A day out with Pablo

Travelled down to Essex yesterday to spend some time with Pablo from http://www.woodlife.co.uk/.

It’s been a couple of years since we last met up and it was really good to catch up.

After a brew


I showed Pablo one way to set up his new parachute (details of how to by one are on my special offers page) with a 14ft pole and some lengths of para cord.


A parachute like this can also be made into a simple tipi


In the picture below I folded the ‘chute in half and then pegged out the semi circle


I enjoyed my time with Pablo and we plan to have more meetups this year.

Looking for Razor Clams

I had a trip to the coast recently in the hope of collecting some Razor Clams to cook over an open fire.  It was a sunny morning with a cold Easterly wind


and the tide was out


In the pools and creeks there was lots of evidence that this could be a good location for Razor Clams with many empty shells


I was looking for key shaped holes or small craters in the sand, then I put salt down which will irritate the clam and for a brief time it rises out of the sand to clear the salt…..at least that’s the theory.


Once the salt is down you must wait, ready to grab it as it emerges


This is the first time I have tried this and clearly do not have the right technique as after two hours, no clams had appeared.

There were many of these strange structures protruding from the sand but I have no idea what they are.  Can anyone tell me please?


I also found one “Mermaid’s Perse” which is the empty egg case of a either a dogfish or skate


Felt shoes

After two attempts at felt making (the second being far more successful)



I decided to experiment with making felt shoes/boot liners made from merino wool purchased from


I began by drawing around my carpet slipper as a pattern


and then added 20mm all the way around to allow for the depth of my foot + some shrinkage.  I then cut out the pattern and wrapped it in cling film to waterproof it.


I followed the method described in the second link above covering each side of the pattern with thin layers of wool, laid alternately to each side, and each layer of wool 90 degrees to the previous.


covering each layer with soap and warm water and wrapping around overhanging wool to  form the sides of the shoe


To prevent the wool sticking to my hands when adding soap and water and manipulating the layers, I used a plastic bag


When the pattern was evenly covered I cut through the wool on one side as the opening for my foot and then removed the pattern from within.


After “hardening” the wool  I rinsed out the soap, placed the shoe in boiling water and then put it on my foot and worked it to shrink and shape it to my foot.



I have tested these shoes this weekend, both as boot liners and house shoes.  They are only 2mm thick yet incredibly warm, both when dry and wet.  I plan to make varying thickness’s that can be warn as a modular system and will certainly be using them during my next trip to Lapland.


Basket making at The House of Lords

I spent last Sunday at The House of Lords….that’s John and Val Lords of course!.  In return for their daughter Steff having taught me how to make felt, I agreed to teach them how to make simple baskets like these.


Fortunately Steff has Osier Willow growing in her garden so she cut some and brought them with her.


There had been a frost the previous night and it was still close to freezing when we started making the baskets.  Unfortunately, I suspect due to the frost, the the willow wands kept snapping when we tried to work with it and after some considerable time with only basic frames made, we decided to give up and await warmer weather.

I did smoke some salmon for lunch



which proved to be rather more successful, like this one that I smoked last Christmas