top of page

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.

26 - Dec 16 - A Kennet Valley Christmas Message

Sent: 23 December 2016 08:41 Subject: A Kennet Valley Christmas Message

The very next person to walk up to my desk and say “Are you ready for Christmas?” is going to get a slap. It’s not like I don’t care – but as we get older we don’t all think that wandering down the road for a boozy extended lunchtime and then coming back to the office to grab someone’s backside by the photocopier if fun. Personally I think it is a waste of time and money – just get a handful before lunch while you can remember it!

Hello my Kennet Valley Woodturning chums. It’s cold and wet, and unless you have a fully centrally heated workshop, it is probably too cold to go out and make designer wood-shavings.

We approach the end of the year, the so-called season of goodwill – and the joys of a week or two of a loving family, arguments, too much food and relatives even older than us - asleep and snoring in the corner of the room while you try to watch the Christmas edition of the Great British Bake-off over a glass of warm sherry.

I may have mentioned it, I turned 60 this year. Being an official old fart – I am now beginning to enjoy the oncoming joys of my dotage. Having spent a few years at the club being “young Phil” – I am now in danger of being accepted as one you lot – an “old git”. Obviously not as old or gittish as Terry – but he has had years of practice while the government trained him up as part of the spine-chilling Dagenham Girl Pipers of whatever squadron he was in. Plus – he does it so well.

So – as I bathe in the majesty of a rising sun, the simple but honest pleasure of a bright new day and the warm glow of a red nose (mine, not Rudolph’s – I am getting over a rotten cold) We enter into another splurge of the ramblings of a demented fool. So where are we – what have we to discuss, and how do I keep (and indeed peak) your interest and keep you reading this bilge until the end? What does this occasional email hold for you this time? The contents……

1. Martin Saban-Smith – it is time – he is nearly here.

2. Upcoming AGM and what does next year hold for us.

3. Review of the Xmas Party.

4. The Bat.

5. The young fart.

OK – one at a time and with feeling…

Martin Saban-Smith

We end our “season” of demonstrators with another new turner who we have not seen before. I need to say that carefully, because I *have* seen him a lot, but mainly on the screen as he is one of the internet’s most popular wood turners, and one with a story that you could easily watch and appreciate. Someone who is articulate, intelligent, skilful and young and good looking as well as myself has been hard to find, but Martin certainly fits the bill. Despite his lack of years – Martin has other skills as well, being an accomplished artist, video editor and now also a budding entrepreneur (that is French for clever bugger). See for yourself on some of these links;

His Web site is here.

His You-tube channel is here

His Facepaint page is here

His Finishing products company is here

His workshop is here

…and his online wood-turning magazine is here

When the good lady bursts into the room and points her beady suspicious eyes at my PC to see whatever it is I am tuned into on the interweb, I know I am safe when I am watching one of Martin’s videos. (Not that I watch any other sort of course, apart from ones with fluffy kittens and similar)

Basically – Martin owns the internet. He publishes several videos each week, and yet has found time to come and see us in January. He also wears a hat – god knows why, but he does. It is a peaked cap – but at least Martin had the decency to shop around and but one with the peak at the front.

He is also younger than Les Thorne, although frankly lots of people are. Which reminds me, my good lady is still trying to get me to spend the day with Lesley on one of his courses – and every time I mention his name she goes all dreamy eyed? If she wasn’t married to me I would say she has no taste. I think he has hypnotised her.

Where was I, oh yes – the ownership of the internet forever more by Saban-Smith Enterprises Co Ltd and Partners Associated etc. How on earth does he find the time? Go back up to the You tube page and look at the Turners Journey bit – it’s a fascinating series of about 60 short videos which chart the progress of Martin’s tribulations where he turns into a professional turner, from the start – right up to date. I have been watching it for about a year – and it does get you a bit hooked….

Sorry – I forgot, normally when I tell you about the upcoming demonstrator I look them up on the internet and find….. Well, as Martin basically owns the internet is was easy this month. I found this…

I’ll be honest – the internet mostly found actual pictures of Martin, but I know which of the above I would really like to give me lessons in January. Ah well. San-Fairy-Anne Rodders.

So, Martin is brand new to us and this year. While we have seen a good balance of our favourite turners, and yes – I will admit it, Les Thorne has to be one of the best, but for goodness sake don’t tell him otherwise he will tell Gary Rance and then Gary will ring and say why didn’t we say he was our favourite and the one we really love and the whole thing will kick off! Anyhow, look at the links above, and you will get to see who Martin is, and then come along on 10th January and enjoy!!

Upcoming AGM

I was stood in the park the other day and I was wondering why a Frisbee gets larger the closer it gets. Then it hit me.

Sorry – I digress.

On 14th Feb 2017 we have our AGM. I know what you are thinking, thank you Kennet Valley Wood Turners for holding your AGM on St Valentine’s day. You are welcome. J It will certainly be cheaper than an expensive meal out – (her indoors is waiting for the invite from Les). As always we will be grateful for your support, and while it will mostly be bereft of jokes, and woodturning, it is nonetheless very important.

We will do our normal AGM type stuff and ask for the continued support of the membership, and of course the committee who continue to serve you, our members – and importantly continue to beg you all for your help. We may get lucky and get some committee members to continue to serve – or some volunteers to help them by doing one of the many jobs that we need to get done in order to thrive as a club.

We can also reveal next year’s programme. Martin is new to us un January – and we have tried to do the same with next year’s programme with a mix of demonstrators we have seen before, and some we do not know. While the newer ones can be a risk, we have been really fortunate this year and found a little gold mine of people who we will certainly look forward to seeing again. I am sure Martin will be one of those. I know who we are getting next year as I have booked them – it is looking good.

OK – I admit it, I have now run out of reasons to tell you why you have to come to the AGM. Terry has offered to come dressed as a dubious Vicar – but we will try to stop him.

Review of the Xmas Party

I thought it went well. We had good food, great company, and a little drink. The annual quiz went OK – and we got to get our partners to come out and meet other spouses who also have to put up with dust, wood-shavings and shelves full of bowls, boxes and vases. “Oh goody – another bowl, just what I was hoping for”. People have died for less. Speaking of which, I've spent the past four years looking for my first wife’s killer, but no one will do it.

Thank you.

Thank you for the committee for organising it, thank you *very* much for Mike’s good lady Laney for doing the food yet again. Thank you for turning out in such good numbers and enjoying yourselves and all of you for joining in and helping us to clear up afterwards. A good night, good company, and a damn good shout!

Did you now that a recent study has found that women who carry a little extra weight live longer than the men who mention it.

The Bat (well it used to be a bat)

Things are warming up on the bat front. Some of you will know that I am turning some pens for charity, some may also know where the raw material has come from. Marcus Trescothick, one of England’s greatest ever batsmen, has been gracious enough to give me one of his (broken) bats, which I have now reduced to small pen blanks, and have started to turn into pens. The idea is that I will auction half for MacMillan Nurses, this is after I have given half of them to Marcus to auction for his chosen charity. You can follow the progress on my Facepaint page here…. Marcus has promised to confirm the provenance of the wood, something I am also trying to do by taking lots of photographs to show the process from Bat to pen. I have orders already for nine of them at £35 to £40 each, so I hope to raise a decent amount of money for Macmillan Nurses. I am nearly ready to assemble some pens, watch this space.

The young fart

So, I have finally joined the club. Over 60 and now also a grandfather. The years of being fit and vital are starting to be a dim and distant memory as I approach the autumn of my life. I now only have one admirer (it’s my young neighbour, slightly creepy, but I think she is stalking me as she's been googling my name on her computer. I saw her doing it through my telescope last night.) I am approaching the “R” thing, retirement (I say approaching – another 5 or 6 years yet).

I will admit – I am not it good shape nowadays, I am carrying a few extra pounds. It’s not that I’m fat, I’m just... easier to see.

I haven’t gone the whole way yet, I am still working for a living. I have been feeding my pension for more years than I like to think about and judging by a letter I got from the pension company last week I can look forward to having enough money to buy a ball point pen each month. I will try not to despair, after all, the longer I work the more you rotten lot will be assured that your pension will be paid. I will look forward to not having to work for a living, although my dreams of not getting up early to go to work were quashed by Denis Winter who told me he thought the same thing, but his bladder still wakes him up at 5.00am

I thought I may make lots of new friends, but Tony Harvey told me “the supermarket checkout girls will chat to you, but only when they are not busy”

I thought I would read all those classic novels I don’t have time for, until John Austin said I would spend all my time watching Countdown, Cash in the Attic and old editions of Top Gear.

Beige, that is the warning sign. Lots of beige. An old friend of mine Colin Armitage once told me that as you get older you wear more beige. Colin retired about 10 years ago but I still hear from him from time to time. Colin does “beige check” in front of the mirror every time he goes out of the house, and unless he is wearing at least one article of clothing that is not beige he goes back in to put something else on. Colin has a full life – he told me so the other day. Apparently Thursday is exciting, the bins go out on Thursday. Well you have to have something to look forward to. Colin knows where all the nice toilets are, there are some garden centres he will never frequent, they are all graded by the quality of their facilities.

We’re lucky – we already have a hobby and can rely on our lathes to give us hours of pleasure. We need to do it, after all, what are the alternatives. Photography? – OK if we want to record the failures. Flower Arranging? Well we have to do something with all those vases… Painting? Let’s see what Martin Saban-Smith shows us.

Terry Buckle is my sage. His wise words consist of the following. “There is no escaping it, things slow down, things swell or shrink, (but never when you want them to), things ache, things hurt more, or fall off. There are two golden rules for a pensioner, never pass a functioning toilet, and never trust a fart.” Terry is a wise man. (He also added a third golden rule – never waste an erection)

My old mother on the other hand, god rest her sainted soul, had this advice. Never pin a sign saying “Kick Me” on a nurses back, she will pin a sign saying “Do not resuscitate” on yours.

She also said that if I ever hear my kids talking about “Youth in Asia” they are not talking about Japanese teenagers.

Now, where did I put that Viagra prescription? Remember everyone – follow those links to look at Martin’s web-sites and videos. Introduce yourself to him before he introduces himself to us on the 10th January – he is worth it.

Have a wonderful Xmas, don’t kill your relatives and avoid the sprouts.


And finally, Terry Buckle says you can’t lose a homing pigeon. If your homing pigeon doesn’t come back, then what you’ve lost is a pigeon.

Phil Boulter

Vice Chairman

Kennet Valley Woodturning Club

27 views0 comments


bottom of page