So - just to be clear - we did not see any of the following:
- Great Wall of China
- Terra-cotta Warriors of Xian
- Yangtse River Cruise
Everywhere we went, there was a hive of construction activity ranging from national infrastructure - roads, highways, high speed train lines etc, down to house building and restorations of existing buildings. Here is a snapshot.
Freedom of religious expression in China has led to the re-building of those temples and churches damaged during the Cultural Revolution - and the attention to detail is breathtaking.
Anyone who is a woodworker will appreciate, the skill and dedication needed to re-produce fine work on such a large scale.
In every town and city, old buildings are being restored and preserved. Here are two on opposite corners in the city of Kunming.
On the left, a restored building - while on the right an original doctor's surgery and pharmacy first established in 1857. Inside, there are consulting rooms and an on-the-spot herbal pharmacy. Note the wall of herb cupboards and drawers in the background.
Out in the countryside, there are many combinations of traditional design and contemporary practice - with very pleasing results.
The tools and techniques would be very much at home in any woodworkers workshop. The quick fix fence on the jointer is held in place with two nails.
I saw no evidence of A2 or M2 steels in the tools used, no cryo-treated blades, no high end big name manufacturers' tool labels, and spartan toolkits that make those of western home hobbyists, look palatial by comparison. Yet the results speak for themselves.
Look carefully at this picture and you will see three tools from everyday use - chain saw, tape measure and bow saw. Somewhere out of shot there is a bandsaw, which slabs the timbers for lumber, and the evidence of volumes of work lies on the ground around about.
For simpler buildings these are all that seem to be needed.
Here is an animal shelter - completely weatherproof, with a bark roof held in place with tree-nails - we might call them wooden dowels.
I have so much more to share from this trip, but this will do for the moment. Woodworking is so universal, that it can be found wherever we look. Southern China is no exception.
It is great to be back sharing my own peculiar outlook on all that is wood - and other perspectives .....
.........and happy woodworking to all ................