T K Turns – wood turning

T K Turns – wood turning

T K Turns - wood turning

Made in Wiltshire

This post is the first in a series I’m going to run on this blog about Wiltshire craftspeople. Some of them will be hobbyists – others will be professionals earning a living from what they produce. But all of them will be people offering gorgeous things.

I don’t want to use the word ‘artisan’ – it’s overused and, as often as not, it’s incorrectly used. I get that the word ‘craft’ connotes knitting/crochet and felting – not that there’s nothing with that I hasten to add! – So I’ve gone with calling the section ‘Made in Wiltshire’.  This is largely a Swindon-centred blog but I’ve called it ‘Made in Wiltshire’ to allow for stretching a little beyond the boundaries of our beloved Swindon Borough Council.

If you’d like your creations featured here get in touch to discuss terms – they’re modest and vary – depending on whether you’re a pro or a talented hobbyist.

Getting the first turn – appropriately enough – is hobbyist Toby Kinton who is TK Turns. Below he writes in his own words how he got in to wood turning. It’s a nice story actually.

 I love the bowl with the resin inlay -I think that’s beautiful. I rather like the wine goblets too. #obvs

T K Turns – wood turning

I started wood turning by accident.  I had been to a medieval re-enactment and couldn’t understand why hand turned bowls were so expensive compared to the mass produced, machine made items that you can pick up in any supermarket.

One Saturday, when I had nothing else to do, I searched YouTube for ‘how to’ videos to try to work it out.  Eight hours later, I was still sitting there, watching artists from around the world make bowls and goblets magically appear from gnarly lumps of timber.  There is something hypnotic about the process – in the same way that one can get lost in the shape of a log fire, watching a form develop under the tools. I was hooked!  But unfortunately our 2 up/2 down in the centre of Swindon just didn’t have anywhere that I could put a lathe without serious detriment to my marriage. I was doomed to be a spectator. Or so I thought …

Around 18 months later, we had outgrown our little house and were on the hunt for a new property, my wife looking for a nice area, good access, well planned layout and all of the sensible attributes of a house, but all I was interested in was a garden big enough for a shed or even better, a garage!

The move came about and I finally had my man cave.  As is the nature of home moves, this hallowed space quickly became where stuff was put ‘until we could find a home for it’ and was essentially a dumping ground for clutter.  This wasn’t how I had planned my dream workshop.

On a Friday in April 2016, I got fed up with the situation and made myself a deal.  If I could make enough space in the garage by 3 o’clock, I would order a lathe.  By 1 o’clock the garage was clear and I was online, ordering lathe and tools.  The following morning at 7.45 my very surprised wife answered the door to a delivery driver and had to kick me out of bed to help unload a 100kg pallet into the garage.

Around four hours later, after a lot of swearing, head scratching and coffee breaks, the lathe was assembled, the tools were to hand and I was ready to start.  Of course, the one thing I had forgotten was wood.  After a frantic search of the house and garden, I found the ‘Sold’ sign from the house, lurking in a corner of the garage. I sawed it up into sections and started trying all of the techniques that I had leaned from YouTube. My first attempts were not successful, with my garden dibbers being likened to marital aids! Ann Summers eat your heat out. But I keep at it and slowly I worked out how the tools reacted to the grain of the wood, how to select the right speed on the lathe to get a clean cut and how to move my body rather than my hands to maintain a consistent finish.

Two and a half years on, it is still a hobby but my skills have developed, with my main output being bowls.  I have found a specialist woodturning shop in Didcot, The Toolpost, where I buy most of my wood.  Although it can be found cheaper online, in a real shop you can hold and feel the wood before you buy it and Peter and his team are always there for feedback, advice and occasional banter.

Most of my work is commissions from family and friends, bowls with custom pyrography or pens from a ‘special’ piece of wood. But I nurture hopes of saying goodbye to the rat race and becoming a full-time turner.  I know that I will never make my fortune from wood, but the joy I get from turning more than makes up for that.

Here’s a few images of my work:

Further selections of my work are available to view on my website TK-Turns.co.uk and my Instagram feed (TKTurns) I use for work in progress pictures. If you want to know more you can contact me via me web form here.

You can also find me on Twitter here and Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/TKTurns/

 

 

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Blaylock’s Shoe Shop – Old Town

Blaylock’s Shoe Shop – Old Town

Blaylock's Shoe Shop

Old Town - Swindon

It’s a mildly curious thing that Swindon’s Old Town has, within a few yards of one another, three long-established family businesses. On Wood Street there’s Deacon’s Jewellers,  founded in 1848 and now in its sixth generation as a family business. Then there’s Gilbert’s furniture store on Newport Street. I’ll cover that one in another post, so for now suffice to say that. this business was established in 1886, becoming a fixture on its present location from the early 1870s.

Then there’s the subject of this blog post: Blaylock’s shoe shop on the corner of Bath Road. This business is a youngster compared to the other two, being started in 1920 when the senior Blaylock – Robert – opened a shoe repair business in Swindon’s Gorse Hill. This brilliant business remains one of the south of England’s leading independent shoe businesses, with a wide range of brands for adults and children.

I lOVE this shop and I do buy most of my footwear from it. It’s what I call a proper shoe shop – with shelves in the shop itself stacked with boxes and boxes of shoes. Going in there is a great nostalgia trip – with some good old fashioned service.

The business is now directed by Robert’s grandson David, and managed by David’s son Mark. In this 2014 feature in the Wiltshire Business Online News, David said:

‘In terms of how we run the business, we have tried to maintain the same principles. We believe people come to us because of our stock, our staff and the service we offer.

We still endeavour to give personal service and carry a range of stock you wouldn’t find in a normal High Street store.”

NB: When Robert Blaylock’s business moved to Old Town in 1928, it was first situated in what is now Pizza Express in Bath Road before it later moved to where it stands today.

Now – with a nod to Mark Childs, author of The Swindon Book from where (well – actually The Swindon Book Companion) I sourced this material – though it’s in my own words – is a potted history of this wonderful Swindon business:

Established by Robert Blaylock (1896-1955 – from Bowness, on Windermere in Westmoreland), this Old Town shoe store is four generations old.

When a youngster, young Blaylock contracted rheumatic fever. The condition left him with heart problems and medical warnings that he should do nothing manual. Warnings that he appeared not to heed given that the age of 15 saw him apprenticed to a local boot and shoe repairer.

WWI brought Robert to Swindon and a billet at the Chiseldon Camp where he repaired army boots. Come the end of the war, he remained in Swindon and opened a boot repair workshop at 254 Cricklade Road. In his spare time Robert was an active lay preacher at Florence Street Mission Hall. There he met Lilian Skinner, whose father, Daniel Skinner, ran the mission. The couple wed in 1921, moved into 158 Cricklade Road and produced seven children. One wonders if they were the worst shod …. ?

By 1928 Robert moved his business to No 5 Bath Road, Old Town where, at the rear of the premises, the operated a shoe repair business.

The landlord of No 5 refused to give Robert Blaylock a lease, though Randolph Pollard, gent’s outfitter next door at No 3, had a long lease. When No 5’s landlord decided to sell, Pollard bought it, moved his business in and transferred his lease at No 3 to Robert Blaylock.

By 1949, Robert Blaylock had failing health and not one son willing to take on the business. Yet, his son Robert Arthur resigned from his position in the National Provincial Bank to take it on. Shades of ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ there methinks!

Thus, when the property came up for sale, Robert Arthur bought it and the adjacent property on the corner of Devizes Road, along with a little lock-up called the Corner Cabinet which sold antique glassware. In so doing, he expanded the business.

Robert Arthur’s son, David John Blaylock, was also not inclined to follow in his father’s footsteps. Yet, like his father, he too relinquished his clerical work with Swindon council to keep the business going. (More George Bailey heroism!) He ran it from 1988, and in 1997 his son, Mark Adam Blaylock joined him.

As well as shoes, Blaylock’s also sells handbags, polishes, shoe trees and laces.

Phone: 01793 534271

See also: https://www.swindonadvertiser.co.uk/news/8790518.Muriel_retires_from_shoe_shop_after_50_years/

 

 

 

 

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Wiltshire author talks ‘transformation’ in new book by world-renowned experts in living in the moment 

Wiltshire author talks ‘transformation’ in new book by world-renowned experts in living in the moment 

Wiltshire author talks ‘transformation’

in new book by world-renowned experts in living in the moment

Press release:

Wiltshire author talks ‘transformation’ in new book by world-renowned experts in living in the moment 

Latest news from Vision Maker Press

Wiltshire author talks ‘transformation’ in new book

NAZ ASHUN, Vision Maker Press

Wiltshire author and publisher Naz Ahsun has contributed to a new book, published this month, which aims to inspire readers to live more fulfilling lives.

Being Here…Too, Short Stories of Modern Day Enlightenment, is filled with inspirational tales from people of all ages, nationalities and professions, covering topics from career goals to parenting. It’s the latest book from award-winning authors Ariel and Shya Kane, from New Jersey USA, and will be available from Monday (November 12).

Naz, who is co-founder of publishing firm Vision Maker Press and is known to many as the presenter of The Outer Limits show on Swindon 105.5, says a series of coincidences led to her involvement in this book. In her story she talks about how she’s transformed her relationship with her body image, food and nutrition.

“Way back in 2011, I was heading for Spain for an Easter break. At the airport, I wanted to get a light, easy read to take on holiday with me. That’s when I spotted Men, Money and Chocolateby Menna Van Praag.  On my first night in Barcelona, I opened the book and didn’t put it down until I finished it at dawn. I knew when I finished that I just had to meet the author, who touched me so deeply.

“However, it wasn’t until 2013 this became a reality when I spotted a social media post by the same author. She was holding a writing workshop in London. I immediately signed up and was not disappointed. I also got more than I bargained for as I also met my, now, fiancé who had been facilitating the workshop with Menna Van Praag!”

Naz discovered the author and her fiancé were part of a growing movement known as the ‘Transformation Community’ which holds seminars all over the world where she met fellow authors Ariel and Shya Kane.

In 2016, members of the community were invited to contribute to Being Here…Too, sharing their experience of transformation in their day-to-day lives.

Naz, who earlier this year published her own second book, The Little Book of Animal Wisdom, said: “I was thrilled my story was chosen as one of the ones to appear. My chapter is called Frolicking with Frittatas and it shares my story of how I experienced instantaneous transformation about my body image and diet – all it required was a little help from ruby red peppers, succulent egg, spongy courgettes and a dash of transformative fairy dust.”

The book’s publication will be celebrated locally on November 12 at an event called How to Access Enlightenment in a Busy Modern World, when Naz will read her chapter to the audience at The Henge Shop, Avebury from 7-9pm and entry is £5.

Details are available directly from The Henge Shop on 01672 539229.

 

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Event: Vegan gourmet evening with Eggelicious

Event: Vegan gourmet evening with Eggelicious

Event : Vegan gourmet evening

I think this looks to be an interesting - and delicious evening

Vegan gourmet evening with Eggelicious

I think this looks to be an interesting – and delicious evening. In fact I KNOW it will be delicious because I’ve already tasted some of it.  Not that I am a vegan – nor have any intention of becoming so. In fact I’m the polar opposite. Nevertheless, I’m looking forward to this event.

What do vegans eat? I’ve often wondered I won’t lie. According to the website for the vegan society:

So what do vegans eat?

A great deal – you’ll soon find a whole new world of exciting foods and flavours opening up to you. A vegan diet is richly diverse and comprises all kinds of fruits, vegetables, nuts, grains, seeds, beans and pulses – all of which can be prepared in endless combinations that will ensure you’re never bored. From curry to cake, pasties to pizzas, all your favourite things can be suitable for a vegan diet if they’re made with plant-based ingredients. Check out our vegan recipes for ideas.’

And that is the point behind Ash Mistry, Eggelicious head honcho, putting on this event.  Swindon, lovely multi-cultural Swindon, is blessed with a plethora of ethnic supermarkets. In these stores you will find a magical array of vegetables and pulses with which you can great a great variety of vegan delights with no need for ‘special’ ingredients.

The critical information part

When: The Eggelicious Vegan Gourmet evening is on Saturday 24th of November. It starts at 6.30pm to 7.30 pm. Staggered entry for each guest/guest – the idea being to allow time to get acquainted.

You have free parking on our loading bay up on the roof of the Brunel Centre.

The evening begins at the entrance where you will have to give a secret password at the barrier.

Once you have parked on the allocated space you will be picked up and escorted to the Eggelicious Gourmet Evening.

On the evening we will have ‘A show and tell’, of the world vegetables, you are about to eat, so you have some references, if you ever wanted to buy from the Asian Delis, of Swindon.

There are nine fantastic courses for you to enjoy – so be hungry. We also have music and are fully licensed for the evening. The whole evening should be around 2.5hrs to 3hrs long.

There is a strong interest for this private event. To reserve a secured place , please leave a deposit at either of the Eggelicious outlets. The cost is £45 per person and you will be given a ticket and a free parking guide for the event.

NB: Eggelicious are on Wood Street in Old Town and in The Crossing in the Brunel Centre.

Contact

Eggelicious contacts

So now. with no further ado, to whet your appetite, I’ll post the menu and some pictures of what you’re likely to be enjoying.

The Menu

Menu 1

 

Menu 2

The Dishes

SaveSave

Latest Swindon Ramblings

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Press release: Swindon sports commentator in running for national award

Press release: Swindon sports commentator in running for national award

Swindon sports commentator in running for national award

Chris Dawes nominated for award to find the UK’s favourite motorsports commentator

Swindon sports commentator in running for national award

Swindon businessman Chris Dawes has been nominated for a national award to find the UK’s favourite motorsports commentator.

Chris is a professional commentator, who also runs Open Dawes Training, providing public speaking and presentation training, as well as media training for sports people. He’s in the running for Commentator of the Year in the annual awards run by Motorsport Media, which broadcasts Motorsport Radio.

Chris is a regular commentator at Wiltshire’s Castle Combe circuit where his commentating career started.

He’s just completed his seventh professional year of commentating and is one of the most sought-after, with only one weekend away from the microphone between March and November. He commentates and presents at events held at circuits across the world, with UK venues also including Silverstone, Brands Hatch, Donington Park, Snetterton, Oulton Park, and Cadwell Park.

“I am completely blown away to have been nominated,” said Chris. “I’m a huge motorsports fan and to have been able to turn my hobby into a career as a commentator is a real honour.”

Chris first fell in love with motorsports as a child, when he visited the races at Castle Combe with his father. He was encouraged by his wife, Claire, to apply for a commentator’s role eight years ago, and has never looked back. In fact, he’s now a member of the Board of Castle Combe Racing Club.

Chris is up against nine other finalists. These include the likes of BTCC, DTM, and Formula 3 commentator Chris Hartley, ITV’s British Touring Car Championship commentators David Addison and Paul O’Neill, TV’s Superbike commentator and former rider James Whitham, and highly respected national and international commentator Mark Werrell. The winner will be announced on December 9, during a live show on Motorsport Radio.

Chris added: “The winner is based on online voting. I think it will be rather a large ask to win, considering the other, fantastic commentators in the running, many of whom I have always looked up to. I am so fortunate to have had the pleasure of working with and being mentored by many of them too. I am just so chuffed to have been nominated.”

To vote for Chris, visit https://motorsportawards.com/commentator-of-the-year/. For information about Chris’s commentating visit https://chrisdawescomms.co.uk/, or for Open Dawes Training, visit https://www.opendawestraining.co.uk/.

 

Latest Swindon Ramblings

I’m always looking for new and interesting angles to share when out and about in Swindon.

A word about our sponsors

When I’m not being Born again Swindonian and writing Swindon-related books I offer proofreading, editing and writing services as AA Editorial Services.

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Wise Bookkeeping Swindon

Wise Bookkeeping Swindon