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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.

81 - Kennet Valley Woodturners will soon be back- meanwhile here is the news!

Hello my dusty playmates. I hope this email finds you all well, rested, jabbed and excited about meeting up again.

A good deal of the easter holiday was spent working too bloody hard indoors shifting stuff around upstairs to create a home office for the mem-sahib so that she can work from home in peace and quiet instead of downstairs on the dining room table. The office sees the introduction of a new desk (it’s electronic so it goes up and down at the press of a button, I have no idea why?) along with a new chair that doesn’t, several screens (she has three on the desk) and a china cat. No, I have no idea concerning the relevance of the china cat - all I know is that one day it will break and regardless of where I am in the world, it will be blamed on me. To be fair, technology left my good lady wife far behind, last night I caught her trying to rewind a DVD?

Enough, the way things are going it looks like we can play again before too long. Prior to that there are a few things to cover, a few announcements, a couple of messages and a few online get-togethers.

That said, as I sit here sucking on the tip of a thoughtful pencil, I can’t remember everything I need to write about. Such is the blessing of getting (only slightly) older. I shall let my podgy fingers trip lightly over the keyboard for a short while and see what rubbish ensues, and we can take it from there.

We have now all experienced the clocks going forward to herald the launch of British summertime, and the subsequent snow storms that give us comfort in the knowledge that global warming has no bloody idea how to react. I get the feeling that the next ice age will begin with sub-tropical weather and a glut of pineapples being grown in Scotland, but as usual - I digress dear reader - please make allowances.

Here is what I have to say in summary.

  1. Hannah McKeand

  2. Next week we meet Tim Yoder - he is our Demonstrator this month - so please be excited.

  3. Remember your membership

  4. Back together - lets turn again, like we did last summer!!

Hannah McKeand

OK - this is coming from left field - and bear with me dear reader - you will like this one. Every month we entertain demonstrators from all over the country in our little church hall in Padworth. Latterly this has had to be online because of the Covid thingy. I had a daft idea just before Christmas to try to get someone to give us a treat, a change, a talk about something other than spinning wood making something round and brown. Sadly the person I needed to talk to was out of range of a Vodafone signal because she was in Antarctica and not available until she returned home to Utah at the end of February. Vodafone huh!!!

This changed the other day when I had a wonderful treat. A high spot during the Easter weekend occurred when I managed to talk to that person I needed and had not seen for over 20 years. Hannah McKeand is the individual in question - I am very lucky that she is a friend going back something like 30 years - a sore topic in itself because Hannah told me that I didn’t know her when she was 2 years old! That aside - it was one of those meetings (in this case over the World Wide Interbook using Zoom) where I looked at the other person and thought to myself - “Oh God - she still looks almost exactly like I remember her - after 20 years she only looks about 5 years older.” “.. here I am sitting with my long uncut hair and she must be thinking to herself “ my god he looks as gorgeous as he ever did, and perhaps even looks younger!” I feel for her because it is a cross I have had to bear for many years. Not everyone has the good fortune to be like me with retained youthful good looks, the presence and demeanour of a college professor and the body of a racing whippet. I suffer my irresistibility daily and curse mother nature for making me so perfect.

Sorry - again, I digress. My mind wanders like this sometimes, but matron told me not to worry and that someone will take me for a walk soon and then a nice cup of tea and a biscuit.

Hannah - yes that was it. Hannah McKeand. Hannah is one of those people who “do” rather than “say”. Even now I don’t know if Hannah is restless, gets bored easily, is an adrenaline junkie, feels she has something to prove (believe me she doesn’t) or just one of those people who’s bucket list is almost empty - but when it gets low - she just tops the bugger up again. As I think of what she has done over the years I get out of breath in sympathy and need a rub-down with a damp copy of the sporting life. Lets think of a few things;

  • A degree in classics before working for the AA, and then the Watermill Theatre in Newbury and a tour manager a Shakespeare touring Company

  • The best balloon retrieval crew member I ever met (see below)

  • She is tall! (To be fair so are other people - but this is a delaying tactic while I remember the other stuff)

  • Guinness World Record, fastest person to ski solo and unsupported from the coast of Antarctica to the South Pole. Held for four years until beaten by a man, but was the fastest woman for 10 years (She has been to the North Pole too!!)

  • Sue Ryder Foundation Woman of the Year

  • Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society

  • Has presented the Gold Duke of Edinburgh awards at St James' Palace with His Royal Highness Prince Philip (I wonder if she learned any new swear words?)

  • Invited to a reception at 10 Downing Street with Prime Minister Gordon Brown

  • In 2010 Hannah completed more South Pole expeditions than anyone in history

  • Invited to join the Explorers Club in 2010 (that is prestigious)

  • 2018 AITO Travel Writer of the Year

Oh - I forgot - Hannah first sold everything to go on holiday to walk (untrained) to the south Pole in 2004, and then sailed round the world in the Clipper Round the World Yatch race in 2005. Bucket list - what bucket list? As if this was not enough - she was partly responsible for stealing all my clothes and then putting a very very very full paddling pool of water in my tent in Metz in France. That was the day I learned what a meniscus curve was. Finally, something I will be forever grateful for, Hannah was one of the two people who made it possible for my wife and I to fly out of our wedding reception in 1997 in a hot air balloon instead of driving off in a car!!

Hannah has very kindly offered to give us all talk about her very wonderful adventures in the next few weeks on a date to be arranged - probably one Sunday afternoon or early evening in the next few weeks. Now I come to think of it, I was not specific about the subject - so if she does give us a talk about flower arranging or mending punctures in your bicycle or similar - just bear with me and I’ll give her a nudge!!!

I will let you know details of the date and time as soon as I can.

Tim Yoder

Once again we cross the Atlantic to welcome talent from America. Tim Yoder is a well known turner, popular in the USA and well known in many countries. I didn’t find out until recently that Tim actually has an Emmy TV award for a program he used to do on the PBS network. To be fair - that doesn’t make him a better turner - but he can certainly perform I a relaxed manner in front of a camera.

Tim will be demonstrating a couple of projects aimed at the beginner turners among us. This is particularly useful as we have been lucky enough to gain members during the lockdown, but sadly not met them in person, and not been able to help guide them through their first novice steps with our hobby. Covering the basics of course is also useful for the old hands, as bad habits can develop (not all of them make you go blind) and it serves as a good reminder to watch some of these tips.

I really do suggest that you dial in to the meeting next week and see what Tim has to offer - and I know you will enjoy it. It won’t be long now before we can enjoy seeing demonstrators in person - until we do we should enjoy the variation that the World Wide Interbook provides. See also below for a special treat.

Remember your membership

As per previous reminder - please rmeember your membership this year - reduced to £25 each because we can’t meet together - details are as per last email - see below.

Meeting again

Just before I draw to a close (it is late) - I will send out a diary showing when we can meet again. Initially it will be in the car park at Padworth on a Saturday morning - I June I think - and hopefully in the club in either July or August. Keep an eye on the emails for more news.

In the meantime, please be careful out there. Get your jabs, keep away from people you don’t know, and remember to wake up every morning until we see you again. I hope to write again next week, I will certainly send out joining details for the Zoom meeting with Tim Yoder in the next day or two - so please watch out for that.

Someone said to me the other day, if you're going to make a parachute jump, at least how high should you be? I said 3 days of steady drinking should just about do it.

Enjoy making shavings, or beer, until then!!

Phil Boulter

Vice Chairman

Kennet Valley Woodturners

M:07836 274345

H: 01635 826009

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