A Hammock Story (and other news)

As I have been seriously neglectful of blogging for at least a week, here’s an extra long entry with all the goings on of the past two weekends.

Elmo in the Hammock

I made a hammock by just messing about figuring it out as I went along, but not entirely surprisingly, it came out a bit wrong and not as good as I would have liked. So I stripped it for parts and made a proper one. Below is the weaving of it. Still not perfect tension, but measuring and marking the lengths made a big difference. Except where I made slight mistakes. Oh well.

the new hammock

I made proper harnesses (below) for this one, the same as were on the one we had when I was growing up. I had to do quite a bit of google-reasearch to figure out how to do it, but it turns out to be pretty easy.

the harness

I bought a couple of bits of oak from the local joiners and sanded them and drilled them for spreaders. Good thing I happened to have a 12mm chisel bit!

making the spreader

And good thing I have a dremel tool, with a drum sander attachment. Smoothed and rounded all the holes so as not to saw through the ropes.

sanding the holes

Finally, tying it off at each end, with a sailor’s hitch or some such knot, which I was very good at by the end.

tying it together

And below is the hammock in action. Pretty much everybody gave it a go, but only an elite few (myself included) managed to dump ourselves out of it in proper comedy fashion. There’s not much funnier than watching somebody be dumped out of a hammock.

hammock in action

In other news, last weekend Elmo and I spent a day helping some friends get their boat up the locks between Hebden Bridge and Todmorden. Elmo did a lot of paddle-winding and I did a lot of decoratively draping myself along the gates. A fair division of labour, I think.

Elmo working a lock

Ryan came along last weekend and, as usual, powered through tons of work. The back wall turns out to be made of bricks behind all that ivy. Who knew?

the back wall, ivy free

And Anne came along as well and did some serious path excavation. It’s amazing how much structure there is under all this lumpy ground, if only you dig it out.

path where none was previously

Anne also helped me get a bit done on the mosaic for the backsplash in the kitchen. Then I accidentally started using it as a kitchen again, so it may remain undone for a few weeks, but at least it’s started. It was lovely to see Anne anyway, I don’t get to see nearly enough of her.


The rest of the ivy came off the shed roofs, revealing a surprise pair of skylights in the bottom shed, which now beautifully illuminate the interior.

the bottom shed

So you can actually see what you’re doing in there! Amazing. The rafters are all shot to hell, having been in a moist atmosphere above plastic that held the rainwater for years, so they’ll need a lot of shoring up, but the walls are sound and when the place is re-roofed we’ll have a lovely workshop.

the bottom shed

Anna was good enough to agree to climb the tree which will have the trapeze hung from it when we get around to making it. All the parts are present and correct now, which is helpful. Now I just need Elmo to do a lot of complicated splicing.

Anna up a tree

Alec’s birthday weekend was fantastic, with great weather and a great crowd. The cake (an experimental clementine and dark chocolate extravaganza) was a success and a good amount of single malt whisky was consumed. Always a sign of a good birthday.

Friday night

And as Steven was around, I made the one dessert I make that doesn’t even have to be altered to be vegan, my mother’s apple pie recipe. And I proved to myself that I’ve still got it in the pastry department. You’d be proud, Ma.


As we had our two climbing friends on site, we took the rest of the willow tree down. In large, exciting chunks. Poor Bob is going to be very sore for the next few days from all that awkward angle sawing.


Simon did a fair amount too and toward the end a number of people had a go and it’s now down to a big, bare double trunk that we can take down from the base. Then we get to have fun trying to get the roots out.

Simon up a tree

While Simon was up there he took a couple of pictures of the site from his excellent vantage point.

up a tree

So there you have it. Boggart Hall, late summer 2012. A very good summer. And I’m genuinely looking forward to autumn. Especially if I get the insulation and the ceiling finished before it gets cold.

up a tree two

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