Peter Lloyd

The Old School House



An eight year catch up...

An eight year catch up...

In January 2017 my wife and I set off on a cycle trip to China. We live close to Hadrian's Wall in Cumbria so our trip had to be  - The Wall to Wall...

Well, we eventually made it to the great wall of China and now we're back, the workshop is open and there are boxes available! There are quite a few jewellery boxes for sale but not many desk boxes or little boxes.

I am back in the workshop - I can't seem to stay out of it - but I'm definitely not making boxes fulltime now.

I first started making boxes professionally in 1990, (I actually made my first box back in 1969! - I wonder if she's still got it...) back then, long before the world wide web, there were only three or four box makers in the country. Now there are many more, partly owing to my book, Making Heirloom Boxes and Andrew Crawford's book, The Book of Boxes. But, there's room for us all!

So, welcome to my world of boxes, browse the box galleries and feel free to give me a call if you would like to know more. Peter



Bee eaters and other migrating creatures......

Bee eaters and other migrating creatures......

It is very tedious that I start every diary entry with an apology for not writing for so long so this time I won't.

It is now August but on looking out of the window you could imagine that it is still winter but I also won't go on about the weather.

An exciting piece of news locally and nothing at all to do with boxes is that Brampton has been honoured by a visit from two pairs of bee eaters - beautiful,colourful birds about the size of a starling who normally reside in the warmer climes of southern Europe. I'm sure thay must be regretting their decsion to have a holiday in Brampton but so far seem happy and busy and it is thought the chicks have been hatched and all is well. They are attracting birdwatchers from near and far and we are basking in their reflected glory.

Not many boxes have been made so far this year as we have just returned from our own personal migration when we journeyed down to Greece by train and boat and then cycled back home. A wonderful, exciting and challenging trip that saw us huffing and puffing through 12 countries and over lots of mountains. We met some lovely people along the way and some amazing hospitaity - I think people felt sorry for the two old codgers on their rickety bikes frequently stopping to look at the map and never quite  knowing where they were!

So Peter is now back in the workshop with only memories to keep him going but also new ideas. We stayed in one house in Greece that was all wood, including everything in it so that has provided some inspiration and much staring out of the window opportunities.

The hens went to another home before we left and are so happy there that they have asked to stay so once I have cleared the jungle that was their home I will probably get some more rescue hens - watch this space - if you have the patience.


The village Co-op

The village Co-op

Peter has made me feel very guilty this morning for not writing the diary for a very long time. He kept making references to the Queen and her Christmas message so here I now am with tiara firmly in place and an update on boxmaking and life in general at the palace of Hallbankgate.

It certainly hasn't been a annus horribilis for us but just the opposite, with another grandchild due on Christmas day and the first one, Iona, now walking, exploring, destroying and giggling.

Peter is still busy in his work shop although tells me that the elves are on a go slow this year and in fact sometimes don't even turn up for work which is rather disturbing. The Christmas rush came late and Black Friday saw no bodies tumbling through our front door. There has however, been a lot of orders for ring boxes one of which was engraved with the words "will you marry me?" which rather melts the heart. I hope she says yes, although we never get to hear, but occasionally another box order comes in a little later for a wedding present and then way down the line a very special Christening box.

We have had bad news in the village of the impending closure of our village shop which has been serving the community for 130 years. An emergency village meeting of about 100 people suggested that we buy the shop and run it as a community venture so that is now in the pipeline and all rather exciting. We have always prided ourselves in Hallbankgate for being self-sufficient with a shop, post office, library, pub, school and garage so to lose the shop would be a real disaster.

Meanwhile, winter has definitely arrived and we have had the first snow of the year. The hens have stopped laying and are putting all their energy into keeping warm. They have had some rather nice porridge breakfasts which they seem to enjoy but Peter refuses to install central heating into their coop as he says that's a step too far.

Have a very happy, warm, peaceful and stress free Christmas and let's hope for the best for everyone in 2015.



Notes to future self...

Notes to future self...

Amongst Peter's many strange habits, one particularly odd one is that he writes notes to his future self. They are almost always written on wood, sometimes they are practical and describe how he has made a particular piece but others are whimsical where he philosophises as to whether he will ever get to read that particular message. He might even mention what is going on in his life or the world at that particular time. He has even been known to "thank the past me"! The latest discovered message is written on the little blocks on which he writes his signature and then inserts into the bottom of each box and it says "To the future me. I've just made about 300 of these with 16 bits around 220mm long, bon courage mon vieux ! Yvan is here 21/07/2009." Yvan was with us from France for some work experience!! He now has only 4 of those little pieces left and needs to make some more - I wonder when and if he will read the next note to himself? Oh dear!

Those little messages really do show how meticulous Pete is in his work and the care that he takes. The hard work and attention to detail is what makes it particularly galling that someone has copied all of his designs and is displaying them on a website that is almost identical to his. The layout, font, all of the box designs and even the wording is the same! It is very sad that someone has so little imagination and creativity that they have to copy someone else's work that has been developed through so much hard work over the years.

Note to future self. "Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see a shadow". Helen Keller.




Winter days......

Winter days......

I think that my excuse this time for the long gap in diary writing is that not a lot is happening. The days are short and grey, the hens are huddling together for warmth and Pete keeps appearing in the kitchen for yet another cup of coffee. Having said that we're out walking lots and have had some wonderful, airy and invigorating yomps through the never ending mud! Cold Fell looks colder than usual with a sprinkling of snow on its summit but getting up there is a great way to keep warm.

It is, however a productive time of year for Pete as there aren't too many temptations - apart from the coffee, for him to leave his lovely warm workshop. He has a new stove powered by sawdust and has the warmest room in the house. I keep getting a sneak preview of some lovely boxes when I go in to warm my toes so obviously the coldness and greyness doesn't affect his creative juices.

I haven't mentioned my lovely new hens who came to me about 2 months ago, bald and sore and miserable. They are rescued caged hens and are now fully feathered, cheeky and giving me lots of lovely eggs. They are very friendly and seem to hold no resentment towards humans for their previous bad treatment.

Our granddaughter Iona is growing fast and chuckling lots - especially when she looks at her grand dad !!