Despite the rainy weather we had a great time at the Kent County Show with Ross and Sarah from Kaos Blacksmiths. We were in the ‘woodland’ section of the showground and met some very knowledgable and interesting people. But firstly, the rain; now as a bushcraft instructor I like to think I’m prepared for the elements, but after 4 days of rain and with a stream flowing through the stand creating 4 inches of liquid mud (including under your tent) it gets a little challenging. So whilst we stayed mostly dry, standing in a swamp carving with an axe wasn’t as fun as it can be. Ross had a tough time keeping his work from rusting. But I was impressed by all the hardy people who came along and spoke to us anyway; despite the carparks being closed.
The evenings were fantatstic and I was lucky enough to share a campfire with some real old woodsmen who had spent their working lives in the woods; 3 genertaions of hurdle makers were in the next stand and next to them was Jeff, who makes about 2000 walking sticks a year, by hand. I also met a beech peg maker, a clog maker, greenwood workers and sculptors. There were some brilliant stories shared, along with some excellent Kentish cider, and for the most part I just sat, listened and enjoyed. But it was sad to hear from these men how their numbers are dwindling and it is hard to get someone to learn these skills and take over.
Far more positives to take away than a spot of rain can do. We hope to go again next year.