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Archive for June, 2011

Well, the votes are now in for Shed of the Year competition 2011 and, once again, I have not won. . .

Strangely however, I did come fifth in my category (Workshop shed) which is exactly the same place I came when I took part in the competition a couple of years ago!? Curiouser and curiouser!

Fifth again!

Fifth again!

A full list of the category winners and the runners-up can be seen here >>

Hey Ho, it’s not the winning but the taking part that matters!? (yeah, right!)…  Looking at who won my category however (the fantastic Songs From the Shed organisation) I guess I don’t feel too badly – its one of my favourite sites and I could never hope to compete with their readership (yet!)

Many thanks indeed to all of you out there who either voted for me or posted kind comments. Looks like I wont be having that winner’s party after all, but hopefully I’ll still be having lots of fun in The Shed for some time to come. . .

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Here’s a simple little project I’ve just completed, yet one which gave me enormous satisfaction!

The item below is a ‘dipper’ – it was originally my Great Aunt’s, and for decades she used it to scoop water out of her garden water butt. Over time it has passed to my mum, who uses it for exactly the same purpose with her water butt situated behind the shed!

The original dipper

The original dipper

Time has taken its toll on the poor old dipper however – the galvanised body is still ok but the wooden handle has badly rotted away. Not only has it split (hence the masking tape attempting to hold it together) but in particular the hole up the middle has become so enlarged that the tang of the dipper is no longer gripped at all – the handle simply rotates making it practically impossible to use.

Knackered!

It's knackered!

The tang is a rather strange shape / profile unfortunately, and I couldn’t think how to fashion a wooden handle that would either stand up to the constant immersion in water, or which would allow me to make the proper shaped hole to fit the tang.

Handle hole and tang

Handle hole and tang

What I thought would solve the problem however would be to fashion a new handle from a length of 22mm copper pipe (it wouldn’t rot and I think would complement the look of the galvanised metal nicely – you all know how I love a nice bit of copper. . .), and I could fix this in place by filling the length of the pipe with a hard setting concrete mix which would simply mould itself around the tang.

So, haing found a scrap length of copper pipe of about the right length, I slightly flattened it in a vice to create an oval rather than round section – make n it nicer to hold than in the round.

I completely closed one end of the tube by flattening it and filing into a nice shape – I also drilled a hole through it to all ow the dipper to be hung out of the wy when not in use

Having filled the hande with concrete through the still open end, I then crimped this down onto the body of the dipper for a bit of added strength / adhesion. You can just see a bit of the still-wet concrete that has oozed out from the crimping in the photo below:

Close up of the crimping

Close up of the crimping

Once all dry, the thing seems to work great – it looks just ‘right’ and hopefully with last another few generations before further repairs are needed?

Finished!

Finished!

Here it is hanging up in pride of place behind the shed:

hanging up behind the shed!

hanging up behind the shed!

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So, on the morning of the Folk Festival our first box of King Alfred’s Cakes CDs finally arrived – phew!

Here it is in all it’s shrink-wrapped loveliness:

The Ships!

The Ships!

Here is a slightly more composed shot of the whole package and Karen’s excellent job on the artworking. I hope to get some sound clips and full details of how one can obtain it on the official King Alfred’s Cakes website asap:

King Alfred's Cakes - The Ships CD

King Alfred's Cakes - The Ships CD

The day of the St Albans Folk Festival was unfortunately awful in terms of weather, but the audience determinedly sat through most of the downpours. We still had a great day – here is a shot of us on the stage…

King Alfred's Cakes on stage

King Alfred's Cakes on stage

And here is a shot of me and my mate Trev discussing the local beer – I do not look impressed!!

Beer!!

Beer!!

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This Saturday The Cakes are playing at the opening event for my local folk festival in St Albans… Not only is there is a great line up for the day, but we are particularly excited because we will have advance copies of our new CD ‘The Ship’ on sale!!! Ahoy!

King Alfred's Cakes - 'The Ships' CD

King Alfred's Cakes - 'The Ships' CD

Do drop me a line if you would like a copy  (a mere £10.00 plus P+P).

Here is a copy of the line up for the day – more details can also be found here >>:

1.30-2.15 Vicki Swan & Jonny Dyer: Currently taking the world by storm, Vicki and Jonny are rightly “establishing themselves as one of the best duos around on the folk scene today” (Famous Willows Folk Club).  Although best-known for their instrumental skills with Scottish smallpipes, accordion and even Swedish nyckelharpa, the duo are well recognised for their songs arrangements too
2.25-2.55 Na-mara: Guitars, mandolin, octave mandola and voices combine with well thought out arrangements beautifully played and sung.
3.05-3.35 Marianne Neary Band One of last years New Roots finalists who has a voice like an angel.  She challenges herself to writing a new song for every gig.  She was so popular at the club we  invited her back as soon as we could. Here she performs with her band.
3.45-4.15 King Alfred’s Cakes  ‘The Cakes’ are Karen (flute), Carol (cello) and Clive (guitar). They play a diverse collection of instrumental music from around the world, original arrangements of traditional, celtic and self penned tunes with intricate harmonies, countermelodies and accompaniments. The result is a beautiful, rich sound, which varies from the hauntingly atmospheric to the rhythmically energetic.
4.20-4.50 Matthew Tighe This years New Roots finalist who already has a busy musical life with all his involvements.  A very fine Fiddle player who will be doing support along with Billy Hill when Bruce Molsky visits us in the Autumn
5.00-5.20 Bill Redway and friends – Consumate performer who surrounds himself with other excellent musicians and singers.
5.30-6.10 Katriona Gilmore and Jamie Roberts One of our favourite duos who has just won a ‘Hancock Award’ for Best Original Song.  They have not long played the Arena Theatre in St Albans
6.30-7.30 Zulu  Amazing group – singing, dancing and loads of audience participation.  What a brilliant headlining finale!

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There is a fabulous new charity shop that has just opened literally a few doors from my house – dangerous in the extreme!

It is an independently run affair and contains lots of things that are not your average ‘run of the mill’ charity shop fare.

One of the finds that really caught my eye the other day is the following – I am guessing it’s a pram/pushchair from many years ago, although it might even just be a toy?

It has a look/feel that is both disturbing and fascinating in equal measures, and would look great in any Victorian/steampunk fan’s home, either as-it or following some modifications…

steampunk chair?

steampunk chair?

Unfortunately I don’t really have the spare cash (or more importantly the spare room) to get it… if anyone is interested in it let me know and I’ll go buy it and we can come to an arrangement!!

(Sorry for the terrible photograph – I took it surreptitiously in the back of the shop on my phone!)

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Voting ends Noon Sunday 5th June for Shed of The Year competition

I have no super-injunctions in place, so feel free to Tweet all you like!

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