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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.

51 - A fresh set of KVWT ramblings.

OK – What the actual “F” has been going on?  Where have I been? When I was working I seemed to have time to write all sorts of crap in the evening, but now I am retired the messages, mails, memoranda and missives are missing.  The dispatches, disseminations, distributions, documents and details have disappeared. I could make an excuse, I could head you off in the direction of illness, or perhaps I have been busy decorating, gardening, reading, or cooking.  Artistically painting delicate - yet sweeping majestic landscapes perhaps?    None of the above.  The simple truth is I have been having fun with a little holiday before the serious work of retirement begins.  I may as well start it fresh. Following my last contact, I passed my motorbike test, I bought the bike – and I have just been out and about discovering some enjoyable roads.  I have used it a little excessively perhaps – if I need a pint of milk I will jump on the bike and go the nearest Tesco, actually – second nearest – make that third or fourth nearest.  A pint of milk can take me hours to buy.

Just imagine - “Oh goodness – there is [no milk/not enough milk/sour milk/wrong milk/spilt milk] so I should nip out and get some.  I know, my bike would be quicker – so I will use that.”  So, I have developed a good route from Thatcham to the local Tesco Extra (which passes 3 smaller Tescos, 1 Sainsburys, 1 Co-Op and a brace of Waitrose as well as Aldi and Lidl and only takes me about 2 hours to find one in Winchester if I avoid the A34. A man cannot have enough milk.

Also, when I get back, I realise I forgot the bread and have to go back for it.

Anyhoo – this month I have split out some of my ramblings into a blog on my web-site – and the more wood-turney bits are in this email – but will also be published on my web-site. 

So, what have we this month – the first missive of the year? 1.    Happy New year – lets hope you enjoyed the Xmas “do” – plus one quiz answer. Indeed – I raise my little glass to a happy, prosperous and "Brexity" new year to you all.  I hope he brought you everything you wanted for Christmas – but if he didn’t then I shall point you towards a whole workshop full of bits and pieces that you could soon be the proud owner of.  See the For-Sale item later in this email. Hopefully you enjoyed the little party at the hall and found the quiz challenging, it seemed to go down well despite me thinking it has gone a bit stale and needs to have something else in its place.  Every time I suggest that – I am drowned out by requests to keep it as it is, so perhaps it is OK?

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.

Finally, at the last meeting I was asked about one particular question which they did not know the answer to – what do you call an artist’s preliminary sketch.  The answer – a “Study”. You’re welcome

2.    Thank you to Paul Howard – January’s Demonstrator Quick thanks to the first demonstrator of the year Paul Howard who came to us all the way from Colchester – a very long journey to give is a little January-joy.  Paul had an early start to get to us – and a very late homecoming after he left us.   I will admit I do like the idea of making one of these owls, albeit without the jigs perhaps.

Once again we were very busy, a lot of people attending and it was nice and quiet which perhaps suggests a good degree of interest.

3.    The AGM and the Reg Bailey Cup If you are not meant to drink WD40 - why do they sell it with a straw attached?

Sorry – I digress.

On 12th Feb 2017 we have our AGM.  I know what you are thinking, "thank you Kennet Valley Wood Turners for *not* holding your AGM on St Valentine’s day" so that means you can treat your loved one to a very expensive valentine’s day meal and flowers. 

Again - You are welcome. 

It will certainly be cheaper than an expensive meal out – (her indoors is still waiting for the invite from Les Thorne).  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 also have matters of great pith and moment to discuss in the second half. 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.  Importantly we will continue to beg you all for your help.   We may get lucky and get existing committee members to continue to serve – or some volunteers to continue to help them by doing one of the many jobs that we need to get done in order to thrive as a club.

The AGM is the culmination of the club year.  It is certainly one of the cheaper months of the year - we don't have to pay for a demonstrator, all it costs the club is the hall fee, a few cups of tea and coffee and some out-of-date biscuits.  It is however the most important month of the year for the club in so many ways.   I must pretend to be a grown up for at least 2 hours, and that alone is worth seeing. The club needs help, it always has, and it always will otherwise it will simply stop functioning.  We need people to do all the things that make the club tick.  It needs to organise the hall, maintain the equipment, book demonstrators,  lay out chairs, pay the bills, maintain the membership details, monitor the membership and make sure they pay their annual subs, man the door on club nights, buy books of raffle tickets, run the shop and buy stock for it, put all the equipment away after club  nights, book the hall on the right dates, arrange exhibitions and shows, go to committee meetings, dream up themes for competitions and Saturday workshops, remember to buy chocolate biscuits for Terry Buckle, make sure the competition is judged as fairly as possible, maintain the club library and tool-bank, type up the committee minutes every month, welcome new members to the club instead of having them walk in and feel lost, maintain a very good web-site and refresh it regularly, make sure the cups get engraved in time  for the annual presentations, buy and prepare food for the annual party, man the bar, write a quiz, be good looking.....

I hope you are getting the message - and I apologise because I would go on for another few paragraphs listing the things that the committee and the wonderful helpers do for you every year.

A couple of people at every club evening miss-out on part of the demonstrations to make sure you get tea and coffee at half time, I think they are wonderful.   People get there early and stay late to set up and then dismantle the whole thing - they are thoughtful.   Brian Giles is always there with a healthy supply of wood for sale at a very very good price.  He is a star. It is not something that happens by accident, it happens because a lot of people, A LOT of people are prepared to help.  There are a lot of people who do their bit and then nip off home as soon as they have done their thing, and that is fine because they helped to do something on the evening.  Thank you, thank you all of you, but can we have more please.

Despite what I wrote above, despite the endless list of things that need to be done, it is good fun, and people do it because it is achieving something, and it is rewarding.  Join us, please join us.  I personally get a feeling of achievement and of a job done to the best of my ability.  I do almost as much as other committee members - and I enjoy it as much.  The more people join us and help, the better it is because we don't have to rely on the same people spending all their spare time working to run a club for nothing. 

We always need new blood on the committee, it is as simple as that.  We lost our treasurer last year because he moved to Scotland.  New blood on the committee give us new impetus, and new ideas.     So this year - when we ask for volunteers to step up and take a turn on the committee - why not put your hand up and see if you can spare a few hours to help us out.

Here endeth the lesson!

We can also reveal next year’s programme.  We have new demonstrators, some old favourites – and one month something very new indeed.

We have tried to stick to a budget, have something old, something new, something cheap and something blue (like Me, Tony and John– next January). While the newer demonstrators can be a risk, we have been fortunate this last year and found people who we will certainly look forward to seeing again. 

I know who we are getting next year as I have booked them – it is looking good.

There is also the Reg Bailey Cup to compete for.  The Reg Bailey Cup was presented to the Club by the Splinter Group, who met socially in memory of a past member, Reg. Bailey. Reg. was a founder member of Kennet Valley Woodturners and served for many years on the committee. He was a popular and helpful club member as well as being an excellent turner.  The Cup is awarded in an open "Member's Choice" competition on the evening of the AGM, where members present vote freely for their favourite entry.  The monthly competition is postponed on this evening, and members are asked to place their entries in sections marked NOVICE, INTERMEDIATE, and ADVANCED. Voting to be carried out in consideration of the entrant’s ability.

It is proposed to repeat this format now, and hopefully, this will encourage more members to enter a piece of turning which they feel will show their ability in the best light.  Grab your favourite piece – and go for it!

OK – I admit it, I have now run out of reasons to tell you why you must come to the AGM.  Terry Buckle has offered to come dressed as a dubious Vicar and I have hired a nun’s outfit – but perhaps we should think again. 

4.    What goes into my blog and what goes into an email to the club? I took the shell off my racing snail yesterday because I thought it would make him go faster, if anything it made him more sluggish Sorry – where was I?

I need to separate the email and the blog to an extent.  I will always post these emails onto the Web-site as well as emailing then so they are available to the people who ask for back-issues.  I am aware however that other people who read the blog are not club members and their needs are slightly different.  The email and the blog will be available to both sets of enemies sorry, fans.  However, the separation will allow readers some degree of self-editing.  As many of you know (because you are old) – although I am retired, it only means I have no excuse to avoid the decorating, the gardening, the tidying up and the clearing out of the garage.  All these things will of course serve to stop me having fun, so I have had a couple of months of fun just in case.  It cannot last – so I will have to split out my time accordingly so that the house does not fall apart.

I have promised Tuesday open days – and they will come – as soon as I stop messing about and complete the re-organisation of the garage.  This was marred of course by the purchase of a bloody great big cruising motorcycle which takes up a lot of room and demanded the re-design of the layout – which has not worked too well.  (As well as the pile of rubbish I still need to throw away.)

I am aiming for Mid-February – weather permitting

What some of you will not know is that on the 21st November (my birthday by the way – I must have missed all your presents – I expect I will find them eventually) , anyway – on that day Tony Harvey and myself went and did a demonstration for the 1st Newbury Cub Troop.  We had great fun, and did various different bits of turning to show them what we do.  We also made-up and gave each of them a 5 inch Christmas tree for them to decorate and bring back in the following week.  I understand this went down quite well.  I have been asked to return to do the next age group – we will look at that next year. I saw one of the local club leaders on Christmas day at a charity type thing and he said he was submitting my details to the police and getting me checked out so that I can join them all on one of their camping expeditions.  What have I let myself in for?  I shall have to find my woggle. 5.    What is happening in January and February? We have our Saturday workshop to come on 26th January – the theme is square edged turning.   The theme is also come along and see what you can learn generally of course – especially for beginners.  We will have 4 lathes running as usual, and hopefully Derek will be there to show you how to sharpen your chisels.

I have recently asked the committee to consider purchasing a new lathe.  The small white Jet lathe has served us well, and it could perhaps be sold to one of our new members as a perfectly good starter lathe.  This is one of the things we can perhaps discuss at the AGM as it is quite an expensive purchase.  It is *not* yet decided.  I have been looking at suggesting one of the new Axminster Craft range.  These are midi lathes are much sturdier than the hobby range (like my small one) – but not quite as heavy duty as the Trade range.  

It is variable speed – reversible and has a good 355mm swing capacity which is 50mm better than mine – and 30mm better than our small Record lathe.  We need to think carefully about the cost – we will also need a new chuck, but we shall see.

The February Saturday workshop will be on 23rd February, and we will be doing Pot-Pourri containers.  (They do not have to be bowls.)

6.    Numbers are up It is hard to believe, but we have achieved a membership of 80 for the first time in our club history.  We also had an enquiry from a prospective new member at the January meeting – so if you all renew next year we will be in a very good place.

We should not only look at the number of members – we should also remember that if they don’t come to out Tuesday club nights – we do not get door fees.  It is these door fees (and your membership fees) that pay for the hire of the demonstrator, the hire of the village hall, the teas and coffee, and the special biscuits.  The same equation (minus the hire of a demonstrator) applies to our Saturday workshops of course.

The good news is that recently the high number of members attending both sessions has boosted the club.   I will let our beloved treasurer give chapter and verse on the state of our finances as a result.

7.    Maintenance day Here’s one for the older people among you, last night on Dave they showed an old Stars in their eyes program with Matthew Kelley.  A guy came on and said tonight Matthew I'm going to be Glen Miller - he went through the opening doors into the fog - and he's not been seen since!!

OK – maintenance - I did mention this recently, but what we need to do is look after our lathes and chucks (among other things) – they are valuable club assets and need to be cared for.  The Vivamac lathe bed/cupboard is failing, and the wheels on the base are in poor condition.  At a recent club event I found the chuck we use on the Record power lathe was stiff to operate and clearly needed to be dismantled – cleaned and greased.  We should do the others while we are at it.

My solution was for a few of us retired-types to gather there one day and spend a few hours repairing and maintaining these items.  If any readers of this email are skilled at carpentry – feel free to put your hands up!  😊  We will be out with the tape measures on January 26th.

8.    Items for sale Mike Allen and I were contacted recently by a lovely lady called Linda with a request for assistance.  Linda lost her husband last year and he was a keen wood turner.  There is a workshop full of equipment that now needs to find a good home, but also a very well stocked woodshed which is full of prepared bowl blanks (more than 50 of them) and other blanks as well.  Added to this there is a very good stock of un-cut wood which is suitable for wall-hangings or for making platters. The workshop is very full and has a lot of very nice items, as well as two very good lathes.  Everything is in good working order – albeit has been laying dormant for a while.  Initially I have been round and take pictures to try to gauge the size of the clearance task.  As you will see from the pictures there is a lot there.  I will speak to some committee members and decide how best to assist.

At the moment I have agreed with Linda that I will not release her full name, address or phone number as we do not need a lot of un-managed enquiries, we need to try to co-ordinate things to make it as painless as possible. There oar some of the 59 pictures I took on my Website on a KVWT-only page which is only available on this link;

I will email people later once we have decided a plan of action.

While I was there this week, Linda showed me some of the items her husband turned.  It is clear that he was a very accomplished wood turner as they were most impressive – which is perhaps why he has so much good equipment.  His wall hangings in particular were especially good.

That’s about it. ...except A friend of mine and his mate snorted curry powder instead of  - well instead of something else.  Sadly both of them are in's in a korma.. The other's got a dodgy tikka! 

My ex-boss James likes curries in Birmingham - when he goes there he always has a chicken tarka - it's like chicken tikka but a little 'otter'.

In closing I should report that Hazel Bentley told me she has just bought a new Wireless bra from Mark and Spencers but had to back because she didn't get the password.

My sisters dog died - so to cheer her up I got her an identical one.  She was livid – she said what am I going to do with two dead dogs?

I went to the barber on Monday - I said I want highlights - so he gave me a video of old haircuts See you on the 26th - or at the AGM!  I'm off to buy a pint of milk

Phil Boulter +44 (0)1635 826009 +44 (0)7836 274345

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