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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.

41 - July 2018 - Turned into summer

Updated: Sep 29, 2018

From: Boulter, Phil Sent: 22 July 2018 14:27 To: Subject: Turned into summer - KVWT

Hello my suntanned buddies. I am hoping this missive finds you fit, healthy, hot, bothered and as dry as a kangaroos jockstrap.

5 weeks of good weather is turning the joke about our normal British “one day summer” into a bit of a tired joke. Sad to say I am spending all of it in an office or car and therefore unable to make the most of it.

It is raining in Scotland though – there is still a god!

Seriously, if we keep getting this really hot weather I am thinking of letting the dog drive while I put my head out of the window for a change.

All that driving will change though – stay with me reader….

So what do we have for you this month? Is it worth reading on, or is it just the normal rubbish that spews forth form the sewer that is Boulter’s brain.

I can’t lie – it is rubbish, but as my old dad used to say – at least it’s British rubbish!!

Herewith, the short agenda.

  1. The Next Saturday workshop

  2. Charity begins outside the home

  3. The Newbury Show

  4. The next members evening

  5. Ramblings of a fool and a decision

I shall also place this diatribe onto so you can read it on your PC phone or tablet. How modern is that!!

The next Saturday workshop

I did notice the abundance of moustaches while I was driving through Up-north High Street. Apparently the men their grow them because they like to look like their sisters.

I digress.

We are hot, bothered, but raring to go. Those of you who are not on holiday will be coming along to our Saturday workshop on 28th July I hope. Holiday – who am I kidding, most of you live your lives as one long holiday and would not dream of going away now just when the kids are starting their summer holidays. Just don’t get me started. The only benefit I get for the next 6 weeks is an ever so slightly reduced rush hour queue for work, counter-balanced with shops full of bored kids.

Surely we should be allowed to set traps!

I was up t’north again recently, and at least they have the decency to send their kids up chimneys during the holidays to make a few extra bob for the annual day out on the beach. The little oiks need the beach to wash the soot out of their hair and their clothes.

The Saturday workshop on Saturday 28th July will see us going mad making Eggs, Egg Cups and Spinning Tops. While a basic job – all of these things are good practice for spindle turning, and recognition of basic shaping, even the spinning tops of which there are a million different designs.

If we are lucky Harvey may even bring his special egg making equipment (home-made and well worth seeing)

The spinning tops are for the Newbury show of course (which is now known by a longer and more boring name) – more of that later – but if you have a few off-cuts at home, don’t throw them away. Make a couple of spinning tops, add some colour if you wish and then bring them to the next Saturday workshop of members night and we will add them to the bag and take them to the show.

Charity begins outside the home.

Most of you will know Mike Larby and how he lost his lovely wife Margaret not so long ago. The latter part of her life on this earth were spent being cared for by St Michaels Hospice as well as by Mike. This organisation work hard to bring help, comfort and support to terminally ill individuals, and their families.

In the coming year or so it will cost £3.9 million to provide this help, and only £800,000 of that comes from local government, the other £3.1m comes from donations. At this point I could swear profusely and rant against the unfairness of it all, but this communication is not the organ for such a rant, and my feelings on the matter (after the loss of my own Mother in law last year) is one of anger and not appropriate for all of your tender ears.

Mike has taken up a post to help St Michaels do some simple fund raising, and has asked the committee whether there is anything the club can do in some small way to help. Personally I think it is not only appropriate to consider it, it is something we should embrace.

I know for many people charity begins in the home, and I fully support that emotion for many reasons and accept the motive. Equally I support those who ask for help for good causes, especially when it engages so very much with something that has happened close to home and to the heart. I earnestly hope many of us will not have to go through the misery, the pain, the treatment, the uncertainty, and the ultimate devastation when all hope was gone, that Mike and his beautiful wife Margaret went through. Sadly some of us have already had or shared some of that pain.

Enough – this is getting heavy – and that was not really my intention. What I am doing here is asking for understanding on Mike’s behalf. In committee last Tuesday we decided that we could see a way that we should “adopt” the St Michaels Hospice charity for 12 months or so, and see if we can find a way to raise some funds or assist. I want to be clear here and say immediately that we are not on the road to raise thousands of pounds, we are looking at a few pounds in some way or another, and to also supply some gifts by way of turned pieces that they can offer as raffle prizes or for sale directly. Perhaps we will place a few donation tins about the place during the year – but most of all, it is about perhaps a few of us doing some small things which, when added up, may bring in a few pounds.

Here endeth the lesson as they say. Almost.

Have a look in your hearts and your cupboards and see if there is a turned piece that you would be willing to donate so that they can make a few quid in a sale or a raffle. It is a good cause and god only knows I hope I never have to go through the pain that Mike and Margaret did. Thank you!

The Newbury Show

I was given a very useful tip the other day by Harvey Grimwood, he said “I learned never to criticise the post office - one day they may find out where I live.” Wise words.

OK, the Newbury Show, or The Royal County of Berkshire Show 2018 as posh birds call it.

We are blessed with an invitation this year to have our own stand, a whole 9 yards by 6 yards apparently, I am not sure what this is in foreign, several kilometres I expect. I believe we are going to be in the new for 2018 Craft Courtyard. I do know we are outside instead of inside, so we don’t have to worry about covering people with dust. The web-site says;

NEW FOR 2018 - the Craft Courtyard is a brand new addition to the craft tent, featuring amazing sculptures, furniture and many more larger, outdoor crafts for the home and garden.

We will do what we normally do and try to put on a good “face” for the club. People who come to the show come with money (or loaded pieces of plastic called credit cards) and are looking to spend. We are hoping the club, and members, could profit for this while we hunt for new members at the same time.

We do want to price accordingly by the way, we will not be selling bowls for a fiver – we want to make sure you get paid a decent whack for your hard work.

It will be a long weekend, the dates are 15th and 16th September and we will need to have people manning the stand in a rota for sections of the two long days (8.00am until 6.00pm). The next Saturday workshop, and the next members evening will see us trying to put a rota together to make sure we have enough people. Some of us will be there all day on both days, I know I will, and some of us will come and go. Keep your ears peeled at the next two meetings.

We will also be looking for well-turned and finished pieces to go on the stands. There will be a central collection of pieces a day or two before the show – venue TBC, and we will transport the items to the show on your behalf, or by mutual arrangement with you. Just so you know – we will cover them completely on Saturday night – we will not bring them away and take them back again on Sunday. There is however very tight security at the show. Don’t be shy – let’s put on a good display, and lets all see what can be sold for a good price.

You should also know that we will be organising to take payment by debit or credit card in anticipation of this as the club is in the process of purchasing our own card reader. Denis Winter – our chief technology correspondent, and John “The purse” Austin – our club treasurer have this well in hand.

The Newbury show – bring it on!!!! (Web site here.)

The next Members Evening

We had a bit of trouble at work this week. Someone has been removing all the notices and directions from work, visitors did not know which bathroom was for ladies or which was for gents, meeting rooms had no names on them, buildings (we have several) were becoming anonymous, and there was no obvious way our building could be recognised from the street as entire boards were being taken down and stolen.

We reported it of course and the police came to see us, there were whispers about an ex-member of staff who held a grudge. The police raided her flat, she vigorously denied all knowledge of the thefts, but to be honest all the signs were there…...

Sorry – that’s me going off sideways again.

Members evening on the 14th August then, simples – bud vase and flowers. (Also more of those pesky spinning tops on one of the lathes – so we may ask for someone to bring a small lathe if you have one.)

As usual we will split up into teams and make the best of the topic to win what we always award as our first prize – our very best wishes!!

Well it is holiday season, don’t expect miracles.

Ramblings of a fool

I was reading the radio times the other day (I don’t get it every week, sometimes just as a treat) it said that there was a program “Tonight on BBC1 – People are getting better looking (except for viewers in Scotland).” (It’s the red hair.)

Anyhow, I have only gone and blooming-well done it. I have handed my notice in, and I am retiring on September 28th. I shall become one of the great unwashed, and shall properly, finally and officially destroy my alarm clock.

You should also know I have planned my exit from the company premises so that I will be remembered…

46 years on the front line, man and boy, and it has come to this. The last 32 years have been at the same company, they are used to me now and make allowances.

I must admit it was a hard decision as there are so many people at work I consider to be very close friends, and so many that I admire. It will be a wrench to leave them behind as I embark on the last vicissitudes of my adult life. I will miss all of them of course – despite the fact that I am hardly moving to another planet – and I know I will still see them – specifically at local pubs at pre-arranged times when they need someone to poke fun at.

My lathe is calling. I am so busy at the moment that I do not have time to use either lathe – and when I bring the small one to Saturday workshops everyone else uses it but me. So I am looking forward to sharpening up my chisels and making my own shavings and seeing if I can master the art in some better way. Hopefully I can do justice to the money I spent on my new large lathe and make it all worthwhile.

I also have to work out how grumpy I should become. I have been observing local old codgers, including some of you at the club, and notice that there is a certain art, a panache that can be adopted to being a miserable old bastard. I expect that over many months or years I can hone my happy countenance and adopt some of the finer points of misery and a reasonable depressive and unhappy physiognomy cum-visage.

Also, at what age should I expect to no longer be dry?

I must also learn to dress down. I was talking to one of the girls at work about correct dress while on site and about the number 4 – this being the number of tailored suits I have in the wardrobe.

Well – I would have – if I had four suits and a wardrobe.

I was instructed by her to stay healthy in my old age, starting every day with black coffee and muesli. OK – lets rewind there for just a second, muesli!! If god had meant me to eat barn-floor sweepings he would have made Muesli smell like bacon.

I do need a car of course. The one I currently drive is a company car – and selfishly (in my humble but none-the-less accurate) opinion they want it back. As if that was not enough they are being rather childishly insistent about the return of the fuel card as well, which is a bit of a bummer. It’s not like they will notice – apparently it has something to do with the rules.

So I will not have to run a car and pay for petrol for the first time in about 40 years (yes I had a fuel card at my last company as well). How much is petrol I wonder?

Do people still pay road tax?

I think I have much to learn, or to remember. Perhaps I will buy a moped and trailer. People fit quite a lot on motorbikes apparently.

I think it might be a bit of a challenge to find somewhere to put a small lathe – but there must be an attachment of some sort that will make it possible.

I have much to plan for my retirement. While there will be much wood to turn, and believe me I have been building up a stock of wood over recent years, I am looking forward to being knee deep in shavings.

I do want to do a bit of travelling in the UK. I have friends to visit in pretty much most of the UK. Some people moved for work, some for family reasons, and some to simply get away from me. Don’t doubt it though – I will find you all!

I want to decorate the house, re-wire the garage, sort out the garden and do some local voluntary work.

Then there is the bucket list. (My friend Simon Catlin had a bucket list, and the number one item on his bucket list was to make love to twins. I told him to grow up because it would never happen. The one day he admitted he had actually managed it. I was impressed but had to ask the obvious question...”How did you tell them apart?” “It was easy” Simon said. “Sally had large boobs and a Brazilian wax-job – and Derek had a moustache and was bald”

Sorry – I am off again. Bucket list. I don’t have one. I shall think of some things perhaps for next month.

One thing I have been advised about it I will start to find it hard to hear as I get older. (I can see OK – I stopped that stuff when I needed glasses). Tony Harvey said that one day - after my retirement - I would find a suppository in my ear, and at that moment I would know where my hearing aid is.

September 28th – the big day. If just one of you tells me I will be really busy after I retire and will not know how I ever found time to work, you will get a slap.

Be good.

Phil Boulter

Vice Chairman

Kennet Valley Woodturning Club

07836 274345 Daytime work

01635 826009 Evening

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