The chairman of Seahouses Probus Club opened the meeting and after wishing happy birthday to the members whose birthdays were this month invited our secretary and our treasurer to give their reports.
We were then introduced to our speaker Chris Phillips who was to talk to us about stick dressing.
Chris explained to us that sticks were not only walking aids, but also could serve many other purposes.
He illustrated the many types of stick with examples of dressed sticks, many of which he had dressed himself. The local stick-dressing fraternity meet weekly in a workshop in the grounds of Doxford Hall.
The first stick we were shown came from the Serengeti. This was a simple straight stick made of ebony, heavy with a ball on the end. This stick was used by the Massai as a balancing assist, cattle prod, walking aid or as a weapon.
We learnt that sticks could be made from many different materials including cabbage stalks that were made from cabbages grown to six to eight feet high in Jersey and Guernsey.
Many sticks are dressed with horn and we were shown sticks dressed with both sheep’s horn and cow’s horn and also deer’s antler.
Horn needs to be boiled to thicken and to mould it into shape. Deer antler on the other hand is made of bone and cannot be moulded.
After a question-and-answer session, Norman Laidler gave the vote of thanks for a good-humoured and erudite exposition of the subject that was enjoyed by all.