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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.

29 - June 2017 KVWT Bakers Dozen

Sent: 06 June 2017 08:25 Subject: EXT || KVWT Bakers dozen

Back again – albeit briefly.

This is a bit of a rush, things at work and at home are extremely busy and upside down and there is no time to erupt with by normal textual nonsense. I have been away again – I’ll let you be the judge as you read it. Meanwhile however there is KVWT business to be discussed.

1. Mark Baker – back at last – and did he miss us?

2. Summer shows coming up and looking good

3. Saturday workshops

4. KVWT on the interweb – disaster looms

5. Competition time

6. Club Subscriptions

7. Did I tell you my deja-vous joke?

OK – lets get on with it, and hurry up for good ness sake, the India Pakistan game has a rain break so I don’t have long. I know I should be in the workshop making something – but something had to give. The boss is out, and if I am indoors when she gets home I will be able to switch the hoover on as soon as she pulls into the driveway and she won’t have a clue. Watching cricket while holding a hoover in your left hand may look odd, but it is necessary. Which reminds me – what was the name of that bloke who invented the Dyson hoover?

He’s back – Mark Baker Tuesday 13th June

Like old Arnie himself – he is back. Perhaps not as many muscles but back nontheless. Mark Baker – editor and mouthpiece for the best wood-turning magazine called Woodturning that there is. Obviously his editing work does not stretch to the online side of things as this little clip shows. Can you spot it?

Heads will roll…

Perhaps we should ask Dave Springiest back to KVWT? (I am going to check this for smelling mistakes twice!!)

Personally I always look forward to Mark Baker’s visits. It can be difficult to get a professional woodturner with a sense of humour, a flawless presentation, a faultless technique and a magnetic personality. (Insert Les Thorne joke here). Mark has all of these in abundance, he does, really, no he does (if that doesn’t get us a discount nothing will!). As usual I looked up our venerated demonstrator on the interworld and found these pictures of him. I am not entirely sure which one is Mark, but I am not sure he is the one running for sheriff (more likeley to be running away from one perhaps). I am really looking forward to seeing Mark Next week, apparently Gary Rance has written him a new script. All I will say is that we have invited Mark to KVWT many times – and we only get demonstrators back a second time if they are good, I tihnk Mark is now on his fifth or sixth visit. That alone should make you determined not to miss it

Summer show coming up

I was wondering the other day whether my wife is satisfied with my body. A tiny part of me says no….

We have a new summer show this time people. After many years of attending the Aldermaston and Wasing show – we are now nailing our colours to the mast that is the Swallowfield Show on 27th – 28th August. (August Bank holiday weekend)

So instead of doing a lot of hard work for a few hours exposure in the afternoon we are going all out for two days at the Swallofield show. Their Website shows all the details, and we are pretty sure we are going be benefit with a greatly increased foot-fall, a bigger opportunity to sell some of our wares, and a lot more to see and do. Fingers crossed.

As the event will take 2 days we will need some willing volunteers to help out. Contact any committee member if you are able to help.

Saturday workshops

We still struggle to come up with entertaining Saturday workshops. While we would like to it be something everyone will find interesting, and also try to make it tie in with up-coming competitions, as should bear in mind that we also try to cover topics that will benefit beginners in particular because they can get good advice and encouragement ( or just come to my lathe for abuse).

This month we are looking at some basic spindle turning techniques. I can feel some skew work coming on! Competition s coming up will benefit from spindle turning, so it may well help you. Short of that – you can always just come along to avoid shopping – it works for me.

If you have any good ideas for up coming Saturday workshops then please feel free to make suggestions. It will save that awkward moment in committee meetings when Malcolm says “what is the topic for the next Saturday workshop” at which point we all look at the floor, the ceiling, out of the window and then the agenda – our phones than back to the floor again as we try to think of something original, worthwhile and easy to organise.

I was wondering the other day whether my wife is satisfied with my body. A tiny part of me says no….

KVWT on the interweb – disaster looms

We are hosted (I say we – our website, our WWW presence – our very electronic well being – our portal to the world of webness) – hosted in America. We have to renew the webnicity every couple of years – but in trying to do it recently Denis Winter found they had gone out of business. I like to think it is not because we have not paid our bi-annual £6 fee. The very thought that our £6 (that is about $7,500 I think) is worrying. The thought that their ex-employees are now forced to endure Obama-care is an awful through. Lets’ hope out £6 was not the last straw and they Denis Winter (for it is his fault) does not have to continue into his dotage (not far to go now) with thsat hanging over his head.

So what does it mean to us I hear you cry? “What does it mean to us Phil?” (Well done) Nothing really apart from we have to find another company who is willing to let Denis free on their portal to update our website with news and pictures and updates to the site. That’s why it has not changed recently. Lets hope Denis manages to find another company he can bring to its knees.

Competition time

Something with a hole in it. Calm down Terry – it is not part of your body after you have been playing with sharp objects again. Something with a hole in it? Preferably not like this one - which is an entry to the Funnel Club

Use your imagination – have fun and try to be original.


There are a couple of stragglers on the subscription front. If you are being a bit tardy – cough up and help us to fill the coffers. Enough said I think.

Perhaps I should not go away again?

Perhaps I should not go away, it seems to kick off a strange set of circumstances that only serve to illustrate that I am approaching the time when care in the community is not so far away.

I have a customer in Ipswich – not exactly Timbuktu is it? Nor is it in the barren and torrid wastelands of Yorkshire, a place where madness lies. No – it’s in Suffolk, land of just 2 surnames, turnips, sugar-beet a distinct lack of hills and people greeting each other with a high-six. Worryingly it borders Essex (I don’t look good in lipstick).

On reflection I was safe in the office – Tuesday morning after an exciting weekend of cricket, more cricket, the Saturday woodturning workshop and a dirty driveway (more of this another day perhaps).

I digress.

I had a meeting with a customer in a brand new Audi Dealership in Ipswich. I know what you’re thinking, I am being stupid – selling an Audi in Ipswich? This is Suffolk, a Land Rover perhaps, possibly a tractor. Believe me it is real, new, full of very expensive cars, and not a Massey Ferguson to be seen. Think about it for a minute – have you seen many poor farmers?

I digress again.

The meeting is 9.30am and I need to traverse the M4, M25, A12 and local traffic disasters (plus the2 day Suffolk show is on, situated half a mile from the dealership). The chances of me leaving Newbury early in the morning in time to navigate all of this in time for a welcome coffee at 9.15am (it’s polite to be a few minutes early) are twofold, one of those chances is best described as fa, the other – slim.

No, a man of my culture, class, dignity, poise and obvious position in life stays in a luxurious hotel/spa the night before with hot and cold running waitresses. Dinner would probably be a rare steak – perhaps a Wagyu steak – delicately but evenly marbled, chargrilled to perfection, dripping with Dijon and Dill butter, perhaps a creole remoulade sauce, fresh baby vegetables (in season), a red wine reduction, a small and expensive locally crafted bread roll, parmesan-black pepper crisps. And chips. I have standards, somewhat low – but I have them.

I planned therefore to leave the office at 2pm. Drive in the sunshine and arrive rested, in time to shower, dress for dinner and take in the glorious Suffolk sunset at a riverside bistro.

I forgot to point out that I had to take an associate with me. Samantha, a young lady from the office who would share the journey, and let’s face it, do most of the hard work in front of the customer. (Fair enough – I was driving)

We left late – too late as it happened. The warning signs were apparent after a few minutes on the M4 heading towards London. My Sat Nav – (it has a very annoying voice, female, insistent, and built to take no nonsense from any driver foolish enough to listen. Being essentially a German car there is a heavy Teutonic tang to the voice that makes it a little scary and leaves you looking around for someone behind you with a large blunt object, a pair of crocodile clips or some other means of persuasion) Helga – (for that is how I know her) announced “Zer ist stationary traffic ahead!! Achtung Achtung!!”

It was the first warning shot – followed by some traffic totty interrupting proceedings on the radio telling me how grim it was up north on the M6, M56, M54, M8 and M62. Like I cared. What about the M4 I thought – doesn’t she know where I am? It came as an afterthought, M4 slow approaching the M25, swot being the culprit. Swot? What the hell is Swot, what is happening at the BBC – I made a mental note to write a very stiff letter when I got home and remind the nations favourite broadcaster (apart from Ant and Dec) that we use the queens English in West Berkshire. Last time I looked the word swot only existed in the Oxford English dictionary to describe someone like Denis Winter who passed all his exams and ended up being a very expensive bus driver. I will admit he was driving the sort of bus that has wings and takes you on holiday with British Airways, way back when the computer system does not go on holiday first – but a bus driver none-the-less

I digress again – where was I?

A man of rare but finely honed navigational skills I decided to take a short cut through Slough, up to the M40, and drop down to the M25, thus avoiding the stationery traffic at junction 4a and making sure my steak did not go to waste following a late arrival.

So did everyone else.

It is just like the summer - when everybody leaves the beach early to avoid the traffic on the way home – at the same time. Slough was chaotic, and not moving very fast (the word ‘moving’ is used in this case as purely descriptive, unbelievably poetic – and not at all accurate). I passed the same pensioner three times – and she was walking with the aid of a zimmer frame and telling everyone she met how old she was. Helga (remember the sat nav) was in a despotic rage and yelling at me to go back to the M4 where I belong and to stop arsing around.

An hour later we were on the M40, at least it was moving. At last I could make up for some lost time. My passenger was asleep, this meant I could listen to some decent music, and also I should turn Helga off.

Why did they build the M25? In fact why put the M in front of the number, it is a tad optimistic. I have been on milk floats that go faster that we were travelling and if we went any faster we would be going backwards. The radio chipped in again “Police have just confirmed, that a load of snooker balls have fallen from an HGV trailer on the M25 near Watford. - Queues are expected”

All I needed, long delays. Only an hour and a half this time, finally it speeded up and we were away again, apart from a very loud bump when I went over a huge pothole (more of this later – stay awake – there will be questions). All was well until we approached the A12 – once again heavy traffic. Our original estimate of arrival at Ipswich was 6.00pm when we left, the current estimate was 8.30 – not good.

It seemed an eternity before we were moving again. I was just settling in for the next Ice-Age when I saw cars moving and we got going yet again. Rattling along at the approved 70mph and looking at scenery that would make the word “boring” over optimistic and absolutely pointless. Why god in his heaven would ever want to build the A12 is beyond me. I am unaware of how many underpaid foreign workers toiled for years to cut through the jungles and adjoining hinterland of Hatfield Peverel, or the ancient lands of mountainous Colchester, just so people could get to Ipswich? Perhaps it was an ancient plan to completely by-pass Essex?

Just to keep me awake however – fate had a dastardly twist in store. I was proceeding along the carriageway at a steady 69-70MPH (honestly officer) when there was a loud bang, it happened just as a Range Rover overtook me, then FLAP- FLAP – FLAP – FLAP and so on. Bugger – a blow-out.

I cruised pretty quickly to a stop, I didn’t need to get out of the car to know what had happened, I even knew which tyre – the car was leaning that way and the steering was very vague. I was half way round a long left hand turn, on a 70MPH dual carriageway with sleepy Polish drivers in the cabs of articulated lorries thundering past. I could stay here just in case I could save the tyre from any more damage – or keep going another 150 feet and get onto the slip road. Stay? – Go? – stay? – Go? – who am I kidding, I slipped it into gear.

FLAP- FLAP – FLAP – FLAP until we were almost at the end of the slip road and perfectly safe. At this point Samantha mentioned that a stop at a local toilet would be beneficial. Oh – OK – hang on let me find one for you – they are every 100 yards or so I’m sure!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! FFS!

Years ago I would have gone to the boot, taken out a jack, a wheel brace and lifted the car up, removed the wheel, complete with deflated tyre and replaced it with a similar (but very bald) one from the boot. Ah, I remember my youth. Twenty minutes tops and back off on my way. I no longer have that luxury because Helga’s bosses decided it was too heavy and affected the fuel consumption. Bollocks, it saves them £100 per car and they still make the fuel consumption say whatever they want it to say by screwing around with the computer thingy.

So, no spare tyre. What I had in its place is an aerosol with some sort of diet-squirty cream which is designed to plug the hole in the tyre long enough to get you to the local garage. Who are they trying to kid? Right now as I write this there is a very rich German wearing short leather trousers (they all do) laughing all the way to the bank because his mate Herman (who manufactures said squirty cream under the name SCHLAGFIX VEGAN SQUIRTY CREAM or similar) syphons off half of his output, labels it differently and sells them for 10 times the price as puncture repair lotion or whatever. I had a blowout at high speed (70 mph – honest officer) so a tin of white creamy desert is not going to make much of a dent in what remains of my tyre. Squirty cream my arse!

While Samantha crosses her legs ever tighter (NO!!!! she wants the loo remember!) I have now made the required phone call to the breakdown company and they have said they will get someone out within 4 hours. FFS – 4 hours!! (and Samantha wants to find a toilet! I could be knee-deep by the time they get here). The interweb came into its own and we found there was a pub down round the corner about a third of a mile away. Samantha was duly packed off with instructions to get herself a meal at the pub and I would ring when the man with a van turned up. (Also, feel free to have a wee)

Later – much later. Much much later, the AA man rang me and asked if I was on the A12 still?

(Where the hell did he think I was going to go with only three of my four wheels in what could be best described as fully functional condition? Did he think I was off to Thorpe Park and back for a spot of tea rather than sit there and wait for him to trundle up and save.)

“On the slip road” I responded, “but not in any danger” (not that he asked about that). He asked if I could go forward another 200 feet and park opposite a Café that showed up on his map – this would get me off the slip road and prevent a 30 mile round trip to go down the A12 and then back up again as he was not allowed to reverse down a slip road onto the A12. (What happened to the British spirit of adventure – the gung-ho determination that lead us through the last unpleasantness in Germany?)


FLAP- FLAP – FLAP – FLAP FLAP- FLAP – FLAP – FLAP FLAP- FLAP – FLAP – FLAP. You will imagine that by now my rare steak was not going to happen.

Samantha – bless her – came down the road carrying a take-away from the pub, we sat at the roadside eating burger and chips, she will go far this woman!!

It was only 3 hours – Colin (the AA man) turned up and sorted me out to the extent that he got me to a local Kwik-Fit depot (it’s like a proper garage except it is staffed by pimple ravaged teenagers who are taught only to fit tyres, pretend to balance the wheels, not answer the phone despite its constant noisy insistence and can only say one phrase - “we will do it next”). They were not open, let’s not be silly here. The car was duly abandoned on the industrial estate and Colin the AA man loaded up with suitcases and was directed by Samantha to our luxury hotel/spa.

Samantha had booked it.

While I have said she will go far – that was purely on the strength of a welcome picnic. I am now faced with a Premier Inn.

No further questions M’lud – your witness.

Perhaps I will explain later how a hotel, with no reception staff (they have a robot – a screen you poke at until it gives you a room key), and only 1 lift working (see previous email – the one about hotels up north). My room was (as usual) on the top floor and in a different postcode area. This may go to explain why the “free Wi-Fi” was in fact free. Free of any sort of signal, free of anything that contained either “Wi” or in fact “Fi”. Let’s just agree that I had an early night, sans-steak.

We had arranged to meet in the morning, have an early breakfast, and then get a Taxi to the tyre depot – drop the key in, and then walk 300 yards to the dealership. Perfect.

I found the number of a reputable Taxi firm and booked a taxi for 8.00am. I received a text at 7.55 to say my taxi was outside the hotel, it was a silver Mercedes. Finally – someone who valued my presence.

I must lookup reputable in the dictionary later. Those of you that know my car will know it is not exactly in showroom condition. It is well maintained, it is always full of oil, water, antifreeze etc. At 40,000 miles per year there is the occasional errant crisp wrapper or kit-kat foil. I would however expect a taxi (Silver Mercedes) to be a tad tidier. I would hope to see the same care and attention taken on the driver’s appearance. I was disappointed on both fronts. Give him his due – he got us to where we needed to go, albeit not as clean as when we left – but we got there regardless.

The spotty oiks at Kwik fit were a little confused that I was not waiting, I dropped the keys off and told them I would come back after lunch. One obstacle remained, I found that I had not packed a tie, so my plan to wander 300 yards to the dealer were amended slightly with a detour to Sainsbury’s to buy a tie.

It looked closer on the map.

2 miles to Sainsbury’s, buy tie, 2 miles back then another half a mile to the dealer (I say 2 miles – I swear it was 4 miles). My laptop bag got heavier with every step. I am not a man given to exercise. As I am always keen to explain, I am allergic to it. It brings me out in a sweat, I get out of breath, my heart rate goes up, I get dry in the mouth and feel faint. Best avoided.

I got to the dealership and fell in through the front door looking like I had done three rounds with Mike Tyson. A receptionist looked me up and down (mostly down – though her nose) and offered “Can I help you sir”

“Do you have a bed and a masseuse I asked”?

I will spare you the journey home….

See you on Tuesday 13th – again – Mark Baker – I need say no more!!!!!

Phil Boulter

Vice Chairman

Kennet Valley Woodturning Club

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