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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.

40 - June 2018 KVWT - Skew were made for me

Updated: Sep 29, 2018

Goodness I have been busy. So much to do, so much to say and such a small amount of time. Now I know some of you will be sighing and saying “Thank goodness he has not been bombarding us with those bloody emails” Well hard luck, here comes another one.

Quick serious note – if you no longer want to get this email please tell me, I don’t want to waste other peoples’ time – goodness knows I waste enough of my own. I also do not want to offend – and if you prefer not to get emails I will not be offended. I say this because we have a few new members this month, including, I am delighted to say – a young woodturner called Thomas who promises to be a very good turner from what we have seen so far. Welcome to you all.

My boss James Watts has been invited to a wedding, one of his friends apparently. As you know from my recent emails, James lives up in the North, the place where a man will ask a lady for her hand in marriage with those famous four words “You’re not are you!!”

You will all know I have been bleating lately about being too busy, and that I need to shape up and do something about it – well I have as you know got a cleaner called Julia. In my previous missive I reported on her first visit – and now a few weeks later I can report that all is well and she is doing a wonderful job. I have to say that the sight of a clean house when I get in from work on a Monday evening is very therapeutic. I suggest you all get one, £20 pounds a week, she does 2 hours on her knees with a damp cloth and then goes home. Bliss.

So what do we have this month then?

1. Wasn’t Tony Halcrow good!!

2. We are due at the Yew Tree Inn next Saturday 30th June

3. Keep fit

4. Keith Fenton is on his way and I am looking forward to it.

5. Screw it

6. Line up for next year

7. The Newbury Show

8. How to enjoy work

9. Another new woman in my life.

1. Wasn’t Tony Halcrow good!!

He was – he really was. I have never seen anyone turn a Kangaroo before – and the fact that he also turned a little joey to go into his pouch added to the entertainment. Tony has been a friend of the club for more years than I can remember – and as a result he will be back, goodness only knows what he will do next time. Prior to his arrival I was asked what would happen about the untidy dress sense, the bad odour, the awful language and of course the constant “bodily” noises, but all I could say was “Tony – you will just have to make allowances – all the other demonstrators do!”

I am going to have to go and see him and find out how he does it with those marbles!!

2. We are due at the Yew Tree Inn next Saturday 30th June

The Yew Tree Fest! Although notably absent from their web-site there really is a to-do on Saturday 30th June – see this link for details on their Facebook page. As well as craft stalls (we will be there with our stall, and our items for sale) there are other local craft stall as well. There will be live music from 1.30pm, a free Gin bar, a local brewery offering tastings, and good food all day along with a cake bake-off. Out stall will be the closest to the outside bar as well. What could possibly go wrong. Email me for details if you want to go, and lets make it a great day. If you want to help I think we will meet at Padworth Village Hall to load up at about 9.00am. Apart from that just drop in during the day, or meet us there at 10.00am to setup.

2. Keep fat fit

I had to attend a pre-diabetic clinic last week, and they told me I had to keep a count of the number of steps I walk every day.

Do they know how hard that is. I have a busy life – sometimes I have to concentrate quite hard, and frankly I keep losing count. It is very annoying when you get to, say, 871 and someone says something like “what’s your phone number”, and as soon as you have finished telling them you can’t remember how far you got and have to start all over again. I did challenge the diabetic people about this and they told me to spend money on a fit-bit.

It was difficult – but I almost managed it when the lady I was negotiating with for a bit of fitness exercise turned out to be an undercover policeman-lady and I got arrested. The judge said he didn’t know what a fit-bit was either – although looking at the twinkle in his eye I think he knew perfectly well what it was and had paid for one before. In any case I was excused and declared “innocent by ignorance”, shown the door, and told to go to Boots. They showed me this thing you put on your wrist, it counts for you and records the results. I told them I didn’t want to record that – but they said no – it doesn’t record the wrist – it records steps!

Phew. (mind you there are some days I seem to walk further than I thought but I know I….. - well never mind.)

The first day I wore it, I put it on, drove to work after lunch and walked from the car park to the office. Apparently you are meant to walk 10,000 steps a day. It seems that from the car to the office was 1247 steps. Clearly this was going to be easy-peasy. Easy that is until someone pointed out that 12:47 was the time and that I have only walked 132 steps. Oh well..

I shall put it on next doors dog for an hour when I get home and throw the ball around a bit.

4. Keith Fenton is on his way and I am looking forward to it.

We do get a few demonstrators who are well prepared – but few as well prepared as Keith, and Keith has already sent in his demonstration handouts which you can download later for what he will be presenting for us on Tuesday 10th July. If you look at Keith’s website “Around Wood” you will see the sort of thing he enjoys doing. Personally I find the Cherry Goblet with Captive Rings in his Gallery most intriguing – I would love to see how it is done.

In keeping with all demonstrators – I typed “Keith Fenton Woodturner” into google and had a look to see what we ended up with. Try it – you will get the same as me I am sure. One of these is Keith – I can tell you for sure there is one there that I really hope will come and demonstrate something to me, and another one that I really hope does not turn up!!

Hopefully I have booked the right one. I shall keep my fingers firmly crossed in this case, if someone walks in wearing a yellow construction hat then for goodness sake follow me out of the fire exit at the rear of the building.

I am sure we will make Keith very welcome and have a great evening.

August is a break from Demonstrators, we have a members evening, and I am blowed if I can remember what the theme is, but I am sure it will come to me as soon as I send this.

5. Screw it

The Saturday workshop did not turn out so well for me this month. The theme of the evening was screw threads and I could not get the hang of it. Jim Coombs was spot on and made it look extremely easy, and showed a few people how it is done, as did Denis Winter on the main lathe.

Some of you will have seen that the Record Lathe went pop and died on Saturday We traced the problem to the stop switch and Mike Allen has found a place that will source a switch for us, so hopefully it will be up and working again in a couple of days.

6. Line up for next year

After Tony’s antics I know we will be inviting him to come and see us next year – perhaps late in the year. Les Thorne is constantly nagging me and asking me to book Gary Rance. (We should get them both I think) We do have another few turners in the wings as well, but I would like to throw a challenge out and ask the membership who they would like to see. We do try to keep the selection fresh, a couple of known turners, and a small number of new turners if possible. Some years it works and some years it is a little “Experimental” - but in general we are impressed with the plucky demonstrators who come and see us to keep us both entertained and educated.

7. The Newbury Show AKA The Royal County of Berkshire Show 2018 - Newbury Showground

What a mouthful (yes – actress and bishop sort of thing)

So we have an invite. This year Kennet Valley Woodturners have been invited to display and demonstrate that the Newbury Show (whatever it is called) – see their Web-Page here. We are lucky enough to have a large outside stand and we will be there for the whole 2 days showing, selling and making our stuff. Personally I think we are extremely lucky to have been invited – you should remember that normally it would be hundreds of pounds (sometimes even 4 figures) for a stand at the show, but (and I think our support every year for the Thatcham Festival of Arts and Leisure did us huge favours) we were invited by the council to join a very few other specially invited local craft organisations to come and demonstrate.

Bring it on! What a great shopfront for our membership. A super opportunity to show what we do and what our members are capable of. Hopefully we can even get some more membership interest and make it really worthwhile. We will be allowed to sell items as well, and hopefully this will help us to enhance the clubs funds.

More news as we get it, but make a date for the weekend of 15th and 16th September.

8. How to enjoy work

The company I work for are busy trying to cheer people up, and to that end they put on a few things this week lice free ice creams, free pizzas on a Friday, some fun competitions, and a sort of Barbeque and music type evening at the end of the week, (where I stood in the corner of the car park and demonstrated a bit of woodturning for a giggle.)

One of the “fun” things which I quite enjoyed was a bit of an animal “experience” where they brought in a few animals and creepy crawlies for us to handle. I held a fairly large orange-kneed spider, and a Meerkat.

One of the younger ladies from the office (Katie) seemed to be having fun with one of the animals I thought I recognised, and I wandered over in all innocence (you know me!) and asked if I could pet her beaver.

To be fair – HR did not need to get involved. Katie told me that I should be warned here that it wasn’t as nice as I thought – and it was actually quite smelly, and it was at this point the animal man-person pointed out that it was a skunk and not to get it too scared.

Some people do have filthy minds.

9. A new woman in my life

I have finally succumbed. I knew I needed a woman in the house who could answer simple questions, play me some of the music I liked and be quiet when I was watching TV, so I bought an Amazon Echo -and now have Alexa in my house.

It seemed like a good idea at the time, but this evening I have been trying to get it to work and am not having a lot of luck (yet). It seems you have to train an obedient woman, and I say this carefully remembering that we have some wonderful ladies of the opposite sex in the club and they will certainly hit me (very hard). The violence is because they are untrained of course.

So I have now tried to work out how it all operates, All you have to do is say “Alexa” and then ask a question.

Here we go, just remember to say Alexa before anything you say…

Me: Alexa – what is on the Telly

Alexa: What is a Telly

Me: A television

Alexa: - silence -

Me: Alexa A television

Alexa: What is

Me: A Telly

Alexa – Silence -

Me: Alexa A Telly

Alexa: I don’t know what that is

Me: Alexa it’s a Television

Alexa: What about it

Me: What is on it

Alexa: - silence -

Me: Alexa what is on it

Alexa: On what?

Me: Alexa (Yes - I am catching on) The television

Alexa: a Television is a device for viewing pre-recorded or entertainment or current affairs programs and news bulletins.

Me: Alexa – yes – but what is on it

Alexa: On what?

Me – Alexa – get stuffed.

Alexa – No

This was round one.

I tried again – I decided to see if we did well in the world cup against Panama

Me: Alexa What was England’s score yesterday

Alexa: England scored 481 all out

Me: Alexa Did Harry Kane get a hat-trick?

Alexa: Jonny Bairstow scored 139

Me: Alexa – are we talking about football or cricket

Alexa: I don’t understand

Me: Clearly

Alexa: - silence -

Me: Alexa Balls!!!

Alexa: I try not to swear.

Me: Alexa – no – seriously – shut the hell up.

This was round two.

Round three

Me: Alexa – Play the Beatles Help

Alexa: I can’t help the Beatles

Me: Alexa – play Help

Alexa: I don’t know that game

Me: Alexa Can I listen to Your Song

Alexa: I don’t have a song

Me: Alexa – it’s going to be a long night

Alexa: tonight the sun sets at 22:11

Me: tell me the weather quickly

Alexa – Silence -

Me: Alexa – It’s too late

Alexa: Playing it’s too late by Carole King

I am getting the hang of it – really I am – all I have to do is remember to say Alexa before any question. So if I wander up to you on the next Saturday workshop – or members evening – and I say “Alexa – how are you?” - just humour me, I may have completely lost it.


If you are reading this on the email then I shall see you in a couple of weeks when Keith Fenton is with us, unless you popped in to the Yew Tree Festival of course and had some of their free gin or beer.

Perhaps you are reading this along with some of the back issues of these daft emails on my web-site at some point in the future. In which case do you know where the hell I put my hoverboard?

I shall finish with a poem courtesy of Les Barker – look him up on YouTube – he is very funny indeed.

It was a calm, still day in Portishead,

The channel clear and wide,

As the last of the timber sailing ships

Set out on the evening tide.

They never saw that ship again;

They searched when it was light,

But that fine old timber vessel sank

That clear and peaceful night.

No one knows what happened

On that night in 1910;

But the crew and her cargo of woodpeckers

Were never seen again.

Be safe – make nice shavings safely.

On the subject of safe – we do have a new poster for people watching a woodturning demonstration to make sure they stay safe – I shall try to get it translated.

Don’t waste time – do it, it may be too late.

Phil Boulter

Vice Chairman

Kennet Valley Woodturning Club

07836 274345 Daytime work

01635 826009 Evening

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