2021 - Happy new year to one and all. I hope this finds you doing something sensible at home besides eating. I remember a few years ago wondering if I would every see 2021 and a retirement (did I mention I was retired?) - but I damn well made it this far at least.
We are hanging on to our KVWT community as best we can under the circumstances. It is painful that we still cannot get together, but I shall continue to write to you and try to keep you informed of all that is happening - your only duty is to try to stay awake until you get to the end of this email. I do hope that you are doing your best to get into the workshop and do some turning, I know it is cold, but a good string vest will work wonders to keep you warm. As I will mention shortly, I am doing my best to get out and make a nuisance of myself and keep busy in a very socially distanced manner.
This month the club is joining forces with Berkshire again to watch a remote demonstration. We had Christmas - I think. Sadly we have people in hospital. We have others who are ill. We are working on a diary for 2021 without knowing when we will meet. We are working up to an AGM under almost impossible circumstances. We are missing you, and I dearly hope you are missing us. We should crack-on before your armchair makes you fall asleep.
Our January demonstration will be provided by Sue Harker. This is being done online and kindly offered to us by our friends at Berkshire Woodturning Club with whom we are so pleased to have built up a good relationship. Because it is being organised by Berkshire it will happen on their Club night which is 20th January *not* our normal night which is 12th January. I will send out a link in the next few days as soon as I get it. Once again - 20th January *not* 12th January.
Sue comes from the East Coast of England near Bridlington in East Yorkshire - but lets not hold that against her - I expect we will understand a few words even though they will be northern. 😊 It promises to be a really interesting evening. I just hope we get the right one, if you look at here picture you will see the similarity that I found when I looked on Gougall in the interweb. Sue Harker or Sandy Toksvig?
I guess whichever one we end up with we will have a grand evening. I will send you a link to the evening on the 20th January as soon as I can.
It will come as no surprise that we will not have a Saturday workshop this month as we will be in be in tier (insert random number here) lockdown. To that end - and to allow us a little piece of banter, chat, friendly conversation and a general get together with other people you know from Kennet Valley Woodturners, we will be hosting a drop-in coffee morning. You have to provide the coffee, in fact go mad and have a biscuit as well. We will provide the venue - it is called Zoom and hides in your computer.
There are a large number of members who belong to the club but are not happy to, or not able, to join us when we have a remote (online) meeting. I would love for that to change and for that reason we will have a completely informal online chat on Saturday 23rd January starting at 10:00am. This is a social get-together to talk about anything you want. It is true - you can do “social” on the internet - you just have to try. In case you are worried about what to do, you just have to click on this link and it will open up a window that will take you into the meeting. You can do this on a PC, you can do this with a smart-phone or a tablet. On the PC it is nice to have a microphone and camera - but if you don’t have one you can still join, see and listen to what is going on and then use your keyboard to type in comments and chat to people. If you have not tried it before - then please do, it would be lovely to see you.
Spare a thought please for a few members who are having a rough time. Our own treasurer John Austin has been in hospital since the middle of December. He has had a bad time there but hopefully is on the mend. Oddly he was in the same ward - and in a bed just opposite, another KVWT member, Steve Jameson who is very unwell. Added to this I know Mike Larby has also been diagnosed with a rotten health issue and I am pretty sure would appreciate contact with anyone close enough to have his phone number. I do hope you understand that I will not detail anything about how unwell they are or what the issues are, I can confirm though that they are not ingrowing toenails or any thing spread by messy nonsense with members of the opposite gender after contact behind the bike sheds. I wish them all the very best that they would wish themselves, and I hope to report back with better news next time. Perhaps those of us who do say little prayers from time to time may spare them a generous mention.
Last year the club AGM was the best attended February meeting in living memory. I am so upset that this was the last one we had before the unpleasantness. It has come around again in a very quick 12 months further on - but this time we cannot meet in person so it will be really interesting to see how many people join us. The AGM will pose several problems. As already stated our Treasurer is in hospital and quite unwell. I did consider mounting a midnight raid to break into Basingstoke hospital to ask for his passwords so I could access the club accounts prior to the AGM. My good lady wife suggested that this might be a tad insensitive under the circumstances and I reluctantly agreed. Suffice to say that bugger-all has happened since the last report he presented to the committee prior to his illness and the club is in a very healthy state. Speaking personally and knowing that things are tidy in that corner I really don’t give a Friar Tuck if we cannot present audited accounts at the AGM.
Bookings for demonstrators next year are fluid, as we don’t know who will be remote and who will be able to attend personally. An example is Gary Rance. Gary does not do online demonstrations, so I have booked him for November 2021. Bottom line is he will either be able to attend, or we will be in Tier 14 by then and he will have to stay at home in his bedroom and only allowed to look outside through the bedroom window. As above, we have Sue Harker in January, the AGM in Feb, Todd Raines in March - April TBC and our friend Les Thorne on May.
More importantly other AGM conventions will certainly apply, and your opinions are actively sought on several club issues, the membership fee for next year being one of them. We committee members have several ideas about the coming 12 months regarding membership fees and absolutely must have one of them agreed prior to applying the favoured option. I will hopefully be able to send details prior to the AGM, but following the next committee meeting which will be held on 19th January. Another thing we should be aware of. If you have anything you would like to raise at the AGM then please do let us know. You can write to me if you like, or you can write to the club email address on email@example.com.
The Reg Bailey cup will still take place this year at the AGM - we will have a similar entry to our Christmas competition for the Ladies Choice. I will outline the Reg Baily cup in my next email - but basically it is open to whatever you have made in the last year that you are most proud of. So get your entry ready and be prepared to submit it so that you can see if you could win the Reg Bailey Cup.
Bottom line… We still exist as a club, we still value your membership and we still want to help you become better turners - and have a social outlet as well. It is harder than ever now that we are all being forced (for good reasons) to become hermits, but perhaps generating a few shavings will help to ward off the stir craziness. If any of you have suggestions about how we can “club together” (pun intended) to help each other then for goodness sake please let me know.
Did we have Christmas?
Christmas was a bit of a giggle, much easier than most years when I volunteer to help to cook for about 75-80 people in Newbury - they generate a lot of washing up!! We had an extra 25 from the council this year and fed 100 needy people but this time they were not allowed in the hall, so we sent meals out in takeaway containers. Result!! More people fed and less washing up - thank you Santa! If only we had a bigger kitchen we could have done even more. Even better this year we only had to wash the pots and pans so my hands (that do dishes) are as smooth as my face with mild green fairy liquid.
I’ll do anything to get out of the house as most of you know, some of what I do seems charitable, but it is a very good reason to go out through the front door, jump on my bike and see the world (and keep making sure it is still there). I was running around on my motorbike before Christmas having a great time delivering gowns and masks to all and sundry around the country while other people had to stay indoors. I have now volunteered to be at the Covid19 vaccination sites as well, it will be up at the Racecourse at Newbury. “Any previous experience?” they asked - “well I was pretty good at Darts” I said - “You’ll do” they cried and dragged me in. They have given me a grinding wheel to sharpen the needles and a bottle of Jeyes Fluid to make sure they are clean before we use them - safety first!!
I have protective gear hanging off every limb ready to organise parking at Newbury Racecourse (in case they don’t want me to actually give the injections, it’s doubtful but you have to plan ahead), I feel more like a deep sea diver that a steward. Two masks, a rubber under-suit, industrial strength marigolds, a hat, ear protectors and a pair of glasses that make me look like a cyberman - I am expecting to be assaulted by Dr Who with his/her sonic screwdriver any minute.
If I see you up there in the next few months just stand well back before you drop‘em as I expect I shall need a good run-up with the needle.
Most of you are aware of my friend Symptom-Ian. We are both of an age, as are some of you. During a conversation about something or other I happened to mention to him that if he is having any issues in the trouser department then he should not waste money buying those Viagra tablets. Just buy brown bread. If you eat it for about a week or so it helps to get you get - how should I say this - “interested”. I’ll give it a go he said. Good as gold, on a Monday just before Christmas he went into the bakers in the little village where he lives. He was unsure how long they would be open over Christmas so he asked for two loaves of Brown bread instead of one. The nice young lady behind the counter said “Two Loaves Ian?” “Yes please” he said. “Well eat is quickly then” she said “it will be hard as nails by the weekend” - Ian perked up, “Really - in that case make it four!”
A history lesson for you in case your local explorations have been somewhat curtailed lately. I had a little ride out to Lambourne recently. I don’t know if you are aware - but it has a little airfield. It opened in the 1920s, Lambourne Airport operated and early service Paris. It was one of these flights that brought the great French dessert chef Escoffier to Lambourne, where he set about traditional English tarts, and was soon famous for his Spotted Dick.
Early charity parachute jumps also took place at Lambourn Airport, including the first made by a blind man. Older staff at the aerodrome remember it as a unique occasion, as they'd never before heard a golden labrador scream.
Other visitors were the Wright brothers, who demonstrated their new flying machine in 1907. Visitors to Hungerford museum will find photographs of Wilbur, sat at the controls in his flying suit, and Orville, sat on his lap in a duck costume.
To the south of Lambourne is Hungerford, the early home of the Jockey Club. Founded in 1752, it's responsible for the control and regulation of underpants. Finally there is an old coaching Inn (The Red Lion) in Lambourne. History records it's here that Queen Mary bathed up to her waist in fine claret. One courtier who tasted the wine had difficulty describing its flavour, saying there was a hint of something he couldn't put his finger on.
Enough of history. I shall bring you a guide to Reading next month if I remember.
To give me something to do I joined a club for mime artists. They asked me to leave pretty quickly though, I think it was something I said.
Do you think perhaps that that chopsticks are why the Chinese never invented custard?
Tony Harvey recently learned that you should never to take a sleeping tablet and a laxative on the same night
So, I will write soon about the invitation to the demonstrator Sue Harker. Remember though - it is Wednesday 20th January not the 12th January.
Stay safe, stay well, stay healthy and stay home.
Kennet Valley Woodturners
H: 01635 826009