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.

34 - Nov 2017 KVWT Christmas greetings

On 24 Nov 2017


Bah humbug!!


All this fuss, so much to do, everybody is shopping and if you go near the high street on a Saturday morning you must have some sort of sadistic death wish.


The government have it all wrong you know, every year it’s the same, Christmas comes but once a year – but why do they always arrange it on the same date when the shops are at their busiest!!


We have only just got past those thieving snotty little kids who come round knowing on the door at halloween begging for sweets, ”cute outfit!” my arse. I have an annual plan that works very well. A few weeks before halloween I buy a load of haribo sweets, but I keep the wrappers. Then, on halloween-eve I put all the empty wrappers in a bucket, together with a sign that clearly says

“Help yourself to sweets – but when they have gone they have gone – there are no more” - and put it outside the front door. Works every time!!


I digress, hello all – seasons greetings and all that. We have a packed show for you tonight. I am starting to write this on Tuesday night after the committee meeting – lets see how long it takes to send it!!!


1. Xmas Party

2. Think about competitions next year

3. The Funnel club

4. January Demonstrator

5. Reg Bailey Cup

6. Demonstrators next year

7. Owen Williams workshop sale

8. Holiday blog part one.


Xmas Party

Lets start with the Xmas party – or the winter celebration get-together if you are offended by the word “party”. Once again we venture forth and try to have fun, although sometimes I do wonder if I should tell my face I am enjoying it. We are about to have a completely free of charge eveneing of (social) intercourse, and (musical) swinging, along with a few well chosen questions in a quiz what I wrote. All are welcome, and please bring your loved ones or your spouses with you.

Two reasons for bringing the other half;

You show them how much you love them by taking them out on an expensive (sic. Free) evening. We promise not to tell them you don’t have to pay so you can say what you like.

They get the pleasure of driving you home (as long as someone helps to pour you in the car) – how they get you into the house is, quite frankly, their problem.


· This is nothing like an office party – we don’t possess a photocopiers for you to be able to take a picture of your bottom.

· It is nothing like a family Xmas party – we don’t intend to argue.

· The only slight similarity to a family get together is the bit where your grandmother drinks a little too much and hen sits in the corner passing wind and burping. We do actually do a lot of that.


There will be food, there will be much pleasantness, there will be a Christmas Tree, there will be music and love and romance, lets face the… Sorry I got carried away then.

There will be food, booze and a quiz. Lest we forget – there will also be a competition – the annual “Ladies Choice”. (not to be confused with the sort of party where the ladies choose a set of car keys – although I do remember a few years back I went to a wife swapping party, I swapped mine for a set of spanners.) Make what you will, or even bring along something you have already made – and the ladies get to vote for the piece they like best. It does not matter whether you are a beginner, an intermediate or an export – the ladies will choose their favourite based on their own criteria – and the logic will be theirs not ours – so please bring something along and make their decision as hard as possible no matter how good you think it is, remember beauty is in the eye of the beer holder. If you were not at the last meeting and did not have your hand up to be counted as being able to come, please let me know if you are going to be there and we will add you to the numbers.


Monthly Competitions

While next month is the Ladies Choice (I must wear a clean vest) – we do need a quick word about the monthly competitions. We had a committee meting last night, and one of the topics of discussion was the number of people who enter the competition each month. We will discuss this at the AGM, but until then please put your thinking caps on. It would be really nice to have more entrants, we had a good year last year – this year numbers have dropped off slightly and it would be good to build it up a bit next year. We discuss whether or not we should have two topics each month, one for the novices and one for the rest. This is not to ridicule the novices, but we wondered if people are not entering because they feel they are not good enough. If you do enter you will be surprised at how good you really are. Also, entering a piece does tend to focus the mind somewhat and very often will bring out the best in people. People will be promoted next year which opens up the field for others to fill the void in each section, and it is really worthwhile trying to turn a competition piece – and even if you don’t win, you get points and you get constructive criticism (we hope) and the pleasure of knowing you can do it.

Enough – give it a go, or at least think of something you may want to air a the AGM on this subject.


The Funnel club

I am not a new member of the funnel club, but I made a great contribution this weekend. A lovely 10 inch spalted beech blank that I have had for ages, I did a great job of the outside, and then went to hollow it out, prepared as I was to use food safe danish oil and turn it into a fruit bowl. Sadly I was a little enthusiastic and ended up with the inside being bigger than the outside, something most engineers try to avoid. Some bright spark suggested I plug the hold with a coin, but as you can see from the picture below, it was a little bigger than the one I did a few years ago which a coin did manage to fix. I shall have to purchase a funnel club t-shirt now.


January Demonstrator

It is time, after the celebratory nonsense that is Christmas, we have the pleasure – and it will be a pleasure, or Harvey Grimwood. Yes – Harvey has agreed to come along and share some of his knowledge, his skill, his enthusiasm, his excellent good looks, and his very best joke (can’t wait to hear it!!) Some of you, in fact most of you, will know Harvey very well indeed. We are gifted in our club to have some of the very best woodturners in the south of England, and it is fair to say (and I don’t think many people will argue with this fact) that Harvey Grimwood really really knows some of them.


Years have passed and after so many requests that I think I have lost count, we finally gave in and allowed Harvey to come and demonstrate for us. (He is actually going to kill me for this – I had better have my running shoes on next time I see him). As you would expect, I looked Harvey Grimwood up on the interweb. This is some of what I found…


I know Harvey is going to be good, his skills are many and varied, he knows us and we know him, and I for one and seriously looking forward to the January demo with a vengeance. (I also have a flip chart and a fresh set of pens available for Harvey – so get ready to take notes!!!


I know Harvey is going to be good, his skills are many and varied, he knows us and we know him, and I for one and seriously looking forward to the January demo with a vengance. (I also have a flip chart and a fresh set of pens availavle for Harvey – so get ready to take notes!!


The Reg Bailey Cup

Following on from the January melee we have the AFGM in February, and one fo the attractions of the AGMis the chance to compete fo rthe Reg Bailey Cup. We have mentioned Reg Bailey on many previsou occassions, and the cup in his name is for every member to stand a chance to win. Judging will be by other club members - and entrants will be judged according to their skills levels, Novice, Intermediate or Advanced. I really do suggest you giver it a go, and no matter how good you are – the entrants will be judged as equally as we can. This is a chance for you to enter the piece you feel the proudest of this year, go for it!


Demonstrators next year.

We are booked up, and ready to go, with the exception of January 2019, which will only take a phone call or two for us to fill. I am excited about the program for next year for 2 reasons;

We have a lot of really good demonstrators – I am thrilled skinny about May in particular.

I am done, I can relax now and not have to think about booking anyone for the next few months at least.

I should mention that it gets harder and harder each year to get turners to come and see us, and I know other clubs are suffering in a similar way. With fewer and fewer turners is mean they have to come further – and travelling costs and more than double the cost of an eveneng with a decent turner. This is something we must discuss at the AGM, and see if we can find an answer. Whatever – the program next year looks really good with a mixture of old and new faces and we are in for a treat. Before you ask, no – I will not be demonstrating, as the hole in the bowl in the picture above should prove!! Perhaps we can ask Martin Evans to give us a lecture on colouring – what say you Martin?


Owen Williams

I had a day off on Monday, and apart from making holes in bowls, I was visited by a couple of friends who were on the scrounge for tea and biscuits, one of them even had the cheek to nick half of my lunch, and as I am wasting away I need all the food I can get. In the afternoon I wanted to visit Owen Williams, a man I admire greatly, and ex-club member – one of the old guard, a founder member in fact. Owen honoured us with his presence along with his lovely wife Thelma at our recent birthday celebration. Don’t tell him this for goodness sake – but Owen, along with Robin Percy and Derek Moate were the turners who made my woodturning life really educational and very good fun a few years back. They had skill to spare, a wonderful sense of humour, and were so very generous with their time, advice and tutoring. Without their help and advice I would not be able to spoil bowls and make firewood with the sort of panache I do now. (Panache is a french word for pancake I think) Owen is a bit Welsh, but we won’t hold that against him too much. Robin Percy once said that people who come from Wales are either Rugby players or hookers (ladies of horizontal recreation). I think Thelma was also Welsh, but I am not sure what position she plays.

I digress.

Owen is out of prison now and has decided that it is about time he took up a slightly more genteel hobby. He told me it is his peepers were not as sharp as they once were, and to be fair that worries him a little because he wants to make sure he stays safe. He is thinking of taking up skydiving next year if his eyesight gets any worse. ( I did ask him how he would be able to see close-up enough to know when to pull the rip-cord – he said he would pull it when his guide dog’s lead goes limp.) ?

I digress again.

Owen was either thinking of having a bit of an open viewing, or perhaps listing, for the tools and equipment he would like to sell. I had gone round to see for myself what we could do to help, and perhaps take a few pictures. I got some great pictures, one of his cat (Smudge), a good panoramic view of his Garden, a nice picture of his kitchen as well as the hall stairs and landing. After a while I had a good idea and suggested I take a picture of his tools, why didn’t I think of that before? A beautiful Polewood Euro 1000 lathe, a Bandsaw (who doesn’t want a Bandsaw?), a Pillar Drill, a really good sharpening wheel and jig, a small router table and a morticer pillar drill. On top of this there is every chisel and gouge you could think of and a lot of other bits and bobs and also a lot of wonderful blanks of all sort of shapes and sizes. As you can see the items are in glorious condition and if you were to buy anything you would be getting some genuine and really cared for tools. Watch this space, I don’t think any of us want to get thousands of people coming and going at all times as this is unfair – but if I can get a decent list perhaps we can organise something sensible. Lets see.


The overdue Holiday blog

I need to get the quiz done, and I need to play with my new lathe (did I mention that at all recently?), and do the housework, and work for a living, and the blog has taken a bit of a back seat. When I was talking to Owen the other day he suggested that I release it in instalments, and that is a pretty sound Idea. I told you he was clever. I let you have a little bit the other day about our trip to the airport, I will include that here as a reminder, along with the first 2 days of the holiday. Further adventures will follow, but not until I have done the quiz. So here we go….


The Holiday

So we are just past the Autumn Equinox, (that’s Latin for “getting colder”) and the weather is starting to turn. Being a half-seasoned wood turner I obviously have plenty of firewood so I decided to light-up and curl up in front of a log fire, cosy!


Very hypnotic they are, flames. I am back from Denver having spent two weeks with our cousins across the sea in Murca. I only really know it as Murca. Ex-president George W Bush (an even bigger prat than the one they have now) always used to stand up and begin every speech with “My fellow murcans” – so it has stuck in my mind.

All is well with the world, well fairly well, and I thought I would sit in front of the fire and remind myself of the holiday. Two weeks of many miles, many laughs and many ways of spending time with a very good old friend.


Ian, (aforementioned good friend) said farewell to his lady wife Anne not very long ago after a brave battle with cancer. Anne was the light of his life, and ours. Anne, Ian, Claire and myself spent many happy holidays together over the last 20 years.

We were the sort of friends that every-one should have. Sporadic visits to each-others houses to try to poison each other with various concoctions. During those visits we (and they in return) took the same four cans of lager along with a box of chocolates, or perhaps flowers, after all it is always polite to take something when invited to dinner. Those cans of lager had certainly seen a lot of life by the time they finally went to see their maker, they were probably a good ten years old, I wonder if lager improves with age? After a few years and many miles back and forth, the cans of lager disappeared – lord only knows where they went, and eventually we took wine which actually got drunk.

Ian and I decided to cheer each other up and go somewhere on a “chaps” holiday. (We are too old to call it a boy’s holiday). It was at Ian’s initial suggestion, and I was very happy to go along with it having not had a holiday since December 2015 and struggling with various things. It was after several non-productive discussions that we decided on Denver, from which we could make several excursions. The only worry was that we would look like two gay old pensioners having a last hurrah. I was not happy with that – after all, who wants to look like a pensioner!! Two rules.

1. Separate motel rooms.

2. No holding hands.


Anyway we took the plunge. In the words of Peter kay – we booked it, packed it and f*cked off.


It took some organizing – the plan was to do a fly-drive, thus we needed our new style driving licences. Apparently only the plastic bit, the old paper one was no good any more. This was a slight issue, as Ian only had the paper version.

I say “had” – actually he had large parts of it and a lot of sellotape (other clear sticky tapes are available). I insisted that I was not going to do all the driving so made Ian promise to go to the post office and apply for a new one, reminding him that it was no longer legal to only have the paper one. I was shocked to find out that 14 days later Ian was the proud possessor of a new pink photo driving licence, proudly showing his name, address, and a picture of someone we had never seen before. Oh well, you can’t have it all. Apparently he had to smile when the picture was taken, which might be why I could not recognise him. I do know the feeling though, my licence has a picture of Robert Redford for some reason?


Anyway – Ian purchased a few maps and guidebooks, and booked a taxi to pick us up, him first, then me, and get us to the airport with no stress over parking or queuing, and so it began…


Dateline Monday 11th September, 7.45am.

The taxi was due, it had picked up Ian at 07.30 in Tadley and was due to pick me up at 07.45 in Thatcham. The flight was not due to take off until 12.30 pm, but we wanted to get there early, and make sure we had our luggage checked in so that we could relax and enjoy being on holiday for as long as possible.

The law of sod hit us early. The M4 was totally buggered. There was a six car pile-up, a 7 mile delay and the traffic news said it would take over 2 hours to get through. “Oh tish” we said. (or words to that effect).

The driver was pretty relaxed, but to be fair he was not going to miss his bloody plane, so he was entitled to be relaxed. We on the other hand started to worry. We need not have been too concerned, this taxi driver was wise beyond his years and got us there on time by sneaking through to the M3 and going to Heathrow from the south. In the event we got there in good time and once he pulled up at the drop off area we dug out our luggage from the boot. The driver (Phil) now proceeded to give us complete and thorough instructions on where we were to go on our return to make sure we did not miss him, as he would be parked in a specific place and would not want to miss us in the crowd. Ian and I stood still, and listened to him intently. We promised faithfully that we would do what he told us to do when we got back in order to meet him at the right place, then we waved him off and prepared to join the check-in queue in terminal three.


Me: “what did Phil say about where we were to meet him when we got back – I must admit I didn’t actually listen as that blonde in the tight jeans walked by”

Ian: “Buggered if I know – I wasn’t listening as I knew you always paid attention to petty detail like that! So why the hell should I bother?”

Sod it, oh well, we can make it up when we get back.

Ian had a last few cigarettes before his enforced abstinence, and off we trooped to check in.

Over many years I have moaned about my good lady wife taking too much on holiday. So many clothes that only about a quarter of them would ever get worn. Luggage allowances are actually pretty fair, and the 23kg we were allowed held no fears for me. My bag weighed 22.999999999999kg. Well, I am special!

Ian travels somewhat lighter and weighed in at about 2kg or something stupid, at which point I decided I was better prepared for all contingencies……..


A very hearty and very duty-free breakfast awaited us. Once we were through security and VAT became a thing of the past we booked ourselves in for a full-English and ate like kings. It was when we got the bill we found we had to pay like bloody kings as well. They may have not worried about VAT, but apparently we were paying for half the airport ground crew, customers, security, baggage handlers and their families. Perhaps we should be brought along a packed lunch? Oh well, it would be a long flight and at least we would not be peckish on the way.

Being a sly old bugger I was careful with the seat allocation. The seats on the plane went thus;


In the picture above, you have to imagine all of the double seats, A, B, F and G are booked (all the booked seats are in yellow). I had to book seats in the middle block. I therefore carefully booked seats 38C and 38E in the middle block, knowing that no-one would want to sit in 38D between two strangers.


Imagine our delight when we got on board and found we were sat either side of Godzilla. (Actually I am not altogether sure that Godzilla was her real name, but there were similarities). Bless her – she was perfectly pleasant, but I could have sat 4 rows back and still been sat next to her – and I am not slimmer of the year as you are aware.

I made a mental note to hide my food when it arrived just in case, and another mental note to keep my seat-belt on so that I didn’t disappear in the middle of the flight (you never know – she may have got a little peckish!)


The picture here gives you an idea, I didn’t actually take a picture of the woman because my wide angle lens was at home.

I shouldn’t be unkind, one of the girls at work said to me “Behind every fat man there is a handsome man” – I said “wow, thanks that is nice of you” - she said , “no seriously – you are in the way!!”

A plane flight is just that – a plane flight, it was long, boring, and was NOT over too soon. We had airplane food, airplane tea, and worst of all we had to wash our hands in an airplane bathroom. The words claustrophobic, inconvenient, smelly, wet and covered in something I would not want to touch more than applied to the lady sat next to me, so I went to the bathroom.


Time passed, and we landed. It was the first of two flights, but eventually, via Minneapolis, we got to Denver. Now it was time to get the hire car.

I wanted to get out of town ASAP so I had taken great care and made sure to pre-book the car and also to check-in for the rental as well, so all I had to do we go to the car park, choose a car from Row C or whatever the instructions said and then drive the car to the gate with the voucher I had printed. How hard could it be? I have the car, the insurance, and CDW, the personal cover and I had even made absolutely sure that I had even booked a car with a sat-nav so I would not get lost. What could possibly go wrong?


It was dark, but even with the lights on in the car, and powerful street lamps, I would not find a car with a Sat-Nav device. I went into the dimly lit reception area and looked at two “Murcans” who were busy hitting keys on a poor keyboard as if their lives depended on it. I explained my dilemma, the lack of a sat-nav in any of the cars in the group that I had carefully booked. They said “no problem”, the next group up all have sat-nav’s, we will upgrade you to one of those. I looked at them, a long look. I said nothing but even so, it was a look that said “I am not paying any more”. He looked back with a look that said “bummer”. I looked back again with a look that said – “I know what I asked for and paid for” he returned my look with another look that said “I suppose I can’t charge him”, and he said “It’s OK, no charge! “


OK I said, and we were directed outside to choose a car from row D. There were larger, but still, no Sat Nav. Back to the office.


“OK – get an executive car from Row E, that is bound to be OK”. Executive car? I produced the stare again, the one that said “I am not paying any more” – and so we went through it again and… Same result! – “no extra charge!! “

Three minutes it took me to look in all of their row E cars. They were all nice. They were pretty much all new, they had that new car smell, they were also very well equipped, they were nice colours, and they were all incredibly clean, so clean in fact that they were not contaminated or spoiled by nasty sat-navs. Back to the office again!


I was running out of cars, and looks. “Do you have *any* cars with Sat Navs” I said. “Oh yes – lots of them” they said, (two of them huddling round a computer screen looking worried and they started beating up the keyboard again) “How about row G” they said. I looked at row G. Bloody hell. If you watch TV and see the President of Murca, he is driven round in a long limousine which is followed by the FBI in their huge black cars. They FBI cars are Chevrolet Suburbans. They stand over 7 feet tall, 6 feet and 9 inches wide, and almost 19 feet long. The boot space from the tailgate to the driver’s seat is over 8 feet 9 inches.


Row G was full of Chevrolet Suburbans. (See picture below of a real suburban interior)

“Well if I have to” I said. I checked it out and started up the 5.3 litre V8 engine. A smile spread out along my face and – together with the promise that it would cost me no more money (which to be fair it didn’t!!) we took possession. Take me now good lord, take me now!!!!!! It was magnificent.


I like my car in the UK – I like it a lot, but give me one of these any day. There were up to four rows of seats. Four!!!! It was a 10 seater (if two small people were in the very back row of folding seats – Japanese perhaps – they are small).

The draw-back, yes of course there is always a drawback, was the mileage.


Ladies and gentlemen, gather round and let me ask you this. We have a veritable luxury bus. It is four wheel drive, with a 5.3 litre eco-friendly engine, so who will give me 30 miles per gallon?


It has power everything, the boot lifts itself up in two different ways? Do I hear 25 miles to the gallon?


I mentioned the four rows of seats, how about the automatic lights, wipers, seat memory and heated steering wheel? Do I hear 20 miles per gallon?


Four wheel drive, with a very large throaty exhaust. How about 15 miles to the gallon.

15 minutes it took to gas it up, I could cook dinner in less time, (well it does hold 22 gallons from empty) – do I hear 10 miles to the gallon?


OK – I give up, we drove into the Rocky Mountains where they go skiing, and when we were driving it uphill at 55 miles an hour – it registered a very steady 4 – yes you heard it right – a steady 4 miles to the gallon.


Wow.


It is such a good job that petrol (sorry Gasoline) is so cheap over there. It is also a bloody good job we didn’t spend all of our time driving up long hills. It was also a boon that we had to come down every one we went up, which evened things out a little, but still, 5.3 litres still takes up a fair amount when it is just idling along. It simply would not work in the UK – a tank full would cost about £120 and that would only get you about 420 miles. Ah well, it would do for 2 weeks and I was determined to enjoy it.


We got out of the Alamo rental car park at the second attempt, in our second suburban, (sorry – forgot to mention that) as the first one was not registered properly on their database. Long story – (and believe me this is already long enough so we will skip over that one). We headed to Colorado Springs down the wrong piece of motorway – it was a toll road. I am not that bad, I know that they drive on the wrong side of the road, and I didn’t end up being stupid enough to drive down the wrong side of the road, but I was stupid enough to make sure I drove the right way down road but the wrong way, that is to say in the wrong direction. So I had to work out I was driving in the right direction on the motorway in the wrong direction so had to exit and swap to the other direction in the right direction to go in the right direction on the right hand side in the right direction as it were. (I will be asking questions later so do try to keep up please) Why on earth the Murcans have to make things this complicated is very annoying and is probably why most of them end up never going abroad because they can never find the bloody airport.


We got off, turned round and took the toll road back again. My logic told me that as we had gone from A to B for 10 dollars, immediately going from B back to A again would cost minus-10 dollars and put things right, and therefore the toll people need not be bothered with any payment in this specific instance. So far so good.


We had planned to get to the hotel at about 10.00pm, it was midnight when we finally rolled up to the pre-booked motel in Colorado Springs, but they were still open – they always are in America – all receptions open 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. (So why on earth do they have locks on the doors?) We got keys to two rooms and I hit the sack for the night. We were here – Hallelujah! Day 1 was over, time to sleep.


Day 2 Tuesday 12th September

I found out why Ian’s bag was so light – apparently he bought bugger all with him. He said he never does – apparently he buys it all when he gets there. Toothpaste, aftershave, deodorant, socks, clothes whatever…

I met up with Ian in the Motel Reception where we had a coffee, after which we trooped off into town to find a supermarket so that he could buy his essentials. I was happy with this of course – I had to spend 10 days in the car with him so deodorant was a minimum requirement in my opinion. . I was also aware that we had a lot of miles to travel, so bottles of water, apples, sweets, and other items were also on the shopping list. We found some sort of large supermarket and bought “bits”.

We were wandering around looking for something and chatting away and a rather large woman with very large hair, an equally large backside, and a huge voice erupted in front of us. “Wow” she said, “that’s not an American accent – you must be visitors, tourists – are you here on holiday?” I was (initially) impressed by her attention to detail, at least in spotting our voices. That same attention to detail did not stretch to her hair, I recall a strawberry blonde wig which shook and wobbled every time she spoke and teeth which probably financed most of Murca’s dental industry for years. Her hair kept moving and it looked a little like it was glancing around and looking for a chance to escape. Every time her head moved from left to right – her hair followed a split second later, and stopped half a second after her head did.


“Yes – I replied, “you are very clever – we are here on holiday from the UK”

“Yes I spotted it immediately” she purred proudly “I can spot a Welsh accent a mile off”

“WELSH!!!!!!!!!!!!!! – I’m not Welsh – how can you say I am Welsh – I’m from London and my father here is from Berkshire” (I pointed at Ian who was examining apples to see if their maggots were any fatter that our ones in England)

“Oh – sorry about that – but my mother comes from Wales and it sounded the same” she replied.

“OK – where is Wales is she from then?” – I asked the question with hope – perhaps a little too much hope but you have to make allowances sometimes..

She answered with no hesitation. “Birmingham”


I am guessing the gene pool in America is not the deepest pool imaginable.


It was catching. About an hour later when on the road from Colorado Springs to a place called “Garden of the Gods” we decided to stop for a coffee – and also give Ian a chance to puff on a cigarette (we discovered we should not call them fags as saying that he was going outside to suck on a fag was apparently a really-really bad thing to say – but that’s another story). The coffee place we stopped at was not a proper Starbucks, it was a smaller place (and perhaps these people actually paid taxes) but they operated in a similar way, queue up, order – pay for the coffee and then wait an hour for some spotty oik with “Barista” on his black apron to make the damned thing. As per normal there will be a lot of people waiting after they take your order – so they ask your name and write it on the cup. Ian was ordering and they said “Name?”, so he replied “Ian….”

“How do you spell that?”


Oh dear – I wonder if his Welsh accent is a little too broad?. It was after this experience that we decided that in all subsequent coffee shops we would call ourselves Eric and Ernie. We laughed each time – they did not have a clue!!

We continued on to the Garden of the gods – it was very impressive – see here… The paths were quite steep and I got a little out of breath, but suddenly felt quite ashamed when, on the way down a particularly steep and tricky bit, we saw someone coming up the other way, slowly, using a Zimmer frame! Ah well you have to admire some people.

After this short visit we started on our way towards Monument Valley . It was a bloody long way so we could not drive there all in one day, so we booked a couple of rooms in a place called Durango, we got there having gone through a little place called South Fork, but no sign of JR or Bobby, or Miss Ellie – shame.


The hotel was an “experience”. The swimming pool was a bit unique – it was full of mud. Someone has a sense of humour though because there was a coiled hose at one end to clean it out, and a lifeguard chair at the other end for someone wearing skimpy red shorts to sit and wait for drowning people to pass by. I suppose they could do themselves an injury falling in the deep end and landing on a molehill or something?

They needed a little less chemicals for cleaning water – and a bit more weed killer…


We finished day 2 here, and that is where I will stop for now. I have lots more – and still even more to write – but enough. I need tea, and I need to get organized with some quiz preparation this evening, and then get ready for the club Saturday workshop tomorrow.


I leave you with this thought..

What’s the difference between the population of Murca and a yoghurt?

If you leave yoghurt alone for 300 years, it develops a culture.

…later. See you tomorrow, or at the Xmas party – or at Harvey’s demo in January! J


Phil Boulter

Vice Chairman

Kennet Valley Woodturning Club


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