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….aaand I’m off!


  1. Music and calming insense✔
  2. Nasty claustrophobic mask and safety glasses✔
  3. Drill with wire brush attachment✔
  4. Draw knives, pokey in the holey things✔
  5. Helpful chickens✔
  6. Oak on the workmate….✔


Let’s begin……cleaning up the decaying wood on the trunk is a long and tedious task. It has to be done in a methodical manner and it does not always respond in the way you expect. I am forced to use the draw knife with the blade the wrong way initially to remove the very dry wood safely.

I am undecided about whether or not to sand the outside of the Oak, but I begin to love the marks that are being left on the surface by the tools and decide to leave the chainsaw marks that are present too…..No sanding required.

Life touches us in many ways and those external forces leave traces on us; some marks are left that others can see and some are barely perceptible at all, but they all contribute to who we are and the choices we make.

Much like the Oak, my brother Alan has strength and resilience and offers protection to those of us lucky enough to be loved by him. Alan is a typical Geordie male in that he is stubborn and stoical, but has a dry sense of humour and great depth of character. He is somewhat older than I, and I do not believe that he is aware of the high regard in which I hold him, or that to me he has been a constant symbol of hope in my life. The Oak is a living representation of all that is true, wholesome, stable and noble….and that is how I see my big brother: touched by those external forces, but still honest, strong and full of the wisdom that is bestowed upon those of us that survive life’s lessons.

Hours later and what is beginning to be revealed is just how beautiful the grain of this old log actually is. I still need to make decisions on how far back to take the “dead-wooding” process in removing the softer layers and then try to figure out how to get both sections level at the base, allowing for the distribution of weight so that the sculpture will stand upright. On the whole however, I am happy with my progress and as a reward for my hard work, heading in for a lovely cup of tea!

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