Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Much About Crutch

The problem with the internet 'being down' (which it is, as I write, btw — not with swine flu or depression, just 'not working') is that

a) (and my list will inevitably grow as I go along...)
a) (See? I’m already having to cheat to forestall the inevitable...)
b) (OK — I’ll start again from scratch...)

a) I’m going to have to write this post out longhand (and I now see how foolish I’ve been with my original attempt at a list).

b) Unless I can locate a suitably trained eagle to convey the details whitherward, it’s going to be a while before they reach any of you. This, of course, assumes that
i) A suitable trained eagle can be found.
ii) The training undertaken by said eagle was indeed suitable — ie it hasn’t been taught solely to peck out people’s eyes.
iii) I can get any eagles I find to convey the contents of this post to everyone I wish to read it.

c) This post is no longer about what I originally intended before I discovered the internet was down and may, in fact, no longer constitute anything worth writing out x times to relay worldwide by means of x+t eagles, where t is a number of eagles deployed as a safety net (a poor choice of metaphor I know, but bear with me. If you’ve hung on in here up to now I figure you’ll tolerate anything, up to and including spontaneous unconsciousness) should one or two of the original eagles perish prior to delivering their messages.

That being said, what, now, ought the post to be about?

In the spirit of the randomness afforded by this current moment’s internet glitsch, I select the following quotation from page 27 of Walking and Working Sticks by Theo Fossel as a guide.

It says, “Shaved or reduced holly sticks can be stained or (is that ‘fumed’? Can’t read my own writing — quelle Une Queurre de Plonque...) to give an effect that looks like a watermark in the wood.”

Fine. But now I have this mighty tome in front of me, I’m much more interested in Theo Fossel...

Sadly, there isn’t much of a bio in evidence, save this brief extract from the dust jacket.

“The author, Theo Fossel, studied forestry on the continent and has always been deeply interested in the countryside. From boyhood, he has whittled sticks from hedgerows and has found his life gradually taken over by his hobby.”

Now, correct me if I’m wrong, but since this yellowing book was published in 1987, Fossel has to have written it in the pre-internet era. So did he use a typewriter to generate the manuscript, or did he (like I’m doing now) write everything out longhand? Or, being Mr Stick Whittler, did he...

Hmmmm. I think I know what might have gone on.

Fossel carved the text for this book onto a series of small twigs using the very whittling techniques that had captivated his enthusiasm since childhood, and then conveyed these matchstick manuscripts to his publisher using a flotilla of trained sparrows, each one individually marked with a blob of Humbrol enamel to facilitate sorting prior to going to press.

Presumably, that’s why not a single eagle has swooped down onto my desk, in spite of my shrill squeaks of I’m a litter mousie! Weeek! Weeek! Weeek! It’s well over 20 years ago now since flocks of sparrows descended on Apostle Press, but I can’t imagine the eagles have been too keen to change their feeding habitat.

Meanwhile, further details of Theo Fossel, along with those of the fascinating art of stick carving, may be found here.

Back soon...


fairyhedgehog said...

You need to upload a video of you going I’m a litter mousie! Weeek! Weeek! Weeek!You really do.

Whirlochre said...


Geoff said...

Yes please...

sylvia said...

LOL, I agree with FHH.

After that, maybe a crash course on the differences between pigeons and eagles? Might come in handy...

JaneyV said...

I think that I may have found a book that had been whittled from a tree in my local wood. Maybe Theo branched out from sticks (Oh that pun hurt bad!)

What, oh what did we do before the internet?

That link to Bob's stickmaking page kinda scared me.

JaneyV said...

Oh and I second the all for video - preferably recorded in an area with a large eagle population.


Scarlet-Blue said...

Erm.. is the internet back yet?

Robin S. said...

Oh damn - I'm with FH. So very with her on this one.

But I'm over to Wales tomorrow and won't see til next week. Waaaaah!!

(But even so, it would be a great thing to come to. I'm just sayin'.)