Today was mostly about the Bandstand reopening at the Arboretum in Walsall and it was a very accomplished opening at that.
Quite how I can spend a year living in the area and not visited is a much lamented oversight only realised this afternoon. I can’t comment on the improvements made in the recent refurbishment but the finished result is very well done. The park is a lovely place to walk and despite the large attendance and the sounds of music on the air, it is a very peaceful place. The ancient trees and gentle brook exude calmness and the babble of people enjoying the rare feeling of a sunny afternoon was a heady cocktail of good vibrations.
I have certainly took to making useful wood into shavings of late and with no history of woodworking, each new experience is wonderful. Walsall Countryside services put on a craft display featuring basket weaving and pole lathing. I haven’t tried working a lathe before, although I have considered trying. Similarly I have also been keen to sample green woodworking. Today I got a chance to dip into the world of both. I was really surprised to be offered a chance to work the lathe, these things are usually bound up in regulations. I found it interesting and not as easy as it looks but it was simply the most fun thing to do, especially when I started to get the co-ordination between the foot treadle operation, moving in to the cut stroke and away for the return stroke and actually started producing shavings of my own. I am not sure if I overstayed my welcome or indeed how long I was playing as it felt timeless to me. I didn’t realise Linda was taking photos of me but on each one I was smiling. It is certainly something I need to learn more about and I have signed up to a course in basket weaving as an introduction to rustic craft work.
Aside from the craft stalls and the sports fest which seemed very popular, was the actual bandstand which had acts performing all through the afternoon. I was impressed with the layout, the bench seating and the setting. The acoustics were excellent as was the amphitheatre style seating which provided excellent viewing. I hope that the council make good use of this venue as it deserves to be well used as a regular venue for events.
Out of the bands we saw the one that stood out was “Aziz” a fusion of Asian music and rock, the bands website states it is psychedelic Asian blues acoustic power rock and who am I to argue. What I can say is that it had me hooked, the blend of guitar, a fair dollop of effect pedals and tabla drums was hypnotic, the set ended leaving me wanting more and that is the way it should be. They have an album out, which had the next band not driven me off with a discordant uber-emo dirge, I may well have remembered to purchase. I will rectify this omission in short order.
In all it was an excellent day, blessed with great weather. All that was really missing was a variety of food stalls, beyond “pig on a stick” and burgers and dare I say it, a beer tent. I could quite easily sat there listening to the music all day but even though, beer isn’t good for hydration as was pointed out by BIGFIL but is certainly aides the enjoyment.