Thanks all -
my father's a genius with wood. He's made gypsy caravans - with wheel trims, little pots and even tiny chains in copper and leather harnes; viking longships; an American civil war cannon; mini wheelbarrow fruitbowls - they were really neat but didn't hold enough fruit!
a full-size victorian style rocking horse again with the leather and copper/brass harness; American Bison, Giraffes, several Elephants - I have a set of a family of 8 he made for us (again on commission), the largest of which is just 3 inches high on a river bank, all in polished natural wood which is my favourite thing really so far as the craftsmanship goes, as they are wonderfully detailed.
He was a signwriter/maker which is partly how I got into doing graphic design, but what he really
wanted to do was cabinetmaking as a career only he couldn't get an apprenticeship for that at the Dockyards in Plymouth. Only 1 of us daughters had the sense to find a guy as clever as Dad - Ian works as a cabinet/outfitter for a posh luxury shipbuilders in Plymouth - but he's a typical artisan and getting him to do domestic stuff for home is like asking for the moon and takes about 10 times longer to do it than a mission to Mars lasts! So really my Mum's the truly lucky one