In the summer of 1995, an international environmental work camp was held outside Eggenfelden in Bavaria. I was the only British person there, with other volunteers from the US, Canada, France, Germany, Slovenia, Poland, Czech republic and Lithuania.
We worked with the LBV (Landesbund für Vogelschutz), a local environmental group, to transform a disused electricity substation into a wildlife sanctuary with spaces for birds and bats to roost. It was a great time, camping in the adjoining field and cooking for each other.
Woodcarving had interested me more and more over the previous year but I'd only produced work using found timber with my Opinel knife up until that point. As the construction project drew towards a close, I asked if it would be okay to carve a date plaque for the building. With a piece of softwood (probably larch), a gouge and two carpenter's chisels donated by the neighbour, the date plaque took shape. I painted it and then fixed it onto the tower.
With the help of Emmanuelle, a French volunteer, the two metal doors on the structure were also brightly painted.
So last week, with mounting excitement, I sat in a car travelling along a dusty farm track towards the same spot. The satellite view on Google maps had told me that the building was still there, but were the panel and paintings?
As the car pulled up next to the tower, I pretty much threw myself out and ran round to the other side. There it was, aged but with the colours still visible and the whole panel looking in much better shape than I'd feared!