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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.

69 - Wooden want to

Hello you wonderful Kennet Valley Woodturners

Almost another month gone by and now into the roaring twenties.

My wife bought a rampant rabbit. I wouldn't say it was her favourite sex toy - but it's up there....

I just found out I'm colour blind. The diagnosis came completely out of the purple.

Sitting down on a chilly late afternoon in the warm, with Alexa playing "Slow Jazz" (Try it – it is fantastic music) I am feeling very mellow. Then to really drift away I have discovered a chap called Teddy Swims. He is a new artist with a voice so gentle it is going to me used to make cream even smoother.

If you do nothing else then listen to Tennessee Whiskey - here It may even lead you to discover some of his other music on YouTube. Does this have anything at all to do with wood turning? – no, not really, but what the hell, time on this earth is too short not to tell people about wonderful musicians.

OK – so I am chilled out and relaxed – what do I have for you this month? (In no particular order)

  • Sausage Casserole

  • AGM Time

  • This year – who demonstrates?

  • More hints and tips – Members show-time

  • We need some warmer and dryer weather

  • Membership form re-sign

  • And in closing…..

Sausage Casserole

I forgot to mention, not only am I chilled out listening to Teddy Swims and slow jazz, I am also getting a healthy waft of a very carefully prepared sausage casserole from the kitchen. I prepared it an hour ago and it is getting to the point where the scent is driving me wild. Sadly I will need to eat “garden” with it (vegetables) but we do need our five a day I suppose. I wonder if I am allowed five sausages as well?

Our meetings

Our meetings are held in Padworth of course, close to Reading. You may not know this however the original name of Padworth was Siacric, an old Norse term which experts have translated as "Padworth."

Padworth is famous for its mystery plays, and regularly stages the story of Noah's Arc. Each year there's great competition among the women folk here to be chosen to play the part of his wife, Joan.

It is not well known that in the 1960s, Padworth became the birthplace of the discount trading warehouse, with the Comet chain starting here. Forty years on, Comet stores pride themselves that their staff can tell you everything they know about a under 4 seconds.

Padworth is also becoming home to the new National Sardine Museum, which was opened recently by the Mayor...or at least it would have been if the key hadn't immediately snapped off...

AGM Time

The AGM comes but once a year – a time to both reflect and plan, and plan on reflecting in fact – but do so in the knowledge that reminiscing is not what it used to be.

While there will be no actual turning done on Tuesday 11ththere is also no entry fee to make up for it. We will still be supplying tea and coffee and the occassional biscuit if they can be pried out of my hands. There is much to discuss, as well as the normal agenda.

Mike, as chairman will give his round up of the last 12 months, so I will not go into too much here, but it has been one of the toughest years I can recall. What I mean by this is that we have faced challenges that have tested a beleaguered committee and left us shorthanded on several occasions, and where equipment has let us down, and illness has not been our friend. Founder members have fallen by the wayside and will be sadly missed, others are fighting a battle with various ailments, chiefly cancer, and we do what little we can to support them and can do little more.

The committee has been badly affected with one member having to leave our small band (he continues his battle), and three more fighting serious illness themselves or with their partners.

Last month we had serious failure of our video equipment – this needs to be replaced.

We lost two Saturdays last year, something we want to avoid this year.

Steve Giles, one of our most talented members had to pull out of a demonstration at the last minute for health reasons, and he is battling the cause of this as I write this.

The Queen (#kneels down and bows) once had an “Annus horribilis” – we have basically had something similar in some ways which I call a “sh*t year”. That’s not exactly Latin, more Essex Street-speak.

All of this however does not leave me with a half empty glass – mine is always half-full (or being refilled). We have had super demonstrators, we have had very good shows, and have a healthy influx of new members. While we have had challenges – I believe we will overcome and will continue to become better turners and a happy club.

At the AGM we can talk about lots of stuff. Another members demo evening, remind ourselves about the buddy scheme, talk about Chris Fisher, Judging, new membership forms and members ranking.

To try to coax people in to the AGM we will be having a small competition for members who are cruise enthusiasts. The prize is sponsored by Floor Covering Monthly. The lucky floor covering - cruise fans could win 2 weeks on this luxury lino.

This year – who demonstrates? (plus more hints and tips)

We are very lucky – almost all of our demonstrators are good and get invited back. The perennial problem is repetition and cost. The very best demonstrators are expensive, and even the good ones struggle to keep us entertained or educated if we ask them back too often.

Fewer and fewer professional turners are now willing to demonstrate, they seem to be a dying breed. I am grateful that we have any at all, and that the ones we find are affordable. I normally have the club calendar for the year done by about October the previous year. This year I find myself approaching the AGM with one month still to fill. I am waiting for a phone call while I am composing this email.

Travel costs, along with the fact that (geographically) we reach further for new demonstrators make cost a major factor in selecting demonstrators. We have normally had 8 demonstrators in the 12 months covered by our membership year starting each February.

This is made up from 8 demo’s, two members evenings, one Christmas party and an AGM in a pear tree. Last year we had seven, this is because we snuck in with the hints and tips evening with Harvey showing us his balls and me wittering-on about hints and tips. One less demonstrator meant we could better afford the others. I aim to do the same this year – and I am already looking for ideas for the evening which will be presented by club members.

I have one very expensive demonstrator planned – we will discuss this at the AGM. So expensive in fact that we do need to get a consensus of opinion from members, as we should always remember that it is your money we are spending.

We need some warmer and dryer weather

My blood must be getting thinner. I get out on the motorbike at every opportunity – but bugger me it’s been wet and cold recently. Where’s all this global warming we have been promised? It hasn’t even snowed yet and its already too cold.

I can feel that sausage casserole calling me, should I put a sweater on perhaps? Apparently its going to warm up to 15 degrees tomorrow – but it is also going to pissistently rain – so I still can’t go out.

I need to practice. I am trying to get my skill levels up on the motorbike so I can get prepare for some training to get myself and advanced driving qualification, which in turn will allow me to do some shifts for the Blood Bikes – a wonderful organisation which saves the NHS a lot of money. (Apparently the savings on transport costs for one hospital saved them enough money to re-equip their kitchen.) I know – it should not be necessary – but while it is, there is good reason to chuck in and do one’s-bit. I am not being noble – just looking for more reasons to go out and ride my bike!

Membership form re-sign

We have lost track a little bit of who we have in the three categories of Novice, Intermediate and Advanced turners. Also it is always good to check our details are correct and that you are still happy to be contacted my email. Colin Sims has checked competition details and tried to assess who is in what category, but we do need an open and honest check by you as members.

I will reprint your membership forms and ask you to review and re-sign them to make sure we are happy. I should be able to do a mail-merge and put all of the current details in so all you have to do it sign it.

And in closing…

Nicola Sturgeon was touring Perthshire in the First Minister’s chauffeur driven car. Suddenly a cow jumped out into the road. They hit it full on and the car comes to a stop. Nicola in her usual jaunty manner says to the chauffeur, "You get out and check, you were driving." The chauffeur gets out, checks and reports that the animal is dead.

"You were driving, so you go and tell the farmer," says Nicola,” I can’t afford to be blamed for anything.” The chauffeur walks up the drive to the farmhouse and returns five hours later totally plastered, his hair ruffled and with a big grin on his face.

"My goodness, what happened to you?" asks Nicola. The chauffeur replies: "When I got there, the farmer opened his best bottle of single malt whisky, the wife gave me a slap-up meal and the daughter made love to me." "What on earth did you say to them?" asks Nicola.

"I knocked on the door and when it was answered, I said, 'I'm Nicola Sturgeon’s chauffeur and I've just killed the cow.'”

I am on a couple of motorbike groups on facebook on the interweb, today I saw one of the best back-handed replies I have seen recently.

A rider who is also a vegan asked if there were any really decent replacements for motorcycle suits which were not made of leather. He did get flamed by a few people, a few unfairly, but this one made me smile and probably made the original questioner fell any better.

I was in group chat on social media with a bunch of people I used to go to school with in the early 70’s. One of them said “My wife is an angel” – someone commented “You are lucky, mine’s still alive”

Support your local AGM!!!!! See you soon everyone.

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