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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.

35 - Dec 2017 KVWT I am Bored

Sent: 29 December 2017 22:29 Subject: KVWT - I am Bored

Bored now. Although I don’t want to go back to work yet, but I am bored. Bored, bored, bored.

Its nearly over, the Christmas holiday has almost all happened and we are about to go back and do another year of toil, frustration, stress and hard work. When I say "we" I do of course mean me, and a few selected members of KVWT because most of you buggers have retired and your most stressful decision in most circumstances is whether to have jam or marmalade on your toast each morning.

I on the other hand have to get up and silly O'clock every day to go out and earn money doing a job I love to pay for your pensions (and before you say it Tony Harvey - you are not getting a rise!!)

I have had about a week at home now and it has flown by. I told everyone at work that I was going to concentrate very hard this year on making the most of the time off and spending as much of it as possible in the garage on the new lathe (did I mention I had a new lathe? Possibly not!)

As things turned out I have not been as prolific as I may have been.

Prior to the break I had made a bunch of snowmen and Christmas trees for the ladies at work to decorate our desks. I used up some old fence posts, a split piece of Yew and a cracked piece of Walnut. Add a few poster paints and the effect is complete. They were very rough and ready and not my finest work, but what the hell - they were decorations.

The day before I left for the Christmas break I told them to either bin them or take them home and then bin them after 12th night. They protested and said I should sell them, to which I suggested they all needed new glasses as they were as described, pieces of old fence post and poster paints.

I said they should do as they wished, and they did, and sold them for my favourite charity (MacMillan Nurses) and raised over £100 which I was rather gob-smacked about. We work hard to make stuff and hawk them around various events to try to sell things, and nobody is interested, and yet they all bought this old tat that I was going to throw away. There is no justice.

The only redeeming thing here is the nurses get a few bob. I am now charged with ripping up more fence posts next year! Oh well, I will take more care next year and finish them properly.

I relaxed on the Friday 22nd, my sister and brother in law came to stay on Friday evening and we went to see a niece in her new house on Saturday 23rd, good fun and nice to see various relatives - but my lathe remained unused. I was due in Newbury on Christmas day to do some voluntary work, and in the event went to help peel spuds and carrots to prepare for it on Christmas eve. (I know this is not very amusing so far, but it turned out to be quite funny)

On hearing I was up for giving a helping hand on Christmas Day - I was approached by the organisers who wanted three male volunteers to take part in some entertainment for the period after we had fed people. Now, as most of you know I am the shy and retiring sort. I prefer to stay in the shadows and not bring attention onto myself, but in this case I said OK. So off we went to rehearsal for what turned out to be an effing pantomime.

We met at the home of a local verger - quite an enthusiastic chap, and believe me when I tell you that if you closed your eyes and heard him speak you could swear you were listening to Alan Bennett, except that he was a tiny bit more effeminate. His wife - who stood all of 4 feet 5 inches on her tip-toes had a deeper voice ( a very charming lady it has to be said), and another couple who were a local lady, and her husband who was a 22 stone South African gent with a harsh springbok accent to match.

We sat in a vicarage, were handed a script each, and began to rehearse. Alan Bennett looked at me and as he handed me a script said "Definitely and ugly sister I think!" Thanks a lot I thought, what have I done to deserve this.

We had a run through - it was odd - and after the first attempt - Alan looked at me, sucked on a thoughtful tooth and said "No - we have to change this - you are not Ugly Sister material" I rejoiced at this secretly hoping to get the part of the Handsome Prince.

It was not to be, my script was taken from my hands to be replaced by one with the character of “Cinderella”.


I don’t mind volunteering but there are limits!

It was a done deal, and my fate was sealed, and so we went through the piece twice, and all promised to go home and rehearse. Don’t worry about costumes they said – it was all taken care of.

On the way home I did seriously think of making a run for it, finding the first cheap flight out of the country on Ryan Air and going anywhere but Newbury. Sadly I chickened out of this as well as I knew that with Ryan Air, in the case of emergency you really did need to have the right change for the Oxygen masks and I had used by last pound coins on the car park.

In the event it went OK, highlights of the day (apart from being a not very convincing Cinderella) was learning how to use a seriously fast commercial dishwasher machine – under 5 minutes for each cycle and they come out dry!!! Watching people eat sprouts whether they liked them or not, and making a massive cooking pot of custard for 65 people – and I don’t mind saying it was bloody perfect!! (One complete tin of custard powder – a quarter pint of milk to make the paste – with 10 table spoons of sugar – and then 10 pints of semi-skilled milk which you really do not want to let boil over.)

I was knackered by 4pm when it was all cleared up, washed up, put away and people kicked out, but it does give one a whole new perspective on whether you actually have much to worry about – I heartily recommend it (apart from the Cinderella part!!)

Boxing day – a late morning – then a really nice Cherry Bowl. I enjoyed making it – even though the wood was painfully dry and extremely dusty.

A follow up cherry bowl with the other half of the log was produced the following day – sadly this wood was split and so I have some work to so on that one. A visit to the sales yesterday to buy a new laptop, not very exciting – it was also bloody cold – too cold to go out in the garage.

Today my little Grandson came to visit for a few hours and cheered me up no end. He seemed to like the train set I bought him, and his dad played with it for hours, no doubt Ellis will grow into it.

I was somewhat surprised though at one of his toys, and some of you may of heard of this, they are called Nins. They are just small little figures, made from wood, and they can be natural or have a safe water colour paint on them, see pictures. What I had great difficulty with, was the price people pay for this stuff.

My daughter told me they pay £30 for twelve of these little things, and they are only 6cm tall. £30!!!!!!

I am about to embark on a Nin-fest I think. I will worry a little about the paint, and unless I can be sure it is safe I will leave mine a natural colour – perhaps some food-safe Danish oil if I am pushed – but for goodness sake.

Look up Grapat Nins on the interweb and you will soon see what this is about, I think I can see Liz Pearson at Love Heartwood looking into this?

I did a 13 inch fruit bowl today using some beech and a soaking of food-safe Danish Oil, another coat tomorrow should see it done, then I shall experiment with a few Nin type figures…

Enough – it is nearly time for the January meeting, and I am looking forward to Harvey being our demonstrator. I know most, if not all of you know Harvey. He is a grand woodturner – and someone always willing to give help and advice to our beginners. While Harvey is not a professional turner – he is prolific and has turned some wonderful pieces. We are indeed gifted in the club to have so many skilled turners – and the new members will certainly find the evening entertaining, informative and probably noisy as we will no doubt have a little banter going on.

I am in Kent on 9th January and I do know that I will be making great strides to make sure I am back in time for the demo – then back to Kent the following day.

A quick word as well about the January Saturday workshop. It has moved for one month only, and while most of you will know that the workshop is always on the fourth Saturday of the month, this time it is on the second Saturday – the 13th January.

I will repeat that for the hard of hearing.

Saturday workshop is on Sturday 13th January – I said 13th January – yes – the 13th!!

Got it, OK.

Finally a couple of really bad Christmas Jokes.

Santa Claus goes to the doctor with a problem.

Santa: I think I have a mince pie stuck up my bottom

Doctor: Ok Mr Claus, bend over please


Doctor: Yes indeed, you do have a mince pie stuck up your bottom, but you're in luck. Because I've got some cream for that.

Rudolph the Viking

One night a Viking named Rudolph the Red was looking out the window when he said, “It’s going to rain.”

His wife asked, “How do you know?”

“Because Rudolph the Red knows rain, dear.”

Q: What do snowmen use to make snowbabies?

A: Snowballs

Q: What do you call a kid who doesn't believe in Santa?

A: A rebel without a Claus

The first present I opened this Christmas was a pen knife. I was so excited, I used it to cut open all my other presents. Shame about the puppy.

Anyway – enough – I need to send this now and watch something boring on the telly. I have done the washing up, done the next coat of Danish Oil, done my washing and just need to do the ironing, I do like to live life on the edge sometimes.

Perhaps I need an evening out? Hmmmmm.

See you all on 9th January.

A happy on prosperous new year to you all, and here’s to a great 2018!

Phil Boulter

Vice Chairman

Kennet Valley Woodturning Club

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