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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.

67 - While Shepherds wash their socks by night

Have a happy whatever the hell it is for you – and many more.

It’s coming up to Merry Christmas-time for me – and my family. I can’t be doing with “Happy Holidays.”

Things are quiet on the wood-turning front – albeit I do have some to do for January – see below for more details.

Once again – a short and pointed email this month – I am not in the email "zone", having just lost a close family member following a protracted illness so I am not my normal foolish self.

That said – life goes on and we have to be grateful for what we had and what we still have. I will make sure to annoy you all next week with some incredibly bad jokes, some really easy quiz questions and the occassional harder one.

What have we here.

  1. Annual “do”

  2. January monthly meeting

  3. AGM in February

  4. New cupboard

  5. Dates and events to be published.

The Annual Do

I don’t know if we have ever had such a lively response to people attending the end of year bash. If you have not already told us you are coming – beware – seats will be hard to find.

I am off to spend a few more pennies on prizes for the winners of the Quiz. I am spending more this year having been beaten up last year for my selection box of Aldi’s best crappy chocolate. Surely it’s not the winning – it’s the taking part – and the best part about winning my quiz is the particularly awful prizes! 😊

This year I have upped the Super Prize End Result Money (that’s S.P.E.R.M. for short) to almost 35 pence per person.

I have a very good music round – even though I say so myself. I then have a lovely round where all of the answers are linked. The Brexit Round will determine who is staying and who is going before the second half. There will be a general knowledge round as well.

A small change will be obvious, I decided that asking the questions and keeping track of the answers and scores is actually quite hard – so I have employed someone to help me make sure the scores are recorded accurately with absolutely no chance of error. I am lucky to get her because her employers have made sure she is not doing an awful lot at the moment, I am sure you will all welcome my assistant, Dianne Abbot.

We have new members this year who will not know what we do – so here is the S.P. for the evening.

It is free for all – there is no fee for the evening – it is included in your membership The aim of the evening is for you to bring your partner along (if you are lucky enough to have one – if not nick one from next door) to meet all the other members who enjoy your habit of making designer shavings.

It is our way of helping you to say thank you to them for the pain and mess they have to go through for the rest of the year. There will be a quiz, teams are formed by joining others at a table where you think intelligent people are sitting. (Yes I know!)

Last year the quiz was won by a table containing 42 people – so this year we must ask you to spread out a bit. (That was a joke – it was actually won by people who looked intelligent – or so they said) There will be food and it will be excellent. I just hope there is enough as we are expecting a bonanza number of people this year.

There will be drink and this, sadly, will not be free. We are not running a bar as such – but a small choice of soft drinks and some wine of various colours. It is cheap – and warm. Please drink responsibly – if you are thinking of drinking and driving, please make sure you have a car.

Last year Denis Winter took a bus home – which is clever as he has never driven a bus before. The competition is ladies choice – the intention is something that a lady would find useful. It will be voted on by the ladies during the half-time break. We will award cups for the competitions (assuming I remember to collect them from the engravers tomorrow).

There will be a Christmas tree. I know – exciting isn’t it. There might be a Les Barker poem – one of his poems went down well last year.

We do have fun – and given the increased S.P.E.R.M. count this year I hope it will be equally memorable.

If you want to be really well prepared you should stay up late and read all of the internet.

January monthly meeting

I tried to keep the demonstrator’s budget under control for this last year – and in this regard I booked myself, Tony Harvey and John Austin to present an evening of hints and tips on January 14th.

Imagine the hard work, research and practice this has involved – and then imagine that we have done none.

Guess which one will be more accurate.

I do have some turning to do in order to get some examples ready.

Actually we are in a pretty good place, and it does give me an excuse to meet John Austin at his house for free tea and a cake, for research. Meet Denis Winter in a pub, purely for research. Sit down with Tony Harvey over a bacon sandwich – to research and make notes. Finally go through details with Harvey Grimwood (as he has very bravely just volunteered to joins us! Top man) over a couple of glasses of vintage champagne to agree his part in the evening.

Thinking about it, I may have mixed up the last one with when I spent a lovely afternoon with Sandra Grimwood when Harvey was out?

It is the first time we have tried to do this (not me and Sandra – I mean the hints and tips evening) and it will be interesting to find out how it goes. If any of you have any super-duper little tricks you want to share – get in touch with me over the next few weeks please! If I am out – leave a message – I am probably with Sandra.

A.G.M. in February

It has been an eventful year one way or another. In February we get a chance to reflect on the year just gone and look forward to the next 12 months or more. The committee has taken some big hits this year – and illness has taken its toll and continues to do so. If you feel you can help share the load – we will, as always, welcome any assistance or new members. Although not always the most exciting evening of the year – it is nice to get a good number of members through the doors to voice their opinion – good or bad – and discuss the club and its general direction. There are a few good points of discussion due in February – including a discussion about our demonstrator due in September 2020.

This year we have the AGM on 11th Feb 2020. Once again -"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.

You are welcome.

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 more of the normal 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, 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.

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!

On top of this we do of course also compete for the Reg Bailey Cup. 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!

New Cupboard

The fact that we have a new cupboard to store our equipment in sounds quite boring – but the whole process was anything but. When we decided to buy the new lathe for the club last year it was in the sure and certain knowledge that we did not have enough space to store it. That meant we needed a larger cupboard, or get rid of a lathe.

Colin Cooper stepped up to the mark and volunteered to build us a new one – and at the same time create a rolling stand for it that not only meant we didn’t have to carry it in and out of the back room, but we could also put the other record lathe into the bottom of it and wheel that out at the same time. A work of genius. Armed with help from various people, but mainly Ray (when heavy lifting was needed) he accomplished a wonderful thing. If you have not seen it yet – have a look and be impressed.

Colin – you deserve a medal, an Oscar, a BAFTA or a Nobel prize or something.

Thank you very much from all of us.

Dates and Events

Things have crept up on me and we still have gaps in next years calendar. I will fill it – but it is never normally this late. Events have overtaken us and it will be a bit last minute – but we will fill all of our slots.

We also have two diary changes next year – the February and (I think) the May dates are changing to the fifth Saturday of the month instead of the fourth. Not a problem this far out as we know about it and we have yet to print the calendar. We will also remind you closer to the time.

And finally

Normally I look up the demonstrators on the internet – this month however there is nothing to look up. While typing this I was listening to a little background music. AC/DC in this case. Fairly quickly I started to feel nostalgic for the old glam-rock stars. People who knew how to dress up and splash out a bit on their costumes and make-up.

I present Exhibit one. The 70’s and 80’s look.

Exhibit two is showing the millionaire rock star and lead guitarist from AC/DC Angus Young, resplendent in the photograph below in black shorts, white socks and black shoes.

Do I hear someone saying “Fashion Icon”?

..or do I hear someone say “If I had his money I wouldn’t care either!”

Angus Young

You’re Welcome

Phil Boulter

07836 274345

01635 826009

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