The predicted huge storm has hit Scotland over the last 12 hours. There have been many fallen trees throughout the country and the entire rail system has been closed down. Little news has been received about the impact of the Ariundle Oakwoods but it seems inevitable that some trees must have been lost as winds have reached speeds of up to 100 miles per hour.
Following on from the article that I published about the solid oak computer desk that I bought last year I recently purchased a matching oak dining table from the same supplier. You may recall that I had some qualms about using the earths scarce solid oak wood for mere furniture. Well subsequent to my purchase of my oak dining table I had to arrange a service call because the extension leaves of the table were sticking slightly though the table was otherwise in perfect condition.
A few days later the service engineer arrived at my house and to my surprise the issue of the sticking extension leaves had gone away. The service engineer advised that this usually happens due to the nature of the manufacturing environment. He said that the furniture manufacturer had purchased a vast area of forestry wilderness in the eastern part of the former Soviet Union for the purposes of supplying quality solid oak timber for the UK furniture market. He also advised that the area is large enough to provide a sustainable timber source with a replacement young oak tree planted for each tree felled.
The technician then went on to explain that the felled oak timber is transported to India where it is manufactured by master craftsmen before carefully packaged and transported to the UK. The problem lies in the manufacturing environment which is quite a humid area at certain times of year which can cause the oak to swell very slightly and cause the extending table mechanism to jam. Within a few days of unwrapping the oak furniture and placing it in situe in a domestic environment the wood loses the trapped humidity and shrinks down very slightly but enough to solve the problem of the jamming table extension.
I still wonder about the ethics of using oak hardwood for furniture. My conscience has been eased slightly by the news that the oak wood forest is being harvested in a sustainable manner. I also try to take the long view in that my oak table should last a lifetime and beyond so hopefully it is something that will be useful to pass on to my children.
I recently purchased a solid oak computer desk for my home and though I was absolutely delighted with the appearance and craftsmanship of the item I must admit that I did feel a pang of guilt in furnishing my house with wood from oak woodlands. With furrowed brow I decided to do a little investigation into the sustainability of oak woods that are felled for use in the furniture industry.
It soon emerged that I need not have been so guilt stricken as it is perfectly possible in this day and age to source the oak used within furniture manufacturing from a sustainable forest. Basically the term sustainable oak forest applies to any oakwood forest that is carefully managed so that as oak trees are felled they are replaced with oak saplings seedlings that eventually grow into mature oak trees. While it is easy to plant a sapling for every tree felled, real care and skill is required to ensure that mature trees are not felled at a greater rate than the forest can replace them back into mature oak trees.
One area where I can quite literally breathe easy is that the oak wood used in the construction of my solid oak desk is of course a form of carbon capture. i.e. the carbon captured from atmospheric carbon dioxide during the growing process is now locked away in the wood used to make my desk and the oxygen created when the tree grew was released into the atmosphere. If I was being picky I might consider out that faster growing woods such as pine are more efficient at removing carbon from the atmosphere however the world would be a more boring place if oak woodlands such as Ariundle were replaced by boring but efficient pine trees. Overall I think I will have to stop the guilt trip and just enjoy my beautiful oak desk!
If you have been walking through the Ariundle Oakwoods in our typical Scottish Winter weather then the chances are that you may get a bit of a soaking or at the very least your walking gear is likely to get muddy a need a good wash. Of course with the Scottish winter weather drying your clothes can be quite a problem too and a tumble dryer is absolutely essential for getting your gear ready for the next trip out.
Space is at an absolute premium in my house so I was looking for a compact tumble dryer that I could pop into my garage. I found quite a selection of small vented tumble dryers on the Small Tumble Dryer website. With all the time I can now save I hope to get out there and spend more time enjoying the Ariundle oakwoods.
The annual difficulty of buying christmas presents for our own loved ones, clients, suppliers or perhaps staff is one thing that a great many of us dislike merely because of this job of choosing what to purchase is really hard! A single gift which is usually almost universally accepted by most adults is a gift of champagne. Its an individual gift where you simply do not need to worry if the recipient already has one because an additional bottle of champagne it is readily drank and enjoyed.
One of the best things about champagne as a gift is that champagne gifts are available to fit most budgets even during these hard pressed times. A half bottle of NV (what this means is Non-Vintage for the uninitiated) champagne may be sent out from approximately £15 upwards. You certainly dont need even have to leave the comfort of your home or office as champagne is in many cases readily purchased on the internet for delivery by the individual bottle or even by the case either to your house, your business or even straight to your lucky champagne gift receiver.
There are so many variations with presents of champagne. For example you can buy champagne gift boxes which incorporate champange flutes, ice containers, ice tubes as well as chiller jackets. You might order champagne in mini bottles as well as 1/4 bottles, half bottles, full bottles, Magnums of Champagne as well as sometimes Jeroboam Champagne. A few firms specialise in even even bigger bottle capacities. Champagne may also be ordered in single bottles, twin packs, half cases of 6 bottles and full cases of a dozen bottles. Last but not least you furthermore have a choice of Rose or Pink Champagne. In the event you wanted to buy a completely different sort of present, then you could order a champagne experience for example a Champagne Flight around the London Eye or perhaps in a Virgin Balloon or maybe a Champagne Tasting or simply Champagne Afternoon Tea at various places in the Uk.
Napoleon declared of champagne “in victory one deserves it, in defeat one needs it”. Sir Winston Churchill had also been exceptionally partial to champagne and routinely repeated Napoleon’s well known words. Churchill was in fact extremely specific in his selection of champagne, being thoroughly devoted to the produce of Pol Roger generally speaking along with their noted 1928 vintage specifically. The days of brand position with famous clientele is often presumed to be a relatively recent trend, however Pol Roger firmly grasped the marketing opportunity long ago of connections with its most well-known consumer. Pol Roger is in fact claimed to have manufactured champagne inside a pint sized bottle solely for Sir Winston Churchill. To this day Pol Roger still offer Sir Winston Churchill labeled champagne.
Quality oak furniture is a product of great beauty and there has always been a strong demand for real oak furniture for both home furnishing and in the commercial office furniture sector. Is it possible to balance the demand for oak and at the same time avoid loss of oak forestery which effectively is deforestation.
The author believes that for each oak felled and used as timber a replacement oak sapling should be planted and nurtured into treehood for future amenity as forestry and ultimately the future supply of timber. The amount of oak required to make a beuatiful quality item of furniture can be minimised by usage of veneer with solid oak edges known as “lippings”.
Top quality oak office furniture is generally made of quality oak veneer with say half inch or 1 inch solid lippings. The very best quality oak office furniture is still crafted and the lippings are linished by hand. Quality real oak furniture will never be cheap and neither should it be if we are to balance supply with demand for this beautiful wood.
The Ariundle Oakwoods are a peaceful woodland area which gives a rare glimple into the past as one of the few surviving native oakwoods that were once prevalant along the Atlantic coast of Scotland. The Ariundle Oakwoods features a hugely diverse range of vegetation in the form lichens, mosses, lichens, ferns and liverworts creating a micro-habitat for many rare species of butterflies, dragonflies, frogs and birds.
There is an interesting circular walk through the Ariundle Oakwoods which takes approximately 1½ hours and there is a good path all the way though walkers are recommended to wear a good pair of walking shoes. Ornithologists are often able to make good use of their binoculars to observe a variety of native birdlife including tits, dippers, crossbills, woodpeckers and buzzards. On calm days the dawn chorus produced from the variety of bird species is truely something special.