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I write occasional daft emails to fellow members of my woodturning club.  As we get new members, some of them are stupid enough to ask me for some of the older emails.  As time passes and the read them, they will learn never to ask again - but meanwhile I have to dig into my email archives and find old items and then send them one by one to the unlucky recipients.

You would think they would find more useful things to do with their lives than read the sad wittering's of this old fool and try to make something of their lives - but no!  Any that appear here will do so in reverse order, there are many reasons for this, but logic is the main driver.  If there is one thing I have - it is logic.  Not much else to be fair - but I do have logic.

I have only recently worked out how to put the pictures in, so many are still missing.  I will continue to work on it.

58 - KVWT April Showers

I really must sort out my Tupperware cupboard.

That is pretty much what I am reduced to – matters of great moment and individual importance now revolve partly around me not being able to find Tupperware. Every time I open the door it all comes tumbling out. Perhaps I need a bigger kitchen? A bit extreme perhaps – although that’s exactly what I did when I bought an American side-by-side fridge – it would not fit – so I put up a huge extension and had a kitchen designed around the fridge. On reflection, perhaps this time I will lose some Tupperware….

How are you playmates. I hope you are well. I will try to make this email normal instead of full of sad news, we deserve a cheerful one I guess.

The menu today…..

  • Don’t forget the Saturday workshop

  • Les Thorne will be in the building

  • Friday 3rd May – Derrick Moate’s farewell

  • July is cancelled

  • June is bigger (and she’s a lovely lass)

  • Rats bloody rats

  • Easter and Washing the bike – what’s a person to do

Don’t forget the Saturday workshop

A bit late for a warning – but it is this Saturday, 27th April.

The day after tomorrow.

Blooming heck – where did April go?

All that sunshine made us forget where we are.

Hopefully we will get a few people in as the weather is not brilliant this weekend, unlike last week.

Remember we are doing jewellery and bangles and such.

I say we – my little lathe is buggered (technical phrase) so unless the electrics get sorted it is going to the big workshop in the sky. It has done well, but I guess enough is enough for a small hobby lathe. At least everything else is serviced and checked – and hopefully will all work as intended.

We will open up at 10.00am and run through until about 12.45 so we can be out by 1pm. If you have tools to be sharpened by our resident expert – feel free to bring some along and be educated.

I think it is soon to be time to do another tool sharpening “system” Saturday workshop so you can all see and try the different methods we use.

I am lucky enough to have two, a Tormek I recently liberated from Harvey G. and a Wolverine system I have had for years.

If you turn with blunt tools it is hard work and not at all enjoyable. If you have sharp tools it is safer as well as more enjoyable. Derek Prout will be happy to show you how to do it – and all you need is you and your tools.

The cups – remember the cups. We are trialling a few months of people being able to bring their own cups of mugs – (no bone china Terry please) – this saves us a few bob, but also helps is to reduce the need to throw away anything from 30 to 60 paper cups every time we meet. Turn up with your cups, and as previously promised – we will fill it with Tea of Coffee free of charge (instead of charging you nothing). While on the subject – let me know if you want a KVWT china mug. I am trying to get them priced up – I suspect they will come out at about £6 each – but I will not get any ordered if there is no interest. We do still have plenty of paper cups – so don’t panic.

See you on Saturday then!!

Les Thorne will be in the building

It is time. If I could put a roll of drums into an email I would. Les Thorne is with us on Tuesday 14th May. Now I know we have some new members – and not everyone will have seen Les Thorne before. (n.b. His photo is shown in most police stations and often featured on Crimewatch)

I won’t pull any punches here – Les is singularly the best demonstrator in the circuit, bar-none. I know this to be true because he has confirmed it himself. Les has a style that a lot of demonstrators aspire to, he is relaxed, very skilful, and if you ever see him turning a thin-walled vessel you will get to a point where it is paper thin and you wonder how much thinner it can go (see note about sharp tools!).

His much younger step brother from a previous stormy family relationship (Gary Rance) is of a similar ilk. (Editors note - An “ilk” is a three legged bovine animal found only in the far north of Wales - only they spell it “illllllk”)

Les is a production turner – as well as a demonstrator – he takes commission work, is a member of the Register or Professional Tuners. Les is now also in the Worshipful Company of Turners (the Masters of the Turners Company was founded in 1783 shortly after Les was born) so please remember to bow and tug your forelock when you see him. Les is a very good teacher from beginners right up to doing master classes with much better turners.

Rather annoyingly Les is pretty good at most things he tries. He is a DVD star, a keen Anglist and catches a lot of fish (and crabs once) as well as a golfist. His music tastes are awful and sadly he supports Derby County – so clearly he doesn’t like football.

As usual I looked him up on the interweb. The first one is Les and Gary Rance in their apprentice days, then Les’s goldfish, then wet wood turning, Les with some of his tools, and finally his emergency chisels (all tax deductible I believe).

If you want to see him in action – (well if you want to see him in action come along on 14th May for goodness sake) – but also, as we did fruit the other day there is a link below to Les turning an apple…

We will have a lot of good turners this year at Kennet Valley – and if you want to see the very best….

Sorry I forgot where I was going with this?

If you only come to one demo – make it this one.

Friday 3rd May – Derrick Moate’s farewell

If we have a competition where we ask members to make a clock – we expect to see something like one of these - a turned piece of wood with a clock insert which you can purchase from most woodturning stockists. This was not good enough for Derek, he wanted to do something with a little more imagination, and a difficulty level of about 11 out of 10.

Derek Moate made this clock, and it worked (all of it – every piece);

I remember still that he turned up at the club, mounted it quite high and then attached a pendulum. The clock ran for the duration of the meeting. It is fair to say that it did not keep perfect time - but frankly who cares!!

Perhaps you should also consider a pocket watch and wristwatch and strap he turned.

You need to know that the chain with individual links was carved from a single piece of wood. Just think about that for a few minutes. Then - consider the strap on the wristwatch, this was also produced on a lath, and it was just over 20 inches long.

Derrick peacefully took his final breath in this world of ours on Tuesday 8th April, a very sad loss to us of course – but more so to his family and naturally to Joan his wife of 60 years. Derrick will be cremated on Friday April 3rd at Basingstoke Crematorium at 11.45. I am grateful that I will be able to pay my respects to the dear gentle skilled and spirited soul that was Derrick Moate. Derrick coached and helped many people at the club. Joan would welcome attendance by any of us that could make it to pay their respects. I know a lot of you never got the chance to see Derrick in person when he was a member – but those that did may want to attend and share happy memories. There will not be a wake afterwards – Derrick did not like them and did not want one.

Address will be Basingstoke Crem, Manor Farm, Stockbridge Rd, Basingstoke RG25 2BA (It is on the road running alongside the M3 that leads to Popham airfield)

July is cancelled

Sorry about this but our normal July Saturday workshop will not be happening this year as there is an event in the hall for the whole of Friday afternoon until very late on Sunday evening. So – to confirm – Saturday 27th July will not be happening. We were consulted about this and it has been agreed by the committee. July is normally a quiet month in any case because of holidays, so perhaps not a massive loss, but also see the note below.

June is bigger (and she’s a lovely lass)

We have decided to have a full day in June – a summer event if you will. This is partly offsetting the lack of a July workshop – but also a chance for all of us to get together and spend a whole day together instead of just a Saturday morning. So Saturday 22nd June will run all day – and arrangements for the day – while still being discussed – will be liable to include a barbeque and other events to be advised. A social gathering as well as a fun one. (n.b. at the time this post was originally written this was the case - but it is now only a normal half day workshop)

Rats bloody rats

There was a smell in the house – (yes I know – so get your jokes out of the way now!!!) So I had this dead animal, well I didn't know it was a dead animal - but there was a smell in the dining room.

I searched for and discounted any of my unclean socks, also any uneaten portions of my gourmet food. The odour was persistent - apparently it was even there when I was not in the house - so effectively I was in the clear.

After many days of having to put up with this I was encouraged to call the pest control chappie by the M'sahib and being an obedient soul I phoned them to request their attendance and sage advice.

Pest UK were prompt - I will give them that, and as soon as he walked in the door "Dead Rat" he opined. (bear in mind, as a tradesperson he hadn't even asked for a cup of tea, milk and two - I was impressed).

We ventured into earnest discussion about the why's and wherefores' of removing said odour - and after mutually agreeing that having all the downstairs carpets and floorboards up - patience was the preferred and agreed option. It will take up to three or even four weeks to go he said, once the carcass becomes desiccated (I thought that meant it would turn into a coconut) it would stop humming, but until then the main order of business was disguising the smell and making sure no further rodents were in residence.

The chap, I called him Steven (because that was his name) set about looking for holes and duly found the orifice behind the big lathe in the garage. He set traps and distributed poison. This was repeated in the loft (where there was no evidence of ingress, however it was a fixed cost service and as Steven said - best safe than sorry). He also gave me a dry bag of absorbent "stuff" that soaks up odours and leaves a fresh smell, except that he said it normally doesn't so he would not charge me for it. Decent chap - especially because he was proven correct.

His next suggestion, should the inevitable happen, was to purchase some Joss Sticks. I don't know about you - but I thought you had to own a kaftan coat, loon pants and smoke some funny woodbines in order to know where to buy Joss Sticks. So, the interweb to the rescue. Upon searching I found that John Lewis sell them, albeit they have renamed the to "Incense Sticks". Who knew?

Off to town then and into John Lewis. I wandered a while, and tried to spot the mysterious items - but had no luck. Unusually for me - I decided to seek advice and ask for help. I spotted a Mrs Slocombe-type rather statuesque lady who looked formidable, but knowledgeable and decided that with the rather obvious decades of experience behind her - she would assist me on my quest.

"Good Morning Sir" - she effortlessly salivated as I drew ever nearer "How can we help?"

We? There was only her?

"I am after incest" I said

There followed and awkward silence and something of a transformation in her countenance, "who do I see?" I followed up buoyantly.

"Beg pardon sir?" came the stumbled rejoinder.

"sticks" - I said "Incest sticks - you light them and it emits soothing odours." - I was trying to be helpful, and at the same time running my own self recording back through my head in an effort to see what I had done wrong.


I saw it.

"Ah - sorry, mis-pronouned " I said – “obviously I meant Incense sticks - used to be called Joss Sticks."

At the mention of the word Joss Sticks her gaze immediately went to my feet for some reason? Perhaps she thought I was fresh off of the old Greenham Common camp site. "It says on your Web site that you sell it?" I was trying to be helpful…

"You can get a lot of dubious things from the internet" she said - the sound coming back rather strained and suspicious and definitely down her now elevated nose. I decided that I was not going to win this one - and despite the dubious pleasure I would get by purchasing Joss Sticks in a John Lewis bag - I made my excuses and left.

Where do hippies go? I know - Holland and Barret. Sorry that's about as hippie as I get. Upon entering, a rather trendy long haired blonde with skin tight jeans and a very low cut purple top came bounding up to me "Hey Man!" he said. "Like - what's happening man?"

I felt out of my depth. "Any joss Sticks?" I said hopefully.

I was led meanderingly to the joss-stick ‘department’ and was instantly confused by every known (and unknown) smell, including frankincense, musk, wild flower, sea breeze, pinewood, cedar wood, lotus, it went on. I mused and tried to decide - but quickly chose cedarwood and made my escape when the guy offered to measure my inside leg.

A bit keen I thought.

It worked, I can't smell the dead rat any more. I also can't see across the dining room for smoke - but we must accept small victories.

I now have 12 boxes of the buggers - I bought them from Amazon yesterday - I am not going back to that shop again! :-)

Easter Eggs, 1000 bikes and washing the bike – what’s a person to do.

Fragrance seemed to be my thing this week. The bike needed a spring clean in time for the Easter Egg Run on good Friday. This went very well by the way – we buggered up Reading and Cemetery Junction with 1,000 bikes – collected 6988 Easter Eggs for under-privileged kids and had great fun afterwards, see facebook for details.

Where was I?

Ah yes – the bike needed to be clean for the event as the day before we were going to a children’s project to show them the bikes and let them climb all over them.

I wheeled it out of the garage and on to the driveway and tugged out the hosepipe. I bimbled back in to get the Turtle Wax car wash only to find previously mention rat had chewed through a 5 litre bottle and probably drunk it.

Bugger. (He didn’t smell clean?)

Now what?

I know I can’t use Fairy Liquid, hands that do dishes can be soft as you face – but it does mess up paintwork.

Dishwasher tablets would probably scratch if I rubbed them in, so something soapy. I did think perhaps my shower gel - but that cost me good money!!

I looked for an alternative. What to use – I need bubbles – something gentle.

Something carefully put together. Now - I don't want you to judge me -..

A subsequent bucket of warm water was liberally treated with someone else's “Calvin Klein Deep Euphoria Crushed Citrus, Mandarin and Rosemary Lavender body wash with a zingy, minty scent”.

Worked a treat - the bike smelled lovely and the seat is as soft as a baby's backside.

Everyone's a winner


See you Saturday morning.

Phil Boulter

07836 274345

01635 826009

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