My French friend arrives in Poole on Friday evening, Nick and I take her home, and we all turn in fairly promptly. Anne and I have an early start the next morning, breakfast, a sandwich for lunch to be made and then a 45 minute drive to Sandford Orcas where we will check in with Kim for a day of willow weaving. Cockerels are on the menu. Kim has her demonstration model and she shows the range of coloured willow sticks we have to work with. Following her example we take our first sticks and form the body and neck, making sure to maintain some girth for the body frame of the bird. Thereafter we weave sticks to secure the shape, stop it flattening and give it some strength. Kim demonstrates each stage and we follow as best we can. She patrols the group, intervening when she sees that one of us might be going adrift and risking the loss of the shape and posture of a cockerel. In this way we all manage to achieve our own cockerel with a flamboyant tail.
It is always a scramble for me to complete my willow sculpture in the time allotted. The workshops tend to overrun until 5 pm when Kim becomes insistent that we must finish. She offers us extra sticks to take away so we can complete our sculptures at home. Anne and I accept this offer and we put our sticks in the bath to stay wet overnight.
Anne has brought us rather a nice surprise from France. Francois has been ormering with Dede on the west coast and has generously sent four of these delicacies over with Anne for us to enjoy. I tenderise them, slice them and then turn them through a bit of oil in a frying pan. We eat these little morsels then repair to The Greyhound for supper.
In the morning Anne works on her cockerel so that it will be complete when she travels back to France. We are planning a supper at TOW where we will be joined by Cybs, her mother and Jean after their willow day making obelisks and mini hurdles with Kim. In the afternoon there is just time for a short trip to Athelhampton which Anne enjoys – notably the garden – before we need to get back and prepare the meal.
The following morning Nick takes Anne to the ferry and I settle down to ‘flesh’ out my cockerel with a few more sticks. A few days later I spray the work with Danish oil. When Nick and I next travel out to France we take Claud with us.
Later on during a spell of particularly warm dry weather in June, and when we have house guests, I place the cockerel, together with my goose, Clotilde on the lawn by the old Mimosa tree. Tucked up against a stand of wild flowers the birds look well enough.