I recently suffered a severe illness resulting in some six weeks in hospital unable to move or see. After this my recovery was very slow as muscle wastage had been severe with my weight going down by around 3 stone. Overall I lost around 4 months income so had to get back to work as soon as possible but I could only stand for a few minutes and was still walking with a stick.

I lowered one of my Fox Mini lathes and raised a computer operator’s chair then found that if I sat to the left of the machine so that tool handles could come by my right side then I could work. It took a lot of getting used to but I really had no choice. In this way I restocked my Craft Fair pitch with the small items that were currently the dominant part of our sales and with a struggle and a lot of help got going again.

At a Craft fair some time later a woman pensioner in a wheelchair took a great interest in what I was doing but by then I was back on my feet. She had a muscle wasting disease and severe arthritis but I told her that strength was not an issue and told her of my recent troubles. She then wanted lessons but of course I only agreed to try! We succeeded, she is doing well and has bought a machine and tools. She lives in sheltered accommodation but has a spare bedroom which is now her workshop. She sits on a perching stool in the same position I found and the weakness in her fingers means she does not suffer the problems many of my beginners do where nervousness causes such an over-grip that all control and sensitivity is lost.