I’m Toddy. I joined the forum way back in 2005. A while afterwards, when Tony asked me to be a Mod, my immediate response was, “Are you sure ?”, because I certainly wasn’t. I wasn’t some wonderfully active and skilled ‘bushcrafter’ in the OD uniform, able to trek the back of beyond and home again with only a knife, a folding saw, a shemagh and a firesteel, I was an archaeologist with a very healthy interest in ethnobotany, traditional textile crafts and a love of our changing seasonal rounds of foraging.
I did like the ‘leave no trace’ and the ‘carry less by knowing more’ ethos though.
The increasing limitations of rheumatoid arthritis means that these days I’m mostly a housewife, but with some very interesting friends
I grew up in a family who made things, who had never quite lost the connection to countryside and waters and the seasons. I was absolutely convinced that someone somewhere in the family could make anything.
I still struggle to accept that to most of urbanised world the seasons are almost insignificant and of little consequence.
If they want heat, they switch on the central heating, if they want light, they switch it on, if they want food, they go to the supermarket where they can acquire any kind of food they want at any time of year, and they don’t need to kill it or dig it up or pick it from the tree, the bush or the land….and they don’t care that they don’t know how to do any of it.
The disconnect with the natural reality of our world horrifies me.
I delight in knowing how to make from the most basic raw materials, and knowing how to find or grow those too. I find craftsfolks fascinating; from flint knappers to the fellow sitting on the other side of the fire carving a spoon, from the makers of lotions and potions to the spinners, weavers, dyers and needleworkers. The tanners and leatherworkers, the ropeworkers, potters, basketmakers, woodworkers, bodgers, boatbuilders, blacksmiths, farmers, musicians, storytellers, teachers, cooks and all.
I think, no I believe, wholeheartedly I believe, that creativity is hardwired into humanity. That Making is as intrinsic a part of a healthy human psyche as is communication.
From my archaeology background I know that the first signs that remain of humanity beyond the bones, are firemaking, tool making and use, and by extension, communication among our kind to pass along knowledge. I think we ignore those aspects of ‘us’ at our peril and greatly to our personal and societal detriment.
I didn’t know what ‘bushcraft’ actually was beyond a Richard Graves sort of term all those years ago. Then I found this forum, and happily settled in to join the conversations around the virtual campfire. I’ve enjoyed the conversations around an awful lot of real ones too since then.
Thank you for your company over the years; it has greatly enriched my life.