It would be good to put an email/blog together which has the pace, excitement, glamour and tension of BBC Weather Forecast, but that would of course be impossible – good looking though I clearly am – I am not one to hold a light to Carol Kirkwood.
It’s been a while – and I want to get something out before next Tuesday when we are blessed with Steve Giles as our demonstrator at Kennet Valley, but I will get to that.
Something first of all, and then we can get down to business.
Most of you know that I have the body of a greyhound and carry not an ounce of fat, I need say no more on that subject, however it came home to me again this afternoon. The first Sunday of every month at 4:00pm in Reading I try hard to attend and help a wonderful event – Project Serena. I belong to a riders club, the Thames Vale Vultures. They are motorcyclists, you know the sort, long hair, badly educated, noisy, greasy and uncaring.
Well, once a month this rotten-lot feed the homeless in Reading, something I am lucky enough to help them with unless something pretty important stops me. We did the deed this afternoon, in a very strong wind, but at least it was dry. We fed 60 people with a hot meal, a drink and some confectionery to lift their spirit, and – if they had a dog, some dog-food as well for their hairy chum (insert your own joke here).
It is a very humbling thing to do and I recommend it to anyone. This appeared on face book this evening;
“Colin Hawkins - Thanks to everyone who helped and to Denis Denmead for his generous donation which, together with the soup we have in stock will enable us to keep going until February.
This evening we gave out 60 hotdogs 60 packets of crisps and 60 bars of chocolate as well as drinks. We also gave out some jumpers, coats and trousers. Several of those we fed said if we'd not been there they wouldn't have eaten today. Its very humbling"
A lot of these people are intelligent and well-meaning and caught in an awful downward spiral – sometimes through not a lot of fault of their own. It is actually very hard to be in 2019 and find a need to feed people who have nothing, and then go home to a roast dinner. Sad indeed. “If we had not been there, they wouldn’t have eaten today” FFS – how lucky am I?
I retired last September – it has been a year and a few days since I stopped work. I have a roof over my head, I have food to eat, I am certainly not rich, but I pay the bills, I have a car and a motorbike, and a lot of very lovely friends who are equally blessed. None of us I suspect spend too much time thinking that the very simple thing that we did today, to put food in our mouths, is a struggle for so many. I am not about to preach, and I am not about to ask any of you to do anything except one thing.
Forget being angry about how crappy TV is at the moment, don’t moan about how you can’t hear the words in the latest songs, stop complaining about the police and moaning about the national health service.
We are seriously lucky! (Pease also notice I did not say stop moaning about Brexit – I’ll give you a pass on that one – moan all you like!!)
The one thing you must do is thank your lucky stars you were not in the queue in Reading today.
Sorry – needed to get that off my chest. Normal service will now be resumed, and I will stop lecturing. As I said if you were there last Saturday – it’s a bit like being in primary school. Remember we had “The letter of the day”
Teacher: Today’s letter is the letter “N”. Little Phil Boulter – can you manage to give me a word that starts with the letter “N” that means something you are not very good at?
Me: Errrrrrr “Spelling?”
What has in fact been up then and what have we to look forward to.
All day Saturday
Work and play
Keeping it short.
What a blast – actually what a wet blast. I should begin by repeating my grateful thanks to everyone for their help and understanding. It takes a lot of planning and assistance, not to mention a list of 61 things we needed to remember to do or to bring with us, and every one of those items had someone’s name against it to make sure it was done.
Robin Percy’s lathe was a welcome addition to our display and was well used over the weekend – thanks to Joy Percy for her permission for us to represent Robin.
We had a lot of wonderful items to show and sell from a variety of members – and they made for a great display.
Massive thanks to those who turned up on the Friday before the weekend to help us set everything up, so we hit the ground running on Saturday. Also those who helped man the stand on both days – and to break down and take everything away on the Sunday. You all know who you are.
Saturday was of course the pick of the two days – because it didn’t rain. Sunday was wet and it kept the crowds away. We had a great chance to talk to a lot of people over the two days – but sadly not a huge amount of sales. Even so, worth doing, and I like to think we all enjoyed it despite the wet sunshine.
Following the country show I was a bit knackered and drove to Taunton to watch a few days cricket. The plan was that Somerset would beat Essex and take the country championship for the first time in their history, and therefore celebrate Marcus Trescothick’s retirement in true style. Sadly, Essex buggered this up by not letting us win. Bastards.
They clearly have no sense of occasion, little or no empathy and sod-all class. I also got a parking ticket. I did enjoy it however as it was a chance to spend three days relaxing. The cricket wasn’t relaxing mind-you – we waited almost all of the time for it to stop bloody raining.
Very British, cricket – rain stopped play. Perhaps I should take up darts or Dominoes?
All day Saturday
I got back on Thursday night and only had Friday to add my little bits to the organising of Saturday after Laney and Mike Allen had worked so hard on the catering front so we could be fed. We had bad news from Tony Halcrow who had family issues and was unable to come and do his off centre turning piece, but none-the-less we had a good time with 55 people attending at one point during the day – but basically people coming and going during the day. I can’t pretend we were not worried about whether people would attend – but as they say – build it and they will come – and you did.
Sheila Hughes did wonderful things with her pyrography and colouring, at one point we had 4 or 5 people all working hard producing some very nice pieces of work which they took home proudly.
Steve Hughes (see also below) donated some Yew for us to sell for club funds – along with clocks for project work, and we must say thank you for that as it did indeed swell the club’s coffers – what a generous chap. Thank you, Steve, you are very kind.
All-in-all we made a mess, had a good time, and were well fed. Thank you all for joining us and for joining in. After that – then we could relax!!
My friend bought his wife a brand-new artificial leg for Christmas as a stocking filler.
Work and play
I have said already at the top of this how lucky I am. A whole year without having to work for a living and being able to not even do everything I wanted to do in the first 12 months of being retired (did I mention I was retired?) but I have had a ball.
I finally had the time to pass my motorbike test
I bought not one, but two motorbikes.
I became a grandad for the second time to my dear grand-daughter Mary.
I have had the chance to go and sit drinking coffee and watch the world go by on at least a third of those days.
I have enjoyed a 2-week trip to discover the north coast of Scotland on a motorbike
I have not cleared my garage out
I have not taken control of my garden
I have not redecorated even part of my house
My lathe is chronically under-used.
I have started working again, albeit very part-time and doing something that is stress free and great fun.
I ended my working life reporting to a boss who I still count as a very good friend (he doesn’t ring, he doesn’t write!! 😊 ) and started working again for someone I am also lucky enough to call a friend.
Talk about landing on my feet!
I have now planned out the second year of my retirement. It didn’t take long. More of the same please (except a bit more turning)!!!
I won’t bore you with it though.
It is his fault you know – I bought my very first lathe from Steve Giles. He even loaned we three chisels to make sure I used it and didn’t give it back!!
Steve didn’t start out as a wood-turner – he had a very short-lived job as a zookeeper.
He lost his job very quickly which he didn't think was fair. There were signs everywhere saying do not feed the animals, so he didn’t.
Steve joins us on Tuesday as our guest demonstrator. I say guest, he is a member of the club, so we are lucky enough to have a professional turner as one of our members. Steve has a wonderful back catalogue of work, he teaches people how to turn, he wears awful braces. He demonstrates (as you will see on Tuesday), he has some wonderful lathes at home and also has Sheila at home as well. The latter is probably at the root of my jealousy!!
Naturally I need to look him up on google, as per. This is what I found….
Really – Google gave me a squirrel? (Germans can’t say Squirrel – if you know one – ask them to say it)
Not many of you know I used to be a balloon pilot, no – really, I was. I remember my first solo flight – I was very nervous.
Control Tower – GB-KCC can you give me your position
Me : I'm next to a cloud that looks like a Lion
Control Tower: - GB-KCC Can you be more specific
Be there Tuesday to see Steve Giles. Did I give him his chisels back?
Keeping it short
That’s it folks. I need to get up early tomorrow, and I want to send this tonight, so no more.
Well, perhaps one more.
A woman decides to have a face lift for her 50th birthday. She spends £150,000 and looks sensational.
On her way home, she stops at a news stand to buy a newspaper. Before leaving, she says to the shopkeeper, ‘I hope you don’t mind my asking, but how old do you think I am?”.
‘About 32,’ is the reply.’
‘Nope! I’m exactly 50,’ the woman says happily.
A little while later she goes into McDonald’s and asks the counter girl the very same question.
The girl replies, ‘I’d guess about 29.’ The woman replies with a big smile, ‘Nope, I’m 50.’
Now she’s feeling really good about herself. She stops at a sweet shop on her way down the street.
She goes up to the counter to get some mints and asks the assistant the same burning question.
The guy responds, ‘Oh, I’d say 30.’
Again, she proudly responds, ‘I’m 50, but thank you!’
While waiting for the bus to go home, she sees me waiting next to her and asks the same question.
I replied, ‘Madam, I’m 63 and my eyesight is going – I also have a broken knee (but I don’t like to mention it) . Although, when I was young there was a sure-fire way to tell how old a woman was. It sounds very forward, but it requires you to let me put my hands under your bra Then, and only then I can tell you EXACTLY how old you are.’
They wait in silence on the empty street until her curiosity gets the better of her. She finally blurts out, ‘What the hell, go ahead.’
So I slipped both of my hands under her blouse and began to feel around very slowly and carefully. I bounced and weighed each breast and gently pinched each nipple. I pushed her breasts together and rubbed them against each other.
After a couple of minutes of this, she says, ‘Okay, okay.....How old am I?’
I completed one last squeeze of her breasts, removes my hands, and said, ‘Madam, you are 50.’
Stunned and amazed, the woman says, ‘That was incredible, how could you tell?’
I said ‘I was behind you at McDonalds’.
Until Tuesday – and remember – you are lucky!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Kennet Valley Woodturners
H: 01635 826009