Trinity Men’s Fellowship Eccleshall - Staffordshire

 © Trinity Men's Fellowship       Webmaster David Sandham

“Exciting night last night. Freddie Fox finally came and inspected the garden. It’s not a very good photo but I think you can at least see it. We’re also providing accommodation for a swarm of bees belonging to Keith and Ruth. The bees arrived early yesterday afternoon so it was quite lucky that Open Gardens had been cancelled. It would have caused quite serious consternation if there had been crowds of people wandering about.”



Phil finally manages to capture a fox in his garden using his “trap” camera.

Here is the photo from Phil’s camera - note the time 2:48 am! I have used some enhancing on the original including “lighting” from the software.

In this enlargement the fox is quite obviously - a fox - well done Phil

Lester has made an interesting birthday “card” for his Dad’s birthday.

I assume that the little hole at the base of the “5” is for a candle??? (David)

A similar project ( but not done during lockdown). The frame is 14” x 12”

TMF members help to shine a light for Eccleshall

Holy Trinity Floodlights, TMF to the Rescue

One of the most beautiful sites in Eccleshall during the dark winter nights is the floodlighting on Holy Trinity Church. Much of the lighting comes from 15 floodlights placed in the grounds round the church. Each is mounted in a rectangular stone base buried in the ground. The light is protected by a triangular steel mesh, held in place by metal bolts screwed into the Stonework.

Time has not been kind. Over the years, the stone bases have filled up with soil, leaves and other debris. Grass, weeds, moss and even small trees had grown up through the mesh. This resulted in the light falling on the church being reduced. In addition, the metal bolts and brackets had corroded. Some had sheared off and others were set solid. No one has been able to suggest if or when the area had been cleared previously

Church Warden Jonathan asked for the support of his fellow TMF members. As a result, on Wednesday 16th September 2020, Jonathan, Ray and Peter turned up to tackle the problem. Jonathan had explained that the equipment we needed was “something to kneel on, something to cut grass, and something to turn bolts”.

Of the 15 lights, two had been fixed, and two did not need attention. The team pressed on with the job. Ray was the one who had selected the best set of equipment, so he did all the bolt turning while Jonathan and Peter moved earth, grass, weeds, and tools. Amazingly, all lights were cleared in about two and a half hours.

As an addition, Jonathan discovered a gravestone which had been completely overgrown by a thin covering of grass. Careful clearing revealed that it was dated 1719.

Hopefully, in these dark days, Holy Trinity will once more be a beacon of light.

The new “brighter” Holy Trinity? Notice the memorial cross in the foreground. This has the benefit of the streetlights and it contrasts to shows just how bright the floodlights make the church now thanks to the TMF

Before the work

In the photo above you can see the post by looking through the “f” hole.  It has to be vertical from front to back and side to side and also in the correct position just below the bridge and in line with the outer edge of the bridge foot. To add to all that it has to have the correct orientation as far as the ends are concerned as these are sloped to match the slope of the violin top and bottom.

Once in position the “bits” were all put back and the strings now put pressure on the sound post and hence stop it moving.

Below are the tuning pegs which had to be cleaned to remove years of grease which was preventing them from holding the strings in tune.

At last it was finished!  I am pleased with the result. I really enjoyed this little project and it kept me out of trouble for a couple of days ;-)

Inside the violin there is a paper label  with the date of manufacture, the makers and their location.


Neuner and Hornsteiner

Mittenwald (Baiern)

Next task is to find out if it is worth anything?

David S. becomes a violin luthier

I made this for my Dad when he was 90 back in 2005, using two sizes of RE buttons. Dad was in the Royal Engineers as a career soldier, he joined up as a “Boy” soldier then became a sapper and went right through the ranks to eventually retire as a Major. He was what is known as a “Combat Engineer” and his speciality was the Bailey Bridge.

 (David S)

 After the work

Looking for a new challenge, it was back up into the attic for a look round. I soon came across an old violin in need of some TLC ( well more of full resuscitation!). This violin was Mrs. S’s Grandfathers but she never remembers him playing it???  So it would have been over 70 years since it could have been played. It does not have a case so you can imagine the state it has got into after all those years?  Anyway, I decided it could be saved. The first problem was that as you moved it around it was obvious that there was something rattling around inside.

After much fiddling around out dropped this interesting bit of wood. I had no idea what it was so onto the Internet to Google it.  Good old Google told me that it was in fact a “Sound Post”. It should not have been loose inside but in a specific position between the top and bottom of the body. How to get it back in  was the problem, how to insert it through the “f” holes which were only just a little wider than the post.  NO way! So back to Google and after lots of searches and You Tube videos I knew what to do. However special tools were needed and I could only find then in the USA and I was not going to spend good money on something I was probably only going to use once. So I found ideas for DIY “Violin Sound Post installation tools” and made the two on the left from an old wire coat hanger, using a vice and some pliers.

On the right you can see how the post is fixed to the “tool” with thin cord to hold it in position.  It still took ages to get the post into position as it kept falling off the tool and then having to be removed again from the body of the violin.  Eventually I managed to get it roughly into position and then I used the top tool (above), to nudge it backward and forwards, side to side until it was in the correct place. It is very tricky working through the “f” hole with a torch to see what is happening.

During the Lockdown I have been setting myself various challenges and one grew out of the fact that routine groups and clubs have taken on a different look. I, like several other TMF members are members of the Broughton Community Choir under the inspirational leadership of Martin Jones (no relative). As we couldn’t meet in the flesh he has organised for us to have a weekly Zoom get together. It was a little strange singing in our own homes but at least it had the advantage that no one could hear the mistakes, most of the time we were all on mute!

A further issue came when we came to one of our regular concerts, The Summer Concert. Martin asked for ‘contributions’ and my wife volunteered us to put together a video of us singing a song.

Many years ago as part of my teaching work I had run an afterschool club using Apple technology to make short films, we are talking late 1990s and I thought it would be good for my brain to brush up my skills with the support of excellent YouTube tutorials.

It was a fascinating process, recording an original sound track, over recording ourselves to improve the sound. Then deciding where and how to film followed by a sweltering day in the heat recording several versions which I could cut and edit together to make, hopefully one seamless, entertaining and interesting short video, 12 hours later I ended up with 1minute 40 seconds.

The result is available to view on YouTube  by clicking here

I hope you like it.       Jonathan

TMFs very own Tammy Wynette and Willie Nelson

The swarm of bees in Phil's Garden

The bees were quite high up in the tree and well inside, so difficult to get at, so Keith decided that it was not possible to recover the swarm and left a hive close by in the hopes that they might like to use it - but the chance of them doing so was not very high.

Browning Recon Force Advantage

This is the “trap” camera as set up in Phil’s garden