Three weeks ago I received an email from the contact page of my site, from a gentleman saying he had some yew in various (smallish) diameters and whether they’d be any good for me. So I replied quite enthusiastically, but didn’t get a response. Luckily a phone number was included, so a week later I contacted said gentleman, and one hour later I was in his garden.
Let me tell you: what a wonderful property. Must be going on 2-3 acres of ground, with loads of old trees, a tennis court, a dressage arena, some stables and a beautiful house smack bang in the middle. We had a most lovely conversation while he showed me around. I won’t disclose any details, as I am pretty sure he would like to have his privacy undisturbed.
In the end (and with the help of a saw he lent me) I had collected a small pile of yew, all between 3 and 5 inches diameter and about 3-5 foot long, plus one half of a beech trunk about 5 foot long and 14″ wide. He had both halves, but one of them had lain face up on the ground for several weeks and already showed severe cracks, so I left it behind.
When it came to discussing a price, he thought about it for a short while, and then said “You know, I like you and I trust you. So why don’t you make me a few pieces I can show to my friends and say ‘These are from a tree in my garden’ instead?”
Well, what can I say. Obviously I agreed to it. Clearly he had seen some of my work on the site, and liked it. I get some (almost) free wood, probably some exposure to his circle of friends, and he gets some nice turnings in return for wood that otherwise would have gone onto the firewood pile.
And it gets better: The whole property was originally developed by a landscape gardener. This was clear from the layout of the trees and all the different species (there must have been at least 5 different types of sycamore/maple in that garden, and plenty of ash, oak, yew, holly, beech, to name just a few). He only bought the property a few years ago, and prior to that it had not seen much work in the garden. In consequence all the trees were overgrown, and some needed felling. We had a bit of chat what to do with those trees, and hopefully I will be in a position to get plenty more good wood from this source over the next few years.
Faith in mankind is restored, at least a little bit. There are generous people out there, and every now and then you run into them.