim Cresswell in which I have crafted a badger (which looks more like a hog) and a Goose (which does look like a goose) I am challenging myself because I have signed up for a weekend at the end of which I will hope to have woven a willow Roe Deer. By way of preparation I need to supply some photos of the deer species, and the posture, I am hoping to achieve.
As with the other two workshops I try to imagine how we will get started, and fail. The secret with this particular animal, given that is larger and will need to be more sturdy on long legs, is to build a wooden frame. But even that I stumble over. I succeed in constructing my frame arse about face. That is the horizontal struts destined to form the basis for the neck construction end up at the rear end on my frame. But never mind, Kim says that I can work round this. At the end of the first day I have built the bare bones of my animal with a primitive neck and head framework in place. Kim ensures that, with timely and expert intervention to make sure we do not lose sight of the animal we are trying to create, we all reach the same point of completion before we go home. The second day will be taken up with fleshing out my animal, creating density, muscular definition and a recognisable head. At the end of the afternoon it is time to pack up and load our animals into their transport. My roe deer, the smallest of the animals just fits into my estate car. Kim provides me with a bundle of sticks and a few canes of stripped willow to complete the finishing touches. On the journey home I wonder where my roe deer is going to live. Once unloaded Nick places the deer under the porch, facing the front door. This seems ideal because it is dry and this will preserve the willow until I am able to treat it.
Later that evening Dan arrives with Lola and Ruby. The Hackney duo are going to spend half term with us. During the week we will do some collage using my cache of greetings cards, we will make pom poms, they will collect pebbles at Lulworth Cove and I will enjoy a trip with them to the cinema to see Dr Strange. The film comes out of the Marvel Studios stables, and is in a genre with which Lola is very familiar. She gives an occasional and informed whispered commentary on the background to films based on Marvel Comics.
On the last day in Dorset we plan to go and see the Floodlit Gardens at Abbotsbury, as we did last year. They enjoyed it very much then. The plan is to go to Weymouth for Fish and Chips at the Marlboro (this was a disappointment and we won’t go there again) but it all unfolds somewhat when we get there and find we have to wait for a table and then with the realisation that 8.30 p.m. closing time means the gardens must be vacated at that time, rather than the entrance gates closing at that hour, we have little more than an hour to enjoy the activities on offer. The girls spend an extended time in the Bugfest tent which barely leaves us time to make a quick tour of the gardens to enjoy being scared. The scary features are, I think, a bit better i.e. scarier than last year but we barely get our money’s worth. If we do this event next year we will plan things differently and either do the gardens first and go for F and C after, or perhaps better take a superior picnic to eat under the marquee provided.