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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.

59 - When attacked by a bunch of Clowns, go for the Juggler.

Hello KVWT’ers – I trust this finds you well and enjoying the start of the good weather.

I’ve been putting this email off – but it has to come out sometime so I may as well get on with it. (Just so you know – I started this last Thursday – it is now the following Monday!!)

I have written a letter of complaint to the ICC just now for their crass and useless organising capabilities. The first match of the cricket world cup was on today (we thrashed the springboks of course – and did you see that catch!) and while all this was happening, I was cleaning my carpets – all according to my schedule.

Had the ICC asked I would have told them to wait and hold the match tomorrow – but did they ask? Did they hell, selfish cretins.

It’s been a long day today and I feel I am justified in putting a large dent in an equally large gin and tonic. Now where are we?

Let’s have a rant and get it out of the way.

I’m getting completely and totally fed up with people complaining about the prices of things. £1.25 for tea, £1.75 for coffee, £2 for a slice of cake and £2.50 for parking, for goodness sake stop moaning.

Any more complaints and I will honestly stop inviting people round to my house!

OK – I feel better with that off my chest.

What have we this month? Well, having missed the last Saturday workshop we need to pull ourselves together and find other ways of pleasuring ourselves in June.

  • Les Thorne again – thanks and do you want a training place?

  • Kevin Hutson on Tuesday 11th July

  • Axminster - Basingstoke Store - Chris Fisher - The Blind Woodturner

  • Catch up on people

  • Saturday workshop on 22nd June

  • Was I really that handsome?

  • Competition for June and July

  • I am on holiday – I may have mentioned it

  • End of mail stuff

Les Thorne again – thanks and do you want a training place?

If you were at the club night in April you would have been rewarded with a great demonstration by Les Thorne.

Les was on tip-top form as usual, and a good time was had by all – I think it was also educational which is always a bonus on top of the engaging and amusing side.

The piece Les turned was left with us, and we will auction it later this year for charity. Les seems to be the gift that keeps on giving.

Added to this, if you are one of the club’s beginners, then he has a workshop place available for a beginner at his workshop on the 12th June. Please let me know in the next day or two if you are interested – you can contact me on and I will let you know rates – or indeed contact les himself on I have tried a couple of people – but it is very short notice. Les will include tools and materials for beginners.

Kevin Hutson on Tuesday 11th July

In October 2018 we enjoyed Kevin Hutson, and he returns to us this month on 11th June.

As usual I typed the name into google – and this is honestly what turned up.

Quite who will turn up on 11th June is anyone’s guess – part of me wants it to be number 5.

I would like a little piece of what number 3 has been drinking, however I think we will get number 2. I am not sure what Kevin will be doing for us this time, but you may be able to get some clues by looking at his web-site here.

As usual we will start promptly at 7.30pm to give us a chance to get there early, get Kevin setup – lay out the chairs, setup the competition, erect the screens and several miles of video and audio cable. Volunteers welcome!!!!!!

Basingstoke Store - Chris Fisher - The Blind Woodturner

Although it is a long way in the future – we have Chris Fisher coming to see us in the September slot in 2020. If you want to see why I booked a blind man (and his dog) to come and show us how to turn wood – take a sneak preview on Saturday 8th June at the Axminster Tools store in Basingstoke. I will certainly be going, and I know a few others will be there.

Chris Fisher, (also known as the Blind Woodturner since he lost his sight in 2008), will be in-store covering lathes, chucks, jaws and turning tools. Apparently, his dog does not do any turning?

Perhaps you will be further inspired by Chris as he shares his passion for woodturning. Chris constantly challenges himself, exceeding expectations and demonstrating how seemingly insurmountable obstacles can be overcome through tenacity and self-belief.

I firmly believe the demo at the club in September 2020 is something not to be missed as Chris puts his unique spin on the craft of woodturning – and this is a great little aperitif for us!!

Catch up on people

A few decades ago we had Johnny Cash, Bob Hope and Steve Jobs. Now we have no Hope, no Cash and no Jobs. Please don’t let Kevin Bacon die!

Our club is mainly full of old farts – let’s face it – with the exception of young Thomas, who is destined to become Chairman in September 2042, (and all the ladies of course who are only just 21) we share an attraction for being the wrong side of 50 years of age.

There are some younger people – but with the careful placement of a few traps we should be able to root them out.

Age brings many things. It makes us wise, naturally this is a welcome by-product of the university of life. The “yoof” of today seem to think they know it all, but sadly google cannot answer all their questions – sometimes a little experience is required.

Someone said the other day – did you have imaginary friends when you were young? I said – “No – we didn’t have face-book back then.”

What youngsters do have of course is the chance to get all of the knowledge we have – and an awful lot more. They will experience discoveries we can only dream of, but they must wait for that.

On the other hand – unless they have particularly enlightened parents or guardians, they may never know who Joe Grundy is? Who will explain Home Farm at Ambridge, the wicked Linda Snell and the whole issue of “an everyday story of country folk”. My older brother – now dead and gone to that great barn in the sky was born the day before the first episode of the Archers in 1951.

My dear old sainted mother heard the first episode in hospital and then listened to it pretty much without missing an episode until her demise a few short years ago.

Apparently it was broadcast partly with the aim towards educating farmers following World War II. It is the longest running drama, having aired over 18,900 episodes. I need not tell you that Ambridge is just two miles north of Penny Hasset – you will all know this – it is knowledge received by osmosis.

That is my generation I guess – and it is this generation that now has the evil curse of illness. That sadly is why so many of my ignorant dribblings have contained bad news – it is because so many people are of an age where bits are wearing out, dropping off, being made bigger, being made smaller, being made firmer, being lifted, being numbed, being dyed or being replaced with plastic alternatives.

I myself have had to have a penis reduction operation and I can tell you it is a huge relief now I only have the one.

Sometimes people are also being told they have a dose of the big C – that bastard illness that we seem not to be able to avoid. I could weep when I think of the misery is causes – I could also weep with pride when I see the dignity that it discovers and helps us to see, in those who are unfortunate enough to attract it – and yet carry themselves with a countenance that those they meet are sometimes not aware of, because the unfortunate recipient does not want to cause a fuss.

We have *not* lost anyone since the last email. However, you will all know that some of our members are ill right now. Some, sadly, are committed to rear-guard actions, and some of them undergoing surgery or other treatment in order to fight off the wicked curse. Indeed, our own chairman is fresh out of hospital having lost a few pounds due to it being left on the floor of the operating theatre.

This month – no names – no pack-drill – but simply this, bless you all and you know who you are. Whatever illness it is you are fighting – thank you for doing it with class, with the sort of dignity I wish I had, and the humour that simply defies belief. My warmest wishes to you all.

Saturday workshop on 22nd June

We meet this month on Saturday 22nd June from 10.00am until 1.00pm We have a theme which is basic spindle turning – which we chose because we have a sprinkling of new members – and frankly it is always a good way to practice some basic moves with the chisels.

Personally, I will not be there – I am on holiday in Scotland – which I have hardly mentioned – but I know it will be a great morning.

Spindle turning will give you the skills to work on the following cuts;

Tenon, Clean flat surface, Fillets, Ogees, Coves, V-cuts, Swells or Curve and Beads.

These cuts are needed for varied items like candlesticks, vases, goblets, salt and pepper mills, wands, mushrooms and so on. In fact pretty much everything we do as turners has a footing in spindle turning – so it is a good thing to practice and get fluent with.

A lot of spindle turning would use the spindle gouge (obviously) as well as the skew. There is no reason to use a lot of other tools from the box as well, unlike the ban on spindle roughing gouges in bowl turning – it is hard to think of a tool you cannot use with spindle turning. It should be a good Saturday workshop.

Was I really that handsome?

Was I really that handsome?

Firstly – the answer is yes – and always will be of course – however, think on.

I came across this the other day, another handsome chap, Robin Percy, actually owns the treadle lathe I am using here at the Thatcham Festival of arts in 2011. I absolutely loved using this treasure and was always keen to volunteer to jump in when it was available for use. Robin is of course the master, and had the gift of bringing a sparkle to the eyes of young children when they came and watched him either demonstrate how the treadle lathe works, or make his home made and home-turned wooden puppet dance in the front of the lathe.

Robin has the gift of the gab and is never short of something smart or witty to say.

If you have not seen one of these simple treadle lathes in operation you would be fascinated at how well, and how easily they work.

You do need good legs though – it can be pretty tiring even though it is just the best fun!!! I may ask Robin is he would be generous enough to let me borrow the lathe for a couple of hours to bring to a Saturday workshop. If we are lucky he might even be persuaded to accompany it and join in the fun.

Fun? Perhaps I should mention a friend, my mate Trevor who got a text from his wife Trina. “If you are sleeping send me your dreams. If you are laughing send me your smile, if you are eating send me a bite. If you are drinking send me a sip. If you are crying send me your tears, I love you”

Trevor, typically non-romantic replied – “I am on the toilet – please advise?”

Competition for June and July

You already know that the competition for June is bangles or an item of jewellery. Perhaps you have already done yours ready for the next meeting. July is also a pretty open competition, being, as it is, a pot-pourri vessel of some sort. I think this really means you could let your imagination run wild and come up with something pretty original.

Think outside the box and see what you can come up with. We have been blessed with competition entries in the last few months and I feel that the July competition could be a cracker.

If you want to see what the current state of play is regarding the competition standings, look here on the club web-site.

I spoke to Martin Evans the other day – he has been missing for a month or three – but looking at returning to the fold when he is a little better. Martin told me that last Friday there was a knock on the door - a policeman stood there looking worried.

P.C. “Mr Evans”?

Martin “Yes”

The policeman showed him a photograph – “is this your wife”?

Martin “Yes”

P.C. “I’m sorry sir but I have to tell you it looks like she has been run over by a Bus.”

Martin “Yes I know - but she does have a lovely personality.”

Born to be mild

I am on holiday – I may have mentioned it. Following the success of the tour of the middle-United States, “Symptom” Ian and myself are off again, this time to the Scottish Highlands. Ian’s ailments are either on holiday, slightly better, not aching, not leaking, not running or not as bruised or he has a pill for it. In the light of this he has decided he is almost well enough to spend a couple of weeks away with me to experience the “Scottish 500”

This is Scotland’s version of Route-66 and is apparently one of the world’s best coastal routes. So far the Scottish first minister Jimmy Cranky has not managed to spoil it, so we thought we would jump in and get a good view of it before she nationalises it and charges us Sassenachs for looking at it.

We are going to use A-roads to get there – avoiding any use of Motorways, thus allowing us to enjoy the route up there, sights such as the Wye Valley, Herefordshire, Derby Dales, Morecambe Bay, the Lake District, an overnight stop with a booking for a couple of rooms in Penrith.

Next day – we will go through Gretna Green, Lockerbie, shadow part of the M6 where there are wonderful sights as we approach Glasgow and then on to circumnavigate Loch Lomond & the Trossachs National Park. At this point we enter the highlands, over the Bridge of Orchy, down to sea-level at Glencoe and on to Fort William for night two.

Sticking to just A-roads it is going to be two long days – but the route is pretty spectacular – and frankly we have plenty of time. I have driven to Fort William I the car, door to door in 9 hours – we have 2 days.

Accommodation is interesting. We checked out hotels and guest houses on the route – and prices are spectacular. A Bed and Breakfast in some of these places is upwards of £150 per night each. It is for this reason that I have introduced Symptom Ian to AirBnB. I only discovered it myself last year when I went to Harrogate. It is a sort of B&B but this is just a spare room in someone’s family home, often with no breakfast – but it is cheaper than other places. The disadvantage is that often only one room is available – which means Ian and I will be staying at separate houses. We have however come to suspect that spending all day together may mean that we will value a couple of hours at the end of every day to do our own thing.

We will probably spend about 7 days actually doing the “500” and enjoying the road, the mountains, the views and the food.

I am going to spend the next 10 days working out how little I need for about 13 days away, and how I am going to fit this on to the back of my bike. I can feel disposable T-shirts coming on….

Naturally I will diarise the vacation and provide and old farts guide to the Scottish 500 with all its wrinkles and joys.

While I will be present for the June Tuesday meeting on 11th June – I will follow this by attaching all the bits and bobs to the bike with bungee chords and set off on my next adventure. I will not be back in time for the Saturday workshop – you can tell me how it goes.

End of mail stuff

Someone said to me “What’s the difference between a tart and a bitch?” I said “a tart will sleep with anyone. A bitch will sleep with anyone except you”

So that’s it for a while. I may put some of the bimbling’s around Scotland on the club’s Facebook page – you will find it here…

Alternatively you may find bits on my own web-site – which as always is

I would like to ask you to look at the charity relay bike ride I am doing when I come back from Scotland – look here - you may like to sponsor me for a pound or two?

Think about this as well, a slice of apple pie is £2.50 in Jamaica, £2.75 in St Lucia and £3 in the Bahamas.

Those are the pie rates of the Caribbean.

And finally, a policeman pulled me over in the car the other day – he got out of his cruiser and tapped on my car window – I said “Hang on – I’m on the phone”.

I shall endeavour to keep the rubber side down and the shiny side up.

Phil Boulter

07836 274345

01635 826009

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