Monday 16 February 2015

I Know it’s only Swindon Show but I like it!

With the support band having finally left the stage it will soon be time for UK Bonsai’s Headline Act to open the 2015 season with a “bang”. Paul and his Motley Crew of helpers do a fantastic job year on year and it looks like this year’s edition will be no Accept-tion! I will again be travelling down on our Iron Horse with Stone (Deaf Forever) Monkey along with all the other Twisted Sisters and Bönsai-heads looking for their annual fix of trees, pots and sausage rolls! 

Andy and I always enjoy this Show (along with many, many others) and although seen by some as “only” a Club Show it’s fast become the season opener as the Heathrow Show is now seen as the season closer in the UK. The finest of traders will again be plying their wares, some with feet still bleeding after the run back from Noelanders, and I’m sure that there will be something for everyone’s taste and pocket book. From pots to trees, tables to scrolls, stones to books you’ll find everything that you ever want (but were too afraid to ask) all under one roof. 

However, there is one draw back, I’ve been lucky enough to have be allowed some table space with the Award Winning Stone Monkey Ceramics* although I have been told by the organisers that I might have to sit on the naughty step if I’m not a good boy. Either way, you won’t miss me as I’ll be the chap in the kinky boots and the worst dress sense this side of the 70’s – Party on dude! 

(*Has anyone mentioned this?)

Thursday 12 February 2015

Everythang’s Groovy Baby!

Star date 240120.15 

Buoyed after the taming of “The Walrus” confidence amongst the crew was very high so with the addition of Ensign Royal we set off on another mission to rid the Bonsai Universe of “sticks in pots”. Our next alien encounter was not an alien at all but another native from this part of the galaxy. This tree had been in training since my early Academy days and was heading down a very Japanese route which was pleasing but something just didn’t seem right.

Something just wasn't working for me with this tree
Whilst various discussions ensued there was a tragic phaser accident. Simon, with his branch cutters set to “stun” – or so he thought, let rip with 2 bursts and the creature immediately had limbs drop to the ground! While the others ran for the nearest polystyrene boulder the shocked rookie examined the devastation and was heard to say “it was getting a bit leggy anyway”! Obviously shocked by what had just happened Ensign Royal asked for an immediate transfer and left the remaining away team to try and save the mission. With the crew depleted by a third a steady hand and sharp mind was needed but as we had neither it was left to the Wiley Will to rescue the tree. As retribution for his hideous actions Simon was left with the delicate task of wiring the apex of the tree to form a new crown, all under the watchful eye of his Sensei. With some light pruning and some minor branch placement the tree came back to life but there is some “pruning homework” to do on the branches before or at re-potting time but this tree is now also on the right path – owner permitting! 

Still some way to go but on to better things!

With the dilithium crystals replenished and the trees safely packed in the cargo bay it was time to break orbit and head for Starbase 1 for much needed maintenance. For those of you who may be passing this quadrant of the universe, Will is an excellent, patient teacher* and although facially looks like a bit of a “Tribble” these days, an all-round good egg. If you haven’t been there go, and if you have, go again as you never know what you might come home with from hydroponics! (*he must be he put up with me) 

For anyone wondering why with all the Star Trek references it’s in part homage to a band that Will and I enjoy “Gaye Bykers on Acid” and partly because I’m a fruitcake! 

Monday 2 February 2015

Ahead Warp Factor 9 - My Weekend with Will

Suffolk: The final frontier 

This is the voyage of the Space Cadet, SUTEKI

His 5 minute mission To explore strange new trees 

To seek out new artists and new civilizations 

To boldly go where no man has gone before!


There was a mixture of excitement and trepidation when I boarded the SS Zafira and warped my way to the uncharted star system of Suffolk 1, a distant and rarely explored area of the Bonsai Galaxy. Although Ipswich is classed as a type M City, the technology was such that we had to use a space dock rather than the usual transporters. The landing party was greeted with a terrible rain storm (fairly standard I understand for the outer reaches of the planet) but warmth and sustenance were soon supplied to this intrepid traveller although if you want pizza, order it a week in advance! 

Will and I met at the Academy, Will majoring in “hand-to-hand combat” with a Makita, and I was still in my early years of training trying to master the arts of drinking, talking shite and not falling down! We soon become close friends, not in a “gay” sort of way, and have long debated into the night about “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” in the Bonsai World (but that’s another story). We kept in contact and met at the odd convention (and some were VERY odd!) but I received an interesting sub-space transmission on star date 011020.14 with news of a very interesting upcoming mission. Due to ripples in the space-time continuum it was only now that I had the resources to tackle this overdue challenge. 

“Will’s Walrus” is a tree known by a few, and despised by many, which has been a tree of my dreams and nightmares. Brought for me as a joke at a Club auction by a friend as a Shohin, Will has battled this demon twice before whilst I tried to tame it with scissors. As can be seen from the following transmitted images growth is somewhat rampant but tameable with the correct training. As I struggle with deciduous trees (as well as Evergreens) I decided that I desperately needed help from Ambassador Baddeley “one more time”. 

Feeling as nervous as a fresh Starfleet Security guard in his nice red top knowing he’s gunna get it before the end of the day from a big green blob, or even worse the local inhabitants, we talked about the way forward. Will, in his soft Vulcan tones, explain the basics and importance of branch selection and pruning that even a rookie like me could understand. Due to years of neglect there was plenty of trimming to do (almost enough for a new Hobbit home) and wiring the entire tree. Whilst Will replicated our rations I went at the task of wiring full of vigour (well, for at least the first half an hour anyway) and upon his return Will started cleaning the deadwood on the front of the tree. We made quite a team with his “whiz, whizzing” and my “puffing and blowing” but finally, under the watchful gaze of Will’s pet “Prant”* the hard work was done. Far from being set “straight” on to the path of inner enlightenment it was time to experience the twisted inner magic of the “Baddeley Branch Meld” making meticulous branches the like that Tim Burton would be more than proud of – the results, as you can see are spectacular! 

The starting point

During the "Branch Meld"
Happy "Vulcan"
"Tim Burton-esk", a moody finished picture

Now, with the natural light fading fast, there was just time to examine the interesting “creatures” that reside in Will’s hydroponics area before more refreshment and another adventure before the day was through.

(*A cross between Predator & an Ant)

...................... to be continued!

Tuesday 11 March 2014

About Bloody Time!

It's with great pleasure that I can announce that my best bud Andy, the Colossus in Ceramics, made a winning return to Bonsai ceramics supplying the pot for the BSA@s "Best Tree and Pot Combo" Award. As many "tried" to point out at the weekend the tree wasn't a Bonsai (sorry, wrong!) it must have been the pot that swung it! 

Congrats mate and here's to some more of the same.
(Well done to Les too!)

Maaame, my Mame!

Maame, my Mame! Last weekend was, so far, probably the proudest moment in my Bonsai journey as I finally ticked one off of the “Bucket List” and won my first ever BSA Award. It came as a real surprise that I scooped any Awards at the UK’s premier Shohin Show let alone 2! As ever the Show was well attended with the quality of the trees getting better and better year on year so to come home with a “gong” is very humbling. To do it in front of “teacher” and many of my far flung Bonsai Chums was the icing on the cake it’s just a shame a mentor Andy “Stone Monkey” couldn’t be there to join in the party. 

Firstly Best Tree Progression 

Best Mame Display 


Competition in both categories was hotly contested and I think that it was a close cut thing between Bill, Fiona and myself for the Mame award and it was great for British Bonsai as both trees in the composition were UK natives – Will Baddeley and the EBF will be proud! So where do I go from here? Well, my Shohin pencil needs sharpening if I want to take them to the next level but I’ll (hopefully) have another couple of years to hone this display as well as improve my Mames.

Wednesday 26 February 2014

Swindon Winter Image 2014

Sunday saw my first Bonsai “Play Day” of the year and what a great affair it was. Due to my fellow Shitenian Les being on the physios table* I travelled down with the new MBS Chairman Jose aka Sam. We had a great journey down (mainly as I’d band his Sat-Nav) and he told me about his hopes and expectations for the future of the Club and himself.  Totally honest in his best "Spainglish" his humour and passion are addictive.  Seems like the folks at Maidstone have a great guy in charge, unlike the last one! 
2 hours, and no detours, later we arrived and instantly bumped into some Maidstone Club members as well as many of my Bonsai Buds and easily slipped into Bonsai Mode. I don’t really see much point in hosting any pictures of the Show ‘cos (a) I didn’t take a camera and (b) there are plenty of really good ones out there already. For a direct link check out Uncle Fester’s Blog site (aka Dangerous Bry Blog) who has taken some cracking photos and is also an all-round good egg – sorry mate, couldn’t resist! Sam and I both had a plan re purchases and I think that we both kept to budget. I must share this little beauty with you though. I brought this pot from my great chum Dave Sampson and although it is damaged it is a little gem made by Youho (I understand that they also make glue!). 

If this pot had been “mint” I could never have afforded it in a month of Sundays but Dave did me a truly huge favour as it is exactly the size I needed but he still managed to keep it within budget – cheer bud! 

So there you have it, first jolly of the year and one to be remembered. My thanks must go to Paul and all the organisers of this first class Show – you did it again guys!

Finally I must say how WONDERFUL it was to see Big Steve and Dougie Mudd after their recent traumas. Two of the nicer guys and stalwarts of the British UK scene if ever there were, and it was good to see you guys looking so well. Tough breed this Bonsai lot! 

*Get well soon mate, we’ve got Willowbog soon!

Tuesday 25 February 2014

Normal Service will be Resumed

Due to incidents (and idiots) beyond my control SUTEKI Accents pot production and web presence had to be suspended. Now with brighter times on the horizon and a new workshop coming on line soon I will be re-launching the website and working full steam ahead for my 1st ever display (hopefully) at the Magical Bonsai Accents Show in July.

So full steam ahead, there is light at the end of the tunnel!