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May 2024 Newsletter Part One

By Secretary Waterlooville Men's Shed

Saturday, 27 April 2024


Waterlooville Men's Shed Contributor


1. Welcome to the May edition of the WMS newsletter. Last month I spent a few days away in Cardiff doing the tourist bit with my son. One place I have always wanted to visit. A visit to the Principality Stadium, the home of Welsh rugby for a tour was a given. Although the Welsh national team are going through a difficult time at the moment you could not help but feel the passion of the game as you took a tour of the stadium. We also visited the Rhondda Heritage Park to experience what it was like for the coal miners deep down in the mines. I do try to incorporate a topical subject in our newsletters that we are all familiar with, and that is wood. Wood has been a vital part of the mining industry since the Middle Ages. Using advanced techniques, Nottingham University established that oak timbers found in a mine in Leicestershire dated from 1450. During WW2 imports of wood by sea from Sweden and Russia, was threatened by the German Navy We couldn’t grow enough wood to meet demand. In the 1960’s we were still planting Sitka spruce for use as pit props but had to rely on imports from France to meet the coal mining demands. Wood for these props must not be confused with wood for theatre stage props as that is a very light wood, balsa, and hardly appropriate for a coal mine!

2. Another traditional wood product from Wales is the Love Spoon, which is simply a piece of wood carved into the shape of a spoon, often with symbols on it. It began as a way for a young man to show his sweetheart how he felt and each spoon was unique. If she accepted the spoon, it was taken as a token of engagement to be married. The wood usually associated with Welsh Love Spoons is lime also known as basswood. So gents, if the love of your life shows no interest in you, knock a few wooden spoons up in the workshops and see your life change over night!

2. I received this article from Peter Sanders about a recent project request following an enquiry by Barn Pre-school during the WMS tool sale in February the mud kitchen idea was born. Builder friends were contacted and pallets arrived at home. Three evenings of reducing them to useful pieces of timber plus wood stored in the garage provided the basis for the build. Duly sawn, planed and cut to size our master carpenter David and myself set to work. As usual with any project many useful tips were received and thanks to Tony, four hot plate rings and knobs appeared and to Paul suitable material for the work surface was identified, and soon reworked by David SY. Four days later, including a number of “pause and reflect” tea breaks the basic frame was taking shape. Followed closely by the work surface by David ‘the master at work’, I have learnt so much from him during our two major projects. The Barn Pre-school is for 2 to 5yr olds and is located in a small purpose-built building, with a homely feel, situated locally to Waterlooville town centre, Purbrook schools, St Peters School and Springwood School. There is a fantastic out door area, which can be accessed at any time of the year, mud included, and will now have the additional benefit of a MUD KITCHEN. Trailer loaded, John Skerratt and I set off on our mission and delivered the finished project to the happy recipients, Tamasin and Emma. Painting is their next task. Based on the initial reception by a small number of children, it will, we hope give many hours of enjoyment in the safe and secure play area.

Unfortunately, our master carpenter David Sy was unable to enjoy the moment having left for France on a three-week working break, can’t keep a good man down!

Contact Information


Registered charity number 1174513

Find Waterlooville Men's Shed

Padnell Road, Cowplain, Waterlooville, Hampshire, PO8 8EH


Additional Information

Turn into the road to Padnel Junior School. It is the white building on the left, just before the grass.