The other day I had a bit of an unusual email request: "Could I run a spoon carving workshop for a stag party with nine blokes as part of pre-nuptial celebrations?" I was straight on the phone to woodlands.co.uk HQ, who readily agreed to the use of a woodland, Hellbeck Wood, for the event. Friends, Mark and Ben, were quickly roped in to be assistants and to create their own spoon as part of the bargain. Prayers were offered to the rain god for a fine day, but all bets were hedged and a couple of tarps were erected beneath the trees.
The prompt arrival of the stag party group brought another surprise - a woman in their midst! She was to be an honorary man for the weekend, I was informed. A short walk led through the wood, to our prepared camp with a small fire and a brew on the go. After introductions and much banter at the stag’s expense, the spoon making began.
Locally harvested silver birch was the wood provided and every one agreed on a stirring type spoon. This was a good choice for beginners. Despite a couple of minor cuts, and plasters administered by assistant Mark, everyone produced a useful implement.
The party departed clutching spoons, off to their next activity, an evening of clay pigeon shoot. Tranquility returned to the wood. So we stayed awhile around the fire, reflecting on a pleasantly productive day. Peaceful in a beautiful woodland setting, each with a spoon created from local timber to take home and serve as a reminder of an unusual stag party.