January 30, 2023

Welcome to Tony Woods

Tony Woods

Since receiving a Kodak Box Brownie camera in the 1950s I have always been interested in taking photographs – even 3D ones – so it was ‘par for the course’ to be taking snaps when on our first holiday in North Cyprus in 1994. Not many were taken in those days as one had the cost of film, developing and presentation to consider.

I sent one photo from the following set to the Editor just to whet his appetite and he has asked for the story behind it.

As we were never the type of holidaymakers to ignore finding out about the country that we were staying in one day found us driving along the Güzelyurt to Lefke road when we saw smoke at the side of us. Being of inquisitive natures we reversed the car and found a group of Charcoal Burners hard at work in what was a scenic shot too interesting to miss taking. I am so pleased that I have these shots as since moving here the law was changed so that it now prohibits the making of charcoal on the island as there is little available wood.

The island has always needed masses of lump charcoal to feed its traditional summer barbeques using a process that consisted of piling wood on its end so as to form a conical pile with openings being left at the bottom to admit air and a central shaft to serve as a flue. The whole pile was covered with turf or moistened clay that had to be watched so as to keep extra air out which would result in a fire and no charcoal. Firing started at the bottom of the flue and gradually spread outward and upward. The success of the operation depended on the rate of combustion. I read that: ‘under average conditions, 100 parts of wood yielded about 60 parts by volume (or 25 parts by weight) of charcoal’ New World Encyclopaedia. Unfortunately this process results in deforestation which is why, in the UK, the production of charcoal is carried out using metal retorts in coppiced parts of forests that are regenerating.

With thanks to Tony and we shall see more from him soon!

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