Glen and Sarah Mac Robert Smith are carving out a new future in the scenic village of Croxton Kerrial.
The couple have launched Wonders on Wood, a comnpany that sells their carvings and other creations.
Glen, Sarah and their two young children arrived in the village from Zimbabwe three years ago.
They were the last ones in their families to leave the troubled country as the “situation was getting ridiculous.”
Glen said: “We had our share of horrible things. An armed robbery at our suburban home in the capital Harare was the icing on the cake.”
Glen used to make gates and picnic benches, which led him to make smaller items in the small workshop he has in their village house.
He explained: “It’s a hobby that’s grown into a business. I like being creative, making things and dooing stuff. I’m also a course designer for show jumping events.”
Wife Sarah finishes off Glen’s creations by painting them.
As might be expected, many of the carvings have an African theme, so they may be hippos, giraffes, elephants and other animals.
Croxton Kerrial also has an influence, with the couple noting the village has many dog-lovers.
In trying to devise something different, it led Glen to come up with doggy-style lamps.
He explained: “You see the dogs with these vets hats on to stop them biting. It’s not such an odd sight. the first one I made used a bucket. Every time I make something, I try to think of something different. The dogs can sit down, cock their legs up, everything but make a puddle.”
The couple have just launched their Wonders of Wood facebook page and already report sales from as far afield as Harrogate and West Sussex.
Glen said: “It works, people read and see what we do and go ‘wow.’”
Glen still has his show jumping course design business, something which saw him fly back to Zimbabwe this week for a major event. Sarah also works for A Dog’s Life Doggy Daycare, run by their friends Leisa and Liam Lister, who also live in Croxton Kerrial.
Eventually though, the couple hope to have a shop somewhere, possibly with a tearoom.
Either way, they are loving life in Croxton Kerrial, not finding it ‘too crowded’ like West Sussex, where they have family. The couple also cite other things about British life which we may all take for granted like a functioning democracy, the NHS, and personal protection, where “kids can walk to school.”