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Coffee Tables and Tent Pegs

These are what me made in woodwork. These were also all we ever made in woodwork and the bent nails, black thumbs, missing limbs and sticky plasters were all complimentary to both.

Frank Ball, the tireless woodwork teacher who, at the start of every term, would walk into a wood with an axe, chop down a thousand year old oak, laborously saw it up into coffe table and tent peg lengths and all just so some boy could saw it, shave it, plain it, hammer it,hack it, drill it full of holes where holes shouldn't be and mutilate it beyound all recognition where each boy would be invited to guess what it was - a coffee table or tent peg or both where after much discussion and conjecture - but not untill two hours was spent explainig to each boy in turn exactly what conjecture meant who then went away utterly convinced it was some kind of fag, it was decided that it didn't remotely resemble either, at a distance,or close up, so it was tossed onto the rapidly increasing pile of off-cuts which was spilling out of control out of every window in the building in every direction.

However,when it came to woodwork I was something of a bent nail ahead of the rest and could produce a mean looking coffe table - until it came to the legs where it rocked alarmingly from corner to corner and, in an ever ongoing attempt to level them up I invarioubly ended up with a polished slab of oak perched on four stumps which earnt it 5 out of ten for effort which was 5 more than anyone else for no effort at all.

Now Frank - just F when you really got to know him - really liked me and paid more attention to me than most where I managed to produce a tent peg that for once didn't resemble a length of fire wood with a notch at one end and a point at the other - in fact, I even won the woodwork prize with it which was presented by Lord Ismay - whoever he was and who didn't look like he could make a coffe table or tent peg either - on speech day to thunderous applause led by my mum and some bloke called Reg who she met in a pub down the Old Kent Road and niether had been sober ever since.

So,Frank Ball, not wishing to push his luck again with another Downes Peg,a bespoke peg of endearing qualities,engra ved with my signature and the Kins stamp and as admired in every scout camp world wide and Baden-Powell in patricular and not to mention the Brownie leader of the Kingham Strumpet group, It was suggested that I hone up my coffee table skills and 70 or so years on I'm still honing them in the honour of the greatest woodwork teacher that ever lived-
Frank Ball.

Dizzy D

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