I commenced my working life at fifteen as an apprentice watchmaker, which disappointed my father somewhat as he was a burly woodsman who anticipated my joining him and considered watchmaking was a job for 'pansies'! Eventually, three situations led me into trugmaking:- Firstly, some bright spark invented the digital watch forcing many watchmakers to reconsider their future and eventually one could buy 10 digital watches for the price of a service to a mechanical watch and to be truthful, they were infinitely better timekeepers! Secondly, my Father died when I was 17 and as my mother died four years earlier, I entered the world of bedsit-land on an impossible apprentices wage of £4 10shillings (not an hour - per week!!) and listening to Leonard Cohen (music to cut your wrists by!!). Thirdly, as I felt an underlying obligation that I should be working in wood as my father had wished, so to cut the proverbial long story short, I became a trainee trugmaker and learned the trade.
Eventually, the trug business closed due to the owner retiring so I then took up carpentry and spent numerous years building Log Cabins all over the UK (Dad would have been proud of me!). Whilst this was very rewarding, enabling me to see the most beautiful parts of this country (and others) I was travelling an average of 2,000 miles per week before being on site for 45+ hours per week, or if the site was in excess of 2½ driving hours, we would stay in accomodation.
During these periods away from home, I spent many evening hours in B&B's & Hotels. I used much of this time making notes to be converted into a manuscript back at home for a book, later to be entitled 'How To Solve Cryptic Crosswords'. A publisher (Eliot Right Way) I approached liked it, published it, and has since sold over a million copies. Sadly, if you google Kevin Skinner, you either get an American Folk Singer or myself coming up as an author not a trugmaker! But still available in book shops and Amazon.
While working in Inverness, during breakfast in a hotel, a resident came in with her daughter who was so like one of my daughters, Stevie. I missed Stevie and Lori so much that I decided there and then that I could not continue all this time away from them. With the then recent advent of the internet and my hobby designing websites, this opened up the ability to sell trugs to the nation rather than just locals, as it was years earlier when I was making them. I found a workshop in my hometown of Hailsham, and returned to what I enjoyed most, trug making, and saw my family daily. So that's what did - and here I am. I look forward to Monday mornings and the day, going to work and doing what I love. The icing on the cake is all the lovely feedbacks we receive, far too many to include in the feedback page here but every one is valued and appreciated, thankyou all.
I am frequently asked by customers "why are your trugs much cheaper than others"? Easy! I enjoy working hard, employ no-one which avoids teaching them my trade only for them to leave and set up a rival business. I refuse to supply the trade who want a 50% discount and pay their bill when Haley's comet reappears, so I don't have to inflate prices to allow for that. I go to work when I wake and go home when I'm tired. If it's a lovely day I can just shut the workshop and sit on my decking at home. After work, a pint up the pub with Jaqui (providing she's talking to me). Finally, I believe those that sell at higher prices sell less numbers; I'd rather be busy, that's what I like. So there we are and here I am - Thankyou for reading.