Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Green sticks, cords and shelter.

1. The smell of hazel withies -- these are branches twisted until they are as strong and as flexible as wire and can be used to secure a bundle of sticks. They smell sharp, fresh and sappy. I spot Johnny sniffing the demonstration model as it is passed round.

2. Learning new knots and the stories that go with them. 'This one is used by Siberian goat herders because they don't have to take their gloves off for long when they are making it. Wave to your friend over here... if there's a triangle there you're doing it right...' 'Round this one twice then both once...'

3. Building a shelter by piling armfuls of leafmould and bracken on to a frame of sticks. It forms a dark little cave large enough for two that blends perfectly with the woods.