... feminist, atheist, autistic academic and historic narrowboater ...
Likes snooker, beer, tea, rivets and solitude, and is strangely fascinated by the cinema organ.
And there might be something about railways.

Tuesday 12 March 2013

Fender fun

Twice a year, Brian on Alton runs a fender-making course at Audlem Mill. Jim has long quite fancied learning this craft - and I have long thought it would be a very useful skill to acquire, but not for my delicate little fingers! - so I hatched a plan to book him into one as a birthday present. His birthday's at the end of September, so the autumn course would be perfect. I put it in my diary to book last week, but when I rang - fantastic for Audlem Mill and Brian, very disappointing for me - they were fully booked for the autumn.

I had a brief chat to Peter at the Mill, about Chertsey, which he remembered from our brief visit passing through en route to the Port in 2011, when the boat was still in primer. We'd been booked in to the Audlem Festival of Transport last year, but had to cancel when I realised that it clashed with the East Sussex Youth Orchestra's* one annual concert - with Sebastian leading the double basses, and Izzi the cellos, we really can't miss that. So the Audlem Mill gathering is crossed out of the diary until they get too old (although bass players, being in such short supply, rarely are). So I promised to drop by again on our way down this year and show Peter Chertsey in all its painted glory, and he promised to let me know if there was a cancellation for the autumn course.

A few minutes later he emailed to say that he hadn't thought to mention, but there had been a cancellation on the spring course, the weekend of March 9/10 - would I by any chance be interested in that? I certainly was. Having checked with Jim that he was free, I booked it up.

Not having been there myself, I can't report on it in any great detail, but Jim thoroughly enjoyed it, and came back with a side fender (and enough materials to make another one, if only the cat would stop helping) and an absolutely fabulous looking button, with a proper rope core. I have impressed upon him how important it is to keep practising, so that he doesn't forget how to do it.

*Website designed by Sebastian, who probably also provided most of the viola jokes.


  1. Thanks for the mention & link Sarah. You managed to blog about our fender making course even before I did ;-). I'm glad Jim enjoyed it, we had a good gang of students who where keen to learn, so we thoroughly enjoyed the weekend too.

    Hopefully see you at the port.

    Cheers, Brian

    P.S. really glad you have continued your blogging as I enjoy your posts & your muc

  2. Cont:- much better at finding something interesting to say then me :-)

  3. Very impressive button. A new career for Jim?

    I made a side fender at a workshop at the IWA festival one year, but I've forgotten how to start and finish it. Tell Jim he has to keep doing them or he'll forget too. Come to think of it, Herbie could do with a set, so if he needs something to practice on . . .

  4. I will keep trying but I was the slowest and certainly not the best. Brian had to stay back for an hour whilst he/I finished off. It is bloody hard work. I would recommend the course to everyone, it is great, perhaps the Herbies could both go and then they would have two buttons and 4 side fenders for not much more than they are from the swindlers and much, much better.