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.

38 - April 2018 Kennet Valley Sunday

Subject: Kennet Valley Sunday

(Some of you are old enough to remember the Monkees singing “Pleasant Valley Sunday” – No? I don’t know why I bother sometimes.)


So - me again - and lord help you - I have some updates for you after a long week on the road. I have been up t'north again, and it's rubbing off on me. There is certainly a Northern feel to this email - I hope I haven't caught anything.


I am knackered again, this week I have mostly been to Canterbury, then to Bristol, then Hungerford, on to that Sheffield and finishing up in t'Chesterfield before cruising home in the sunshine on Friday evening. Guess what - the effing sun disappeared on Saturday. What about that lightning on Saturday night – what a lightshow!!!!


Still - at least I went out to lunch with a very good looking and intelligent lady on Saturday, so it can't all be bad.


This month we have lots happening.


1. Saturday Workshop on Saturday 28th April Off t'Centre t'urning

2. Practice retirement

3. Another day off

4. May 8th - t'Greg Moreton

5. Trip up t'North

6. Don't forget those sharpening t'tricks for Derek t'Prout

1. Saturday Workshop on Saturday 28th April Off t'Centre t'urning

OK - 1 week away (as long as I get this thing out today or tomorrow) - it may or may not be happening as I am busy watching ITV - "Britains got B*ll*cks" I only watch it for Alesha Dixon. So next Saturday workshop is a bit of off centre turning. We can do all sorts with that, all you need is a little imagination and lots of practice. One of the very best proponents of the art in fact is coming to see us this year on the 12th of June, Tony Halcrow. The very first time I saw Tony demonstrate about 10 years ago he turned a lady figurine using an off centre technique - which he made look really easy.


I tried it last weekend. It worked - after a fashion. She had a huge backside and no bust. I must try harder, I am more of a boob man myself.


There are many things we can do with off centre turning, why not come and try something next week and see what can be done.

2. Practice retirement

Easter was busy - I had visitors on Saturday which meant preparations (housework to get tidy and clean) on Friday, we had the Saturday workshop of course, and after I got home my visitors arrived. On Sunday I went to Wales for 2 days to visit my brother in law who is ill. Effectively this meant I had no time off at Easter - which is why I decided to have a long weekend the following week.


I booked Monday off. I made the lady with the big bum on Saturday - relaxed a bit on Sunday and then rang my mate "sorry about" Ian. He is already retired - like most of the readers of this email of course. Ian goes out most mornings to have coffee somewhere and do a little people watching. He has about 20 different places he has coffee - depending on weather - mood - wind direction and many other less mathematical conditions.

Me: "I have tomorrow off - pick me up and I will try this coffee thing" I told him. Ian agreed and told me he would pick me up at about 10.00am. No point in going any earlier - he is retired - what's the rush?


Good as gold, Ian pulled into the driveway at 10 the following morning and took me off to Costa in Thatcham. The reasoning being that the weather was rather inclement and he could site outside under a shelter while he smoked even though it was raining.


We queued behind about 15 other people, how is it this busy at 10.15 am on a Monday!! We took our coffee outside and sat for a while. Ian sat smoking a thoughtful cigarette and we considered the world, which we then proceeded to put right for about an hour of rather heavy and insightful discussion as we debated matters of vital importance and great moment. Thoughts and issues such as - "How many women do you think will use that cash machine in the next 15 minutes ?" Ian queried. We perused the issue, chewed thoughtfully on the calculation and came up with out two completely different answers. The next 15 minutes were then spent seeing who was the most popular. I am the first to admit I have no idea who won the argument, because after 10 minutes we were engrossed in trying to work out how many people would walk past with dogs as opposed to children - which were the most popular we wondered? On such things empires are won and lost.


There came a point when Ian looked wistfully in the air and seemed to reach a momentous decision. "Are you hungry?" he said. "Always" came the rather obvious reply from me, as - despite have the poise and physique of a racing whippet - a well oiled machine does need an intake of fuel. "Fancy a bacon Roll" I enquired. We decided the ones on sale in Costa were - not to put too fine a point on it - were crap. Thus I propositioned that a trip to Waitrose (yes - I can afford it because I am not yet retired) to purchase some of their very best air cured and smoked bacon, along with a couple of brace of their finest quality fresh rolls - and then back to my gaff to hit the grill.


A rather splendid lunch was had - along with a couple of cups of Brooke Bond's finest. (Milk and 2 sugars)


Ian went home to watch a little cricket while I adjourned to the garage to turn a small lidded bowl.


3. Another day off

I was disappointed that Yandles spring show was cancelled a few weeks back, and am determined to make the Autumn show. I have had words and joined a couple of other members to make up an armed boarding party and we shall visit on Friday 7th September. There are four of us going. It will be myself, Mike Larby and two of our lady members - Anne and Hazel. Parking is free, entry is free and coffee is cheap. We know how to treat a lady!! It would be nice to see anyone else who is going on that day and we can perhaps mount a raid on the coffee tent at some stage. The Autumn show is on Friday 7th and Saturday the 8th September. The weekend tends to be full of oiks, so I am pleased to be going on the Friday this year. Hopefully we will see some of you there.


Added to that Mike and I are also going to the MakersCentral show (at the ICC in Birmingham on the 5th and 6th May) - Mike and I are going on the 6th May. This one is not free sadly - but the line-up looks to be very good indeed – I know our friend Martin Saban Smith will be there and I am keen to heckle J. It is a weekend show so I don't need a day off for that one. Luckily I have the following week off - and I can't wait.

4. May 8th - t'Greg Moreton

Part of that following week - we have a demonstration evening at the club with Greg Moreton coming to see us. This is one of the demonstrators I have been looking forward to ever since I booked him for us last year. I saw Greg demonstrating at Martin Saban-Smith’s Black Dog Workshop on a Sunday in the Autumn last year and it was magnificent. I know what Greg is going to do - because I asked him to do what he did for Martin's demo - and it is a thing of beauty and so different to other demonstrations you will see.


As usual I did look Greg Moreton up on the interweb, (Google Search has a lot to answer for) - here is what I found:


As you know - I am not a betting man - but I am pretty sure Greg is in the fourth picture. (If he is the one in the second picture I want our money back.)


Greg is a welcome visitor to the club and has seen us several times over the years. He is one of the best known faces on the demonstration circuit - and with his experience over the years he always has something different to do and something interesting to talk about. I would say that he is on the top two of demonstrations we will see this year - so you should not miss it.


If you are coming along on the 8th - and I hope you are - don't forget that the competition in May is for any coloured of textured item. So there is a wide range of ideas there fore you to produce a piece for the competition. It may be large or small, round or not, deep or shallow, light or dark - lets see what we get.

5. Trip up t'North

Did I mention I have been up north? I nipped in to see my boss (James) on Thursday evening. I say nipped in. He lives in Sheffield. (It’s a nice part of Sheffield – they have houses in his bit instead of factories and mines and that)

It seemed polite really. I am seeing a customer in Chesterfield, and they are both pretty close together on “Up-t'North High Street” so I thought I would pop in and see where he keeps his flat cap.

James has a really nice house – he has a garden as well. (I expect it’s covering up an old mine shaft or something – but it seemed impolite to say) They are simple folk, the Northerners – simple but happy.

James had a melon. He seemed very keen on his melon and kept asking me if I wanted some of it. I didn’t. I think he was showing off because he had one, (James has a job you see - I suspect his neighbours don’t - and they probably don't have a melon).

He also kept asking me if I wanted any pasta. I didn’t think you could get pasta this far up – but apparently they sell it in the trading posts and it is quite a delicacy in Sheffield – and probably still a novelty I expect. I never did like pasta so I declined.

I like James – if I never have another boss I will have finished with the best one I ever had – even if he does talk funny. James has the same sense of humour as I do which is always good, we laugh about the same things, and listen to the same radio shows or watch the same TV programs. He is a little bit like a younger brother in some ways. Although not as clever.


He has a lovely wife called Joe. It must be a local thing – giving ladies a man’s name. Odd really.

She is very lovely – and Joe was also proud of their melon. She also asked me if I wanted some. She is clearly far too good for James – he is a very lucky man, (or rich). Although I didn’t meet his son Alfie (I think he nipped straight upstairs to clean the chimney), his daughter did pop in to say hello, her name is Min (short for Minnie - she is named after a car I think). She didn’t mention the melon, she is probably sophisticated as she is school educated..


I wasn’t there for too long as I needed to get to my hotel as I had work to do, which I have managed to pretty much get done, and I am wide awake – hence this email. I was offered a cup of tea – which I gratefully accepted and James put the kettle on to boil. As soon as it came to the boil, Joe stole the water to pour onto the pasta. I didn’t say anything, I didn’t want to appear rude. Also I was worried that if I did say anything they may take some of the water out of the saucepan and use it make tea. I did mention I didn’t like pasta, I also don’t like tea that tastes like pasta.


The visit was truncated slightly as James wanted to go out and play Tennis. James is quite fit, in fact he could have been a marathon runner, however the doctor said he was not allowed to continue his marathon training as one of his legs is shorter than the other. That must be a problem, perhaps he might end up running round in circles. Luckily I don’t have that ailment, in actual fact I have completely the opposite problem, one of my legs is *longer* than the other.


I did get a cup of tea in the end, after refusing some melon again, and it tasted pretty much the same as the tea we have in the south. We sat and drank it in the garden as it was sunny today.

Ah well, I must get on and go to bed. I shall finish this posting in a day or two and send it on, I just wanted to get the afternoon’s visit written down before I forgot it – Northeners are nice people..

Strange - it was sunny up t'north, who would have thought it.


6. Sharpening tricks

Don't forget if you have any tips or tricks for sharpening Derek Prout is hoping to collate them for all to experience. Derek is always there on either club nights - or at Saturday workshops. Derek is keen to show you how to sharpen your tools, he would rather show you how to do it and help you rather than just do it for you - which is a good thing!


That is about it for the minute, it’s Sunday night now. Remember Greg is coming to educate amuse and entertain us on 8th May – be there or be somewhere else I guess.

I have been to see Derek Prout this afternoon to pick up some wood that he very kindly offered me, plus I got savaged by his dog, and Mrs P made me a lovely cup of tea. Oddly the same thing happened on Saturday in another house.

It was hanging on the back of the door by the way (his flat cap) – James that is, not Derek. Derek hasn’t got one.

Are you keeping up?

Have a good month – and may your shavings be intentional.


Phil Boulter

Vice Chairman

Kennet Valley Woodturning Club

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