Monday, October 14, 2013

Musing On The Musings

Gypsy Alf here, come to attempt to draw aside the misty veil that conceals the future - at least as it pertains to this blog. Cross my palm with silver and I will tell all.

No? Oh well, in that case I will just put forward some things and see what the reader thinks.

First up, thank you for the various comments along the lines of "Don't go" which I wasn't fishing for, honest - I'm touched. Arguably you're touched too - in the head. Heaven's, kids, you had a chance to get me to shut up. You may yet regret that... ;)

Secondly, I really don't see myself giving up the blogging habit entirely, whatever else I decide. The need to spew forth quantities of nonsense periodically seems to be a chronic condition that I'm unable to cure.

Now to the nub of the thing. The crux, if you will. It's in two parts.

Nub Number Numb One.
I'm not doing any wooodworking. I don't know that you realise this, but this is supposed to be a woodworking blog, and it's really tricky to keep that general trend when you're not doing any. My problem is I can only see this getting worse - my w'shop time has perforce always been sporadic anyway, but added to that my folks really aren't getting any younger. Not unreasonably they're needing more of my time and energy, which naturally I'm happy to give; but sitting in various waiting rooms while they see assorted medicos for this and that does not good blogging material make.

Unless this was a blog about aquaria; then I'd be laughing. Every waiting room in Cornwall appears to have a fish tank. Is it some kind of regulation? Is the soporific effect of watching little Nemo going round in circles really supposed to make me fail to notice that I'm growing into the painfully ill-padded chair seat?

But I digress. (Surprise. But seriously - more padding, fewer fish!)

Crux The Second.
I'm not reading about any woodworking either. The blog came about as a result of wanting a more instant place to put stuff than the website; and the website came about from things that cropped up during forum discussions. Currently I have no woodworking forum I call home; ergo not a lot of external inspiration to prompt blog posts. I find it's difficult to talk woodworking in a vacuum.

So, now I need a wee bit of feedback from the reader:

As you may have noticed, I've made an attempt to keep things ticking over by trying to semi-regularly post woodworking-related stuff I may inadvertently trip over. But honestly, is anyone interested? I'm not much - it's just work really, and if no-one else cares either, I'd be more than happy to knock it on the head. Discuss.

I'm currently sliding head first down a new-to-me Slippery Slope concerning the use, care, and feeding of the fountain pen. It's reminding me a lot of getting into old hand tools and I could probably feel moved to talk about it a bit. But really, that's getting waaaay off what you presumably came here for - woodworking.

So bottom line: are you here for the woodworking; or are you here - inexplicably - for the writing? 

Be brutal; I can take it. I have a crate of Cadbury's Dairy Milk chocolate and a cuddly teddy bear on stand-by...


  1. Honestly, I'm here for the writing, the wit, the personality that is Alf. There are more things in life of interest than woodworking (without going into the minutae of Cornwall waiting rooms). I am off the opinion that it is your blog, you can write about anything you damn well please, and if you happen to get time in the shop or an opportunity to review a new tool, all the better. If your interests lean toward fathoming the depths of fountain pens and fancy writing, again, all the better.

    The point of a blog is to share your interests with like minded people. If your interests change, or your ability to spend time on what interests you, write about something else. People are diverse, as I'm sure you are well aware, not one dimensional, and I wouldn't expect you to have but one dimension.

    Bottom line, I'll read whatever you write about. You're interesting, funny, and have a ping of view that I find I like. Broaden your horizons, I'll follow along.

  2. The writing? You think people read this for the writing? Er, no.
    I'm not in the market for cliches and lower sixth English essays.

    1. Well I said it's inexplicable; presumably enough people find they cannot live on a diet of literary steak alone, and crave a packet of peanuts now and then. Of course it'd be nice to be cooking steak, but it's not my forte.

  3. I stop by for your witty writing. You could probably blog about paint drying and I'd still read it if it has the same wit.

    I can empathise with you about the parents/doctors. Mum broke her leg 2 years ago and is only now getting close to being able to walk again. Dad has dialysis 3 days a week and is in the same nursing home as mum. My wife parents are in a bit better shape but keep her busy as well.

    1. Oh, sounds like your folks are having a considerably rougher time - my sympathies.

      And paint drying. Right. I'll make a note :)

  4. From across the pond Alf, I enjoy the writing. If there is woodworking then that's a bonus. If not I still read it.

  5. Dear Alice,
    As one of probably hundreds who reads your blog whenever the feed lets me know you've posted something, it's probably about time I let you know that I do just that. Some blogs are informative, some funny, some interesting. How exactly I don't know, but you seem to combine all three. Yes there are others, and I read them too, but not always.
    I am sorry to hear that you have no home forum. I've seen many posting by the 'hand tool goddess', you may be related? It happens. Here in Italy there are I believe five forums, might be six now. There are fallings out, there are trolls, but that's a little like life really. I've been helping run a little forum in Italy called Arca di Legno for about a year, and most of the ruffles are caused because people simply don't know how to write. There are wrong assumptions made, there's no body language.
    Blogging is not simply a question of thumping something out on the keyboard once a week, and we have no crystal ball, so it's difficult to predict that it'll go on forever. Nonetheless (love that word) you have a quite remarkable knowledge of woodworking, erm, well tools anyway, which I think you can always put to good use, even if you can't get to the workshop very often. Perhaps we can supply the ingredients, and you provide the recipe?
    Of course you don't know me from Adam, and I dared to use your first name, but you see, it's your fault, that's the Cornish Workshop blog effect!

    Best regards from Verona,


    1. Hey, John; welcome! Ah, the slings and arrows of forum life - I think I just had a similar problem as people do when they work with some exotic woods; became sensitised to it all, and had to give it up or come out in a rash. Well that or take to using barrier cream and good dust extraction, but that doesn't seem to work on fora...

      Suggestions for topics are always welcome; can't promise it'll result in what you expect (or even what I expect), but could be fun.

  6. Well, Alf, I'm a newbie at woodworking. I don't do much of it either. I do enjoy stopping by to catch your writings. I really like your discerning eye and sharp tongue-in -cheek observations. I've noticed, over the last few months, you're not as witty as before. Now I understand why. You've a hard row to hoe for the time being. I watched my son wither and die from cancer.

    I'll still watch for your writings. You'll have something to write about, just not as often as you may wish. Take care of yourself, you matter a lot to me.

    1. Steve, I'm so sorry to hear about your son; that must be so hard. My row is of the feather-bed variety in comparison - parents just get old and things threaten to drop off. Most of the doc bothering seems to be preventing that so it's a good thing really. Just time consuming.

  7. As others have said, life isn't all about woodwork, and I'd read you whatever (well almost whatever) the subject.

    1. "life isn't all about woodwork" - Well no; but I fancy there must be quite a few who think a woodworking blog should be though!

    2. Either:
      1) Don't worry about them
      2) Change the title

      What Dyfhid said summed up what I think: "Bottom line, I'll read whatever you write about. You're interesting, funny, and have a ping of view that I find I like. Broaden your horizons, I'll follow along."

    3. Well said nick! Count me in!

    4. Add me to that queue. Writing is something I have always struggled with, reading is much easier and reading your writing is good fun. Alf please just write, I am sure there are quite a few of us who read but very rarely write.

    5. See Alf, told you! I'm with these guys. OK I came here for the woodwork but I couldn't stop now. Guess I'd kinda miss ya. (murrican? I'm reading too much Schwarz) If you write it I'll read it. If it bores me, I'll just wait for your next post :-)

  8. Hi Alf. I can but echo most of what has already been said. I too enjoy reading what you have to say whether it be about woodwork, parrots pen nibs or anything else for that matter.
    In fact it is now over 10 years since I first happened upon your wit and repartee. Jester mad me laugh then and ever since you changed to your current moniker I cannot help but remember a certain amerrycan comedy programme by the same name. NOT that you bear any resemblance of course.
    I am also reminded of your generosity every time a use a couple of old handsaws that passed though your hands a few years back. I do not get to use them much but they are still sharp and cut very true.

    Seems to me that it is your workbench and you can muse on any subject you like. I am sure that if you were to use one of those hit counter thingys you would see quite how well read you are.


  9. Hi Alf,
    you have a delightful, self-deprecating style and I sometimes wonder if you should be writing stories for a living rather than writing about wood. As so many others have said, it is your writing that we all love, no matter what the topic. I particularly like your attempts to educate the Murricans and wonder if they realise how far your tongue is pushed into your cheek! You have a unique humour which shines through your elegant use of English, please keep writing

  10. I'm always happy to see one of your Musings when they pop up in my reader - whatever the topic. I do love your older work which did have more on woodworking on tools, but I've never been tempted to unsubscribe with your less tool and wood imbued and more recent blogs. Fountain pen stuff would also appeal - addictive darn things though, watch out! Then, armed with a Internet enabled tablet, you could keep us amused from the waiting room!u oould keep us amused

  11. Keep it going, the fountain pen would interest me. I have a desk set my Great Grandfather made during WW1 from scraps of brass and empty rounds. The pen itself is a 308 or 303 round with a pen nib. I did try writing with it and it was a rather calming and enjoyable experience.


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