New Direction?

Following on from yesterday’s post [I know, two posts in consecutive days!!], I’d like to try and think about where this blog will go next, once I’ve walked away from my workshop.



To me, the obvious choice seems to be to blog about some of my other interests; particularly, the ones I’ve been enjoying in my time away from woodworking.


First, this would include walking. Back in August, I found the self-confidence to start walking on my own and have covered many miles and climbed many hills around the Bristol and Somerset area. There are still many places I intend to visit and I have been very busy with my camera, for which I still need a space to blog about each ‘adventure’. I do most of these walks on my own and, although I’ve since joined a walking group to participate with and meet new people, I do hope to one day find someone who enjoys these walks with me… Well, there is actually someone who enjoys shorter walks for the photography aspect but, it’s a complicated situation!!


Those of you who’ve seen my work in British Woodworking magazine, as well as this blog, will know that I can write. I’ve never doubted that but, it was only this year that I decided to look in to an evening course in short fiction writing. We also covered a bit of poetry, which I really enjoy (although, most of mine seem to come from a dark and lonely place). Now that the 12-week course is complete, I need to keep writing and working on the short stories I have already started. Editing my own work doesn’t come naturally (that’s always been Nick’s job…) but I’ve learnt a heck of a lot within three-months.


I’m not looking to write a novel just yet but I could look in to self-publishing my own short stories. Or, what seems easier would be to enter them in to some of the many online competitions available. It’s a good way to get your work and name noticed, while there are often prizes to collect along the way. I’ve always wanted to write and publish something (a book of my own) on woodworking, without covering one of the subjects or topics (how-tos) that have already been done a hundred times. How about an anthology of poems or short stories titled, Words from the Workshop? 😉


Another plan of mine was to start 2013 with an evening course in learning the basics of playing the guitar, since I now own two of them, can’t play either one and would still like to be able to use the plans I bought to make my own, some day. Sadly, as I went to enrol on this course on Friday lunchtime, I was told that all the places had already been filled. I know, I left it too late! I’ll have to wait until the next term in another three months (I guess) before I can start that. Unless I search for a private tutor? Someone on my writing course did say that she found this easier than group tuition.


Art’s always been a passion of mine (mostly surrealism) and it is something I have neglected now for almost a full decade, since I dropped out of my A-Levels in the second year. I was looking for suitable courses at the Folk House in Bristol but, the ones I was most keen on were only running during daytime hours, when I would be at work.


There isn’t much else to my life, to be honest. Certainly, nothing else I can think of beyond a dream of travel that I feel I may never realise, with all these financial obstacles that keep cropping up – my van failed it’s MOT last week; it cost me over £300 to have it made road-legal again but, with all the welding required underneath (???), they’re doubtful as to whether it will pass the same test in twelve-months time. Another one for the scrap yard, then!


At some point in the new year, you can expect to see a change in the direction of this blog. Certainly, it will be less about the ‘Workshop’ but, I hope that many of you will still stick around. 🙂


Is this really the end of my woodworking?


Well, I don’t think so. As I said yesterday; I intend to keep as many of my hand and power tools as I can carry with me. I still haven’t thought about where they would live in rented accommodation without a garage, garden or shed but, I cannot afford to leave them behind. Friends and family will always need jobs doing, even if I have to work on a Black & Decker Workmate for a while…


An IKEA Store along Alexandra Road in Queensto...
An IKEA Store along Alexandra Road in Queenstown, Singapore. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Wherever I end up, it’s quite probable that I’ll need ‘new’ furniture of my own at some point. I’m one of the last people who would rush to the nearest IKEA store but, that still leaves the option of buying second-hand furniture. This is something my ex-girlfriend did to furnish her flat – we’re talking £20 for a tall unit with a base cabinet and shelves above, made from solid pine and varnished, ready for use! This was in the city of Gloucester but, I know there are other similar stores around Bristol and some even further south, close to my location. If you’re going to buy cheap then, why not spend the money on something that will last?! If any repair work or modifications are required then, I should be able to find some space to do that (I’ll certainly have all the tools).


I’ll keep reading about wood, I’ll keep writing when I can and I’ll try to hold on to a distant vision of one day occupying a workshop space of my own again.



10 thoughts on “New Direction?

  1. Sorry to hear you’re having to give up your workspace Chris, I’ve enjoyed following your blog. Sounds like you have some interesting ideas on what to do next – best of luck with wherever your path takes you.

    I can recommend the Sofa Project on Old Market Road for second hand furniture (and white goods too); there’s also an interesting looking second-hand furniture shop on Chalks Road, Easton/Whitehall that looks good, but I haven’t been in.

    I’m in almost the opposite situation to you – looking to move house & hoping to have enough garden space to knock up a small workshop/workshack, which will be more than I have now & so hopefully enough to enable me to become an amateur woodworker 😀

    1. Thanks for your comment and for your recommendations. When I was at college, there were two, maybe three stores on Gloucester Road alone!

      Best of luck with your own ventures but who’s Chris?… 😉

      Merry Christmas!

      1. D’oh – there was a guy called Chris Parry-Jones I knew at Bristol Uni a few years back, reminds me every time I see your blog! Sorry about that 😀 any relative?
        Yeah there’s a furniture place on Glos Road near the arches, though quite pricey for what it is. Few more further up I think but don’t know that part so well.
        Happy Christmas 🙂 hope you had a good one!

      2. No worries and no relation either, as far as I’m aware. There appear to be more of ‘us’ around Bristol and I’m ALWAYS being asked if I’m related to a teacher in Westbury-on-Trym (I’m not). 😛

        Thanks, hope you had a good one too.

  2. Sorry to hear about that. Seems like a lot of people blog about photography, so maybe you could do that if it’s interesting enough to you. I’ve been doing a bit more of that on my blog, but compared to yours it’s all over the place comparatively. Seems that might change soon though!

    You’ve got a ton of followers, so maybe a different direction will be successful! At least “ollypj” is vague enough that it could be anything involving you!

    Ever think about investing in your own domain? Might be worth it if you’re going to keep blogging.

    1. Hi Jeremy and thank you.

      I hope you got my e-mail reply the other week. I recently bought myself my first smart phone and I sent it through that… I’m just not sure if it actually went through!

      Yes, I’m glad I kept it so simple now. At the time, it just seemed easier than ‘ollyworkshopblog’ but a little more than ‘opj’, if that wasn’t taken (I forget now).

      What are the advantages of owning your own domain? I know that you can offer advertising space (I get regular e-mails about this) but what else is there?

      1. Owning the name itself is pretty good for telling people about your site – …com is easier than … You can do this by paying wordpress if you don’t want to pay for hosting the content.

        As for hosting, you can put ads on your site, and you have pretty much complete freedom to do whatever you want with your template if you’re so incined. Ads pay for my site several times over, and they’re not too intrusive (hopefully).

        I didn’t get it, but maybe I missed the email somehow.

      2. Thanks, Jeremy. I think I’m going to wind up my other site (OPJ Furniture) at some point with the way I’m heading and the money I’ll save from that could go towards this domain.

        Ah, that was when you asked about a social media button that follows you down the page… I wasn’t sure if you meant Twitter or Facebook. Either way, it’s a WordPress Widget. I wasn’t aware that it moved, though!

  3. Olly,

    Sorry to see situations are moving you away from woodworking; I’ve followed you for years and always enjoyed the breadth of your projects and reviews, your approach (blogging, FB, YouTube), and the accessible projects.
    On my site I list your blog as one I follow so I was surprised (chagrinned?) to see that I’m responding to something weeks old! And here I was coming back to see if you got around to building those Christmas boxes you wrote about earlier! I like that design, btw.
    Glad you will be keeping this site up and adding to it with other day-to-day material. Best wishes on the future!

    1. Thank you, Joe. I really do appreciate your words of support. It’s not all coming to as abrupt an end as I may have suggested but, I will have to make some changes later this year.

      I will try to make those boxes at some point. My ‘intention’ has sadly left my life this week (hopefully to return soon) but I spent Christmas watching videos on things like bandsaw boxes so, I’d like to hold on to my tools for a little bit longer! 😉

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