Friday, 24 October 2014

Supper at The Canterbury Bell, Westwood Cross, TDC’s Chief Executive Exonerated, followed by my evening of armchair carpentry from my bookshop, a ramble.

Friday evening is when the members of the fairer sex in my family retire to Westwood Cross, I haven’t passed my basic clothes shopping test yet, so I sit outside and sketch.

After this. Is experience the right word? Purgatory comes to mind. We repaired to WC’s new hostelry, The Canterbury Bell, we had several people of the junior persuasion accompanying us and this resolved into one of our better culinary departures.

Sorry about the rather flowery language, explanation further on.

I would say for a reasonable dining experience with children at under a tenner a head then The Canterbury Bell is one I would recommend, however it is very busy and if you don’t book in advance you may have to wait for a table. So use their website

I did the inevitable quick sketch.

The council TDC that is, have accepted the report of the DIP, sorry council speak: The complaint against the council’s Chief Executive, Sue McGonigal has been dismissed as unfounded following an investigation by a Designated Independent Person (DIP).

Anyone who has forgotten all this, we are looking at the time when the council’s last solicitor went and his notes on the activities of the chief executive leaked into the public domain.    

Next to what I hope will become regular bookseller’s rambles, or perhaps at least the ravings of a deranged shop assistant.

I have moved on from canals to carpentry and am busily engaged in armchair carpentry, I am reading “Practical carpentry, joinery, and cabinet-making [by P. Nicholson. by P. Nicholson, revised by T. Tredgold.” The edition we have in stock at the moment is the 1847 one. So in case you haven’t a copy to hand here are a few pictures from the book. 

Something that occurred to me was just how primitive the tools of this period were. Unfortunately this book doesn't have pictures of the tools and the only book I have in stock that does is a little earlier. However I hope the pictures from it will give you some idea. 

As you see it is written in a rather condescending tone so probably won’t be reading this one. 


  1. Only slightly condescending Michael, I love those old building books from a time when it was all done by hand. I once had the opportunity to work on a 16th century barn made from reclaimed ships timbers, a wonderful experience. I would look at the report but in all honesty can't be bothered, TDC is very low on my interests at the moment. I try to avoid knocking them on my blog but some of the conduct beggars belief and mostly they are their own worst enemy. The Westwood Bell or Canterbury Bell at Westwood looks Okay but I doubt I will eat there my wheelchair restricts me nowadays so I tend to avoid eating out other than fish and chips or bacon sandwiches eaten on my lap.

    1. I have to admit Don I am drifting into an interest in the history of crafts and have now switched over to reading “A history of the Carpenters Company” by B. W. E Alford.

      The early carpentry books are less about the manipulation of tools and much more about the laying out of wooden structures.

      I don’t think there is very much in the way of carpentry books published in English before around 1700, I think partly because the crafts were secretive and partly because it is unlikely that any of the craftsmen would have been able to read.

      My guess is that the skills that were passed on by seven year apprenticeships are only going to be recorded by historians. I have used an adze and a pole lathe and all of the tools in the pictures, but I am now coming to the conclusion that it is the history of the craftsmen that is most interesting.

    2. Michael I have known some fantastic carpenters over the years and in its most basic form working with hand tools of old is very satisfying. I used to be very good at butchering wood but I remember the funeral of a butcher I once knew where his son described his dad making a door fit with his butchers knife.


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