Autumnal Thoughts

I'll admit to confused thoughts about Autumn: on the one hand it certainly has its Keatsian side, – mists, mellow fruitfulnesss, oozing cider presses and the like, but at the same time it's also a season of decline, decay and gathering darkness, and thus generally conducive to somewhat sad and serious reflections. For instance, for a few days now I've been wondering if this small business I've kept alive for nearly thirty years isn't, in its own way, getting a rather autumnal tinge around the edges. Perhaps there's a certain lack of excitement, so that the mere idea of cutting a wedged and haunched through-tenon just isn't as intrinsically thrilling as it once was, or that the prospect of turning a hundred or so chair spindles no longer seems emblematic of a mysterious bond with Clissett and the long vanished Cotswold bodgers.
So: if a fading youthful romantic enthusiasm can no longer sustain the reality of sometimes boring and repetitive work, as well as the noise and dust inevitably associated with modern woodworking machinery, what can be found to take its place? Occasionally the pleasure of solving a tricky design problem makes the day fly by, and I find that I'm eager to get down to the shop early in the morning, but to be honest this is rather the exception than otherwise. 

In the meantime, work remains to be done. Here's the workshop to-do list for the balance of September:

Repairs: These have been accumulating for some time. First there was saga of the concrete table, and as soon as it was finished, J. & I left to go sailing for a month. So what's down there? S. has half a dozen pieces needing attention, including quite a handsome inlaid chair which needs a lot of detailed restoration:

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The corner cupboard (above right) needs some basic re-building. At some point a past repair left the top with a completely mis-shaped top panel, which will have to be renewed.

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The little desk was given to me by an acquaintance. I should have known better, but I can't resist free stuff. It's in fairly hopeless shape, needing a lot of drawer work, new hardware, and there are several loose brackets and odd bits of moulding to be glued on. The octagonal table has a bad split in its carved top, and the finish is in grim shape. The child's rocker is a family treasure and has a broken leg; the trivet needs a new frame, and the turned burl-elm platter  (also much loved) is missing a chunk of the edge.
There's more, but you get the idea.

There's no immediate new work, but a couple of things are, as Patrick O'Brien might put it, hull down on the horizon. A pair of dining chairs to complement a table I made a year or so ago, and possibly another large pivot-hinged entrance door.

There are also some home and shop maintenance tasks, most urgent being the re-roofing of the workshop extension. I keep putting this off (over a period of years), despite the considerable annoyance of a pair of leaking skylights, mostly because I can't figure out how to do the flashing around the curbs. Equally urgent perhaps is the replacement of the flight of steps leading up to our house. The original creosoted railroad ties have mostly rotted away, and something safe and new is definitely required.

Then there's the book-binding equipment. But that's quite enough Autumnal Thoughts for one day.