We are hurtling towards completion of the octagonal bath-house near the Lower Paddock. The floor is down, the roof is on, the walls are up, bundles of ‘faggots’ are being piled up ready and the technical elements are being put together for a wood-powered boiler. All designed and built by our home-team, Dan, Jake, Jack and much needed extra help from Friday Club volunteers, Quentin from France and Shaun from Uckfield. So. all being well, by end of July, you can have a hot shower – and even a bath – in a beautiful artisan building in the wilderness.
The Mount is a Camphill Community about 20 minutes drive away. Around 8 members of the community came to help out at Wilderness Wood this week as part of their external work experience programme. They helped peel poles for the bath-house, stack fire-wood, weed the garden, look after the chickens and tend Bat Park. It was great to have them here for the week.
We crowned Amelie Moore as May Queen. She graced us with a welcome poem, which she had written with Joe Skelton. And then Friday Club opened celebrations with a fantastic, high-energy dance – very loosely inspired by the May Pole tradition. We carried our new queen around the wood to bless Under Oak bunkhouse; tree saplings in the Lower Paddock; Jake’s new growing area; volunteer huts; Simon Page’s new sculpture and, of course, the new toilets. There was a lot to celebrate. And we did. A very fun ceilidh and delicious Old Tree bar. Everyone brought food. And we had music into the – well not very late- hours.
We had a sunny working-in-the-wood day in half-term. A group of about 40 members working together to create poetry for the new café toilets; beds for the Under Oak bunk-house; fencing along the Upper Paddock; a screen for the new urinal; bluebell party invitations and lunch on a fire at Under Oak. The sun shone. We had a lot of fun. Thanks to all who came and got involved.
We were rewarded for our virtue in turning up on a potentially snowy February Saturday. Glorious sunshine. A lovely team of members – including old and new faces. We laid a hedge in the Upper Paddock; mulched christmas trees and tackled brambles; chopped and stacked firewood; and built a new kindling store – experimental!
Simon Page – is a local wood-sculpting artist – and a member of Wilderness Wood. We’re delighted that he is carving a beautiful sculpture from the stump of a Douglas Pine next to the Cook House. Come and watch him work…and then enjoy the finished article. He accepts commissions: email@example.com
We are refurbishing the cafe toilets. We need a temporary alternative while we are bashing. The alternative has taken on a life of its own with two beautiful state-of-the-art compost toilets which will be for use by the forest school once the new cafe toilets are up and running. So come and enjoy them while you can. Thanks to Katy for encouraging us to not go for the portaloo option; thanks to Raf, Tom and Helen for the initial funding of the kit for separating poo from wee; and thanks to Lucy for funding the new ‘tardis’ style toilets. They are luxurious.
A good Epiphany Stewardship Saturday – with a hardy crew getting stuck into clearing away all traces of Christmas, clearing ditches and chopping and stacking those fire-logs. Rewarded with very good chocolate brownies.
Photography by Beth Mercer.
An atmospheric night. Eerie industrial-themed drama, music and dance by Friday Club. The opening of the new Wood House by the youngest and oldest helpers – with celebratory tee-shirts designed and printed by member artist, Tiger Martinez of Hastings Art College. And then lots of delicious home-made mince-pies, jacket potatoes and contributions from members such as Greek honey cakes while we enjoyed music and poetry around another one of Dan’s famous big fires.
The first busy weekend of the Christmas season. And Friday Club’s answer to Sylvanian Families were for sale at our Made by Wilderness Wood stall. They were a big hit with the public – flying off their woody shelf. And Friday Club – the makers – are very excited about a nativity commission from a Hadlow Down villager which will keep them busy right up to Christmas Eve. They will be for sale again this weekend – 8th/9th December.
Our weekly group for home educating families is focused on preparations for Christmas and Winter Solstice celebrations. One of the parents has come up with a brilliant idea for creating a world of woody creature decorations – they will be coming to you at the Christmas Fayres in December. But people have been placing orders already so don’t hang around.
Since we arrived in 2004, we’ve wanted to stop vehicles driving right in front of the cafe where people are working, talking, playing, drinking coffee. It’s taken a lot of preparation to get to this point. And now we’re in the thick of the work. It would not be possible without Mike Stiller on the digger and Jake Reed on the tools and Frank Morrish on the roller – helping Dan to make this happen. Thank you. And we look forward to having a celebratory drink in the new courtyard soon. Apologies for inconveniences in the mean-time.
A really good turn out for the last Stewardship Saturday of the year. We made great progress on all fronts. And were rewarded with delicious lunch and warm cake. And a talk about my PhD: ‘Building a community together’: the meanings of manual work and outdoor play at Kilquhanity and Wennington, 1940-today.