Peter Lloyd

The Old School House


Tel: (0044) 016977 46698


Birds and boxes

Birds and boxes

Spring is now truly on its way and the clocks go forward this weekend so we can look forward to longer and warmer (?) days. We walked on the fells yesterday in driving wind and rain and had a picnic sheltered by some trees - it's funny what one does for pleasure! We did however see curlews lapwings, kestrels, sky larks and new born lambs which made up for all the discomfort!
Boxmaking continues at a slow pace. Poor Peter has also had a lot of work to do on the house - if it were a box with a lid he would be happy but putting up shelves and curtain rails is not his idea of fun although he has created some very interesting lamp shades and the cupboards in the bedrooms have some very familiar looking hinges..........
He has almost finished the H.M.S. Victory wood boxes which look fantastic. That is the last of that wood now and it seems ages ago that it was first delivered and the postman staggered up the path with this rotten looking bit of wood wrapped in a blanket. Peter was away at the time and I left it propped up in the hallway. Every time I walked past I had a sniff as it smelled of the sea - I'm sure I could even smell Nelsons sweaty feet in there somewhere! What an amazing feeling it was to see it standing there in our house after all it had been through! Peter has very lovingly used every single bit of the wood although he still has enough to make some small ring or cufflink boxes.I hope he has done the ship proud by extending its life in another very different way.
The hens are thriving and have started to lay again at last. The newcomers are well settled in and have asserted themselves and refused to be bullied. There really is a "pecking order" and poor old Henrietta is still at the bottom.
Ending on a positive note our protests to save the forests seemed to have worked for now and our trees are safe and there for us all to enjoy. Thank goodness for that!



Well, January is here and it really is not my favourite month. That beautiful crisp white snow has been replaced by grey skies and soggy ground. But, the days are becoming longer, the first snowdrops are pushing their way through the ground and the birds are definitely sounding happier.

Christmas is a distant memory but I'm glad to say that Father Christmas managed to deliver all the boxes on time despite some hold ups due to the snow. Thanks to all his helpers in big vans who must have had some horrible and difficult journeys but who remained cheerful and helpful throughout.

Peter is locked away in his workshop and there's lots of banging and clattering and I can hear him muttering to himself through the wall. He emerges occasionally to drink tea but then disappears in a cloud of dust. He's been looking at the remains of the wood from HMS Victory . He is very sad that it is coming to an end as it has been amazing to work with. I went into the workshop yesterday to see it all laid out and divided off into potential boxes and must admit that I thought some of it looked impossible to  make anything with. Its so gnarled, with holes in awkward places and rotten bits but no doubt with a bit of first aid and imagination he'll do it and he's hoping to get three or four boxes made with some possible little boxes from the wood that ends up on the floor.

Peter is also working on some more boxes with secret locking mechanisms which invariably cause a lot of head scratching and more muttering so I just keep out of the way.

We're off to Grizedale forest on Sunday to join the protest at the government's plans to sell off our forests in order to raise a measly amount of money. It's hard to believe that this is about to happen with something that has been entrusted to us for generations. If you would like to know more have a look at and it would be great if you could add your voice to the protest.

On a happier note my hen population is about to increase as a neighbour is moving and giving me three of his hens - one of them a silky which are rather beautiful. I don't know what my existing family will think and I'm expecting a few, very unladylike fights but I hope they will all settle down and be happy together. Chris


Let it snow........

Let it snow........

Whoops - quite a long time since I've written in the diary despite all my good intentions. The life of a boxmakers assistant is busy and almost stressful at times - well maybe not but with a boss like Peter......

The elves are very busy preparing for Christmas and boxes are flying off the shelves at an alarming rate. The weather has kept us indoors except for the odd bit of sledging in deep, crisp snow so, unlike a lot of people, we have quite enjoyed it!

Being so busy for Christmas has meant that interesting and new box designs have been put on hold for now but hopefully 2011 will bring fresh inspiration and many happy hours will be spent staring out of the window.

We have been having work done on our house which was in danger of falling down if we hadn't done something about it and we have had some very long suffering and lovely builders who have done a marvellous job of making the house look smart. I hope to start a B&B in the spring if it is all finished in time so that will be a new venture for me and an exciting one although I really will have to polish up on my porridge making.

The very sad news is that Nelson the cockerel died last week. I don't know why, he just seemed to keel over. Perhaps he had a hen heart attack, I don't know, and as I was given him I don't know how old he was so he may have died of old age. His harem is definitely not in mourning and are carrying on as if nothing has happened - selfish lot.

On that sad note I'll sign off and wish anyone out there who might actually read this a very happy and peaceful Christmas and may the New Year be a better one for the world.


September 2010 Strange creatures

September 2010 Strange creatures

There is a definite nip in the air today and it's feeling very autumnal. Peter is starting to hibernate in his workshop and just occasionally appears covered in dust with a mad glint in his eye - I'm sure there must be a Latin name for this strange creature - boxicatum insanitus probably -  very rare and quite unusual and thrives on frequent cups of tea and the odd cheese sandwich.

Still, now the distractions of summer are over he will be designing and making boxes and working on some very interesting commissions - more on those when they are made.

There has been a lot of interest in the box making course that Peter and fellow boxmaker Andrew Crawford are holding in France next year so that is a really exciting project to look forward to during the coming long, dark winter days.If you would like to find out more about the course, have a look at Andrew's website

The hens are thriving but not laying very well - I've decided that they are thoroughly spoilt and just don't feel the need to produce. They have a wonderful life eating and sleeping and scratching around - a bit like boxicatum insanitus really.



August 2010 Scarecrows in the village

August 2010  Scarecrows in the village

Well,  summer is now in full swing, the holidays are over and we are refreshed and ready to face what will probably be the Christmas rush fairly soon. Sorry to mention Christmas but it has to be faced and last year the rush did start in September. In fact we've already sold our first Christmas box!

The holidays have been great with a wonderful trip to France where we visited friends in the Ardeche which is full of trees which made Peter very happy. Mainly chestnut in mature forests and our friend Eveline was a wealth of knowledge about the flora and fauna - our walks with her were fascinating.  She herself owns a small forest and was harvesting the wood and had made her barn roof from chestnut. It is a beautiful rich golden wood and looked stunning. She had her own stretch of river which we swam in and we did of course enjoy the local wine and some lovely food.

While in France we also spent a week in the Gers region, close to the Pyrenees with fellow boxmaker Andrew Crawford and his wife Hilary. They had the use of a very beautiful villa in exchange for some teaching. This brought about the idea of running a box making course there next year with Peter and Andrew as the tutors. The villa has a well equipped workshop and the accommodation is very comfortable. There is a pool, tennis court, croquet lawn and beautiful grounds to relax in during those non-box making moments! If you are at all interested in this course then please get in touch with either Peter or Andrew and they will give you the details.

So, back to reality and the box making world.  Interesting commissions recently have included a box inlaid on the lid with semi precious stones which were sent by the owner, each one being significant to him and his wife in some way.

Peter has just finished a series of jewellery boxes some of them in the most amazing burr woods. The ring boxes continue to do really well and we have just had an order from a pirate stuntman in Las Vegas who would like a HMS Victory ring box for his wedding. A pirate wedding of course.

In our village at the moment there are some very strange characters lurking including a pirate, coincidentally, a mole catcher, a mermaid and The Simpsons! It is our annual scarecrow festival which is great fun and I'll add a photo of our contribution which caused much hilarity as we assembled it in the rain last Saturday. Not sure we are going to win the prize for the best scarecrow but it is making people laugh which is all that matters!!