In 1996 my wife, Nette, our two girls, Sam (5yrs) and Georgii (3yrs) and I travelled to Gifford, Scotland. The following 12 months was an adventure in a Scottish village with its small school, 200 year old church and arguably the best antique restoration and fine furniture making school in the world.
We had a ball learning a new language, Sam even won the local Robbie Burns poetry recital competition with her newly acquired near perfect Scottish lilt. Nette picked up some groovy dance moves at her Scottish country dancing lessons and the local kindergarten named their class budgie after Georgii. As for me, I learnt about shellac and sharpening, mahogany and mortises, veneers, Victoriana and vices – to name just a few things.
Roll forward 16 years and the grand master of the school, Anselm Fraser, asks to visit our construction site near the South Coast. Would he approve? Would the student’s skills meet the teacher’s expectations? Would the design, cabinetry,lead lighting and plain hard work be acceptable?