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  • Writer's picturePatrick Mills


Apart from a spell of making picture frames, my experience of woodwork was standing in a semi circle around a work bench in a freezing cold shed when I was at Fernden (a ghastly prep school I was sent to - another story). After a term of doing pretty much nothing apart from cutting three legs, the teacher would make up the three legged stools, which we could take home to proud parents.

So what on earth has woodwork got to do with Parkies.

Treating symptoms of Parkinson’s is not just about the drugs. Exercise is great for slowing down the disease. 

Another way of finding relief is to do something that is hard work and demands a lot of concentration.

For many years I have had the urge to make furniture, however the urge has not been satisfied because I can’t measure and I can’t cut straight.

When I retired I made a promise to myself to make a dining room table that would become a focus for the family and friends. I want it to tell stories of our life.

For my 60th birthday Oscar and Maddie booked me onto a woodwork for beginners class run by Southwark Council - what a fantastic present. Ten, three hour sessions on Tuesday mornings.

This Tuesday will be the fourth session - we are learning how to make all the joints using traditional tools (not an amp of electricity anywhere).

I love it, It’s fun and any twitches or shakes do go away.

The picture above is a bench hook (the first thing we made), which ensures the wood doesn’t move while cutting, so you have a better chance of cutting in a straight line.

I’ll post updates here as the course continues. So far I am finding the level of concentration required tough, I also keep forgetting what the teacher has just told us. But there’s plenty of ‘here’s one I made earlier’ models to help, which is fab.

Very nice group of people in the class, including a fashion designer who designed a collection for Kate Moss some years ago.

And, as I think must be mandatory, the class is held in a cold outhouse of a now defunct school.

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Feb 02

I love this picture and the course sounds very inspiring. Please do share updates, would really like to see more!


Jan 28

What a great present. I wanna go too!


Unknown member
Jan 28

What a brilliant and imaginative present from Oscar & Maddie. Clever them! Furious concentration is a good method for relaxing, oddly.

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