A great many old country ways are fast vanishing from the village scene, none more so than in the Cookham’s. There was a time when most village boys had learned not only at school a formal education, but how to live off the land in a great many ways. How to catch vermin like rats and rabbits was just one way of putting a copper or two in your pocket to spend at Mrs. Vales sweet shop, or the latest dinky toy from Nat Smith on the Colonnade in Maidenhead.
The first picture is of a Purse Net or Fish Net needle. Sometimes called a bobbin or shuttle and were made of a straight grained wood like Deal. Most country folk made their own and I made mine from boxwood that my father had received his tins of Corned Beef from the Argentine. I would trace out the outline of the needle on the wood and cut it out with my hand fretsaw, finishing off with a penknife and sand paper. My string was butchers string from the shop and the rings were curtain rings that were no longer in use. I found also that the wooden pin would break off, so I resorted to drilling a hole up through the center and inserting a 4” nail in its place, afterwards there were no problems.