Chatting to other philosophers over an evening drink or two, I've come to realise that it's variety in all things which really increases one's enjoyment of the simple pleasures in life. Although we all appreciate the homeliness and convenience of our own workshops, any jobbing carpenter will tell you it's the unexpected challenges of site work that can make it so enjoyable (some cynics might say endurable), and can provide the laughs and later tales that sustain us all through the quiet or difficult times. Despite the hardships involved (wet weather included), travelling to different places, meeting new people and pitting your skills against unforeseen problems can really lift the spirits, especially when you pull off a tough job with limited resources under difficult conditions.

 
A parallel existence
The last week or two have been pretty busy in my non-magazine working life. I'm currently making some furniture for a music room, the centrepiece of which is a chest of drawers for sheet music. As these drawers number 30 in total, much of my time has been spent in machining components, and I can tell you now that there are quite a few involved! If you’d like to hazard a guess at how many – including the spares – there may be a Woodworker badge in it for you.
Meanwhile, my joinery class at college provides yet more variety, and, as I write, it’s nearing the end of its final term. The last couple of weeks has seen a marked feeling of panic in the workshop amongst those who have yet to finish their Level 2 test project (stair string between newels with framed cupboard door below). I'm hopeful they'll all make it okay.
I've also had a bit of time out in the field as well recently, most notably down a cobbled mews nearby where I've patched up and repaired any number of garage doors over the last few years. Returning for yet another set, I was able to fully appreciate the benefits of a young assistant; with his help we were able to tear through seven large doors in one day… a new record, and one which will probably remain unsurpassed for quite a while.
 
Story time
There's nothing like swapping a good yarn or two, and here at The Woodworker we aim to provide you with the perfect opportunity for doing so. It's always good to hear your stories and experiences, and if the number of emails continues to increase at the same rate we could well see the return of the letters page before long. With nearly everyone hooked up to the internet these days, it's the work of but a minute or two to bash off a message and provide your fellow woodworkers with tales of wisdom, wit or even woe.
Here's a good one I heard from Chelmsford reader Dave Penny the other day, in response to my endgrain wood-block roadways article. He recalls a particularly wet year (1948) when the wood-block high street adjoining the flooded river Chelmer, after being submerged for a few days, simply broke up and floated away downstream. But what the residents lost in road surface, they made up for in firewood!
So, when it comes to variety, if anyone has any suggestions as to what they'd like to see in the magazine, just drop me a line and we'll see what we can do about that wonderful spice of life.
 
Mark