Legends from our own lunchtimes

Tuesday, July 05, 2022

A Day at the Beach
Monday 4th July - Dunkirk to Koksijde

Today was one of those symbolic days; the day we returned the hire car, severing our dependance on land based transport and moving one step closer to becoming boat people once again.

Since Pat and Pamela were with us with a car of their own, and there’s nothing our unwritten rulebook about accepting lifts from others, getting back to the boat from the car hire place in Dunkirk was easy, and it must be said, extraordinarily pleasant.    

It wasn’t a speedy trip though, as the coast of Belgium is particularly seductive at this time of year, and there was no hardship in making unapologetically long and touristy diversions for chocolate and coffee and mussels followed by a long walk along he Koksijde shore with it’s wall of gaily painted bathing boxes.

We must have all been tired and happy on our mid afternoon return to the boat, because the balance of the afternoon conversation if that’s what it could be called, was clearly sponsored by the letter ‘Z’ !

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Interconnectedness
Sunday 3rd July - Diksmuide


We’ve often discussed the wonder of just how inter-connected our water-based community is.  Life in our “long village” is an apparently endless round of catching up with one another and getting updates of who is up to what, and just occasionally an exchange of gifts designed to bemuse the recipient.

Yesterday, Grahame and Aileen (from NZ en-route by boat to the South of France) gave us a beautifully gift-wrapped package that contained the most extraordinary mechanical contraption designed for exterminating flies and other insects.

Today, our good friends and guests (from Mooloolaba en-route by car to their boat in the North of France) after a little practice met with some success using said contraption.

Why was it surprising then, with no knowledge of or even passing thought that the two ever having met, that when I sent this photograph to Aileen as an expression of gratitude for her thoughtful gift, that I should receive this reply?:

“Well done to Pat!” 

Well done to Aileen, I think!
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Sunday, July 03, 2022

It's lunchtime, we must be in France!
Saturday 2nd July - Day trip to Douai


With a boat that’s half-ready for habitation and visitors arriving tomorrow evening we thought there was no time like the present to have a day off, so we did.

We thought a bit of a drive through the French countryside might be nice, as unfortunately did the entire population of Belgium.  

At one point there were so many other vehicles on the road that we thought that there may have been an evacuation order issued, but due to the miracle of the modern motorway network we even had time to stop in Lille en route for a bit of “maintenance” shopping and still made it to Grahame and Aileen’s mooring in Douai in time for a very long lunch in the company of old friends.

As we re-acquainted ourselves with our haunts of just three years ago during the afternoon, with nary a thought of the mountain of sorting still remaining back on the boat, we couldn’t help but congratulate ourselves on how easily we’ve slipped back into our old cruising ways.

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A Very Long Day
Friday 1st July - Diksmuide

 

It was chilly yesterday, and we were very glad to be inside and not out in the weather scraping tar from the bottom of our 25 metre barge, and while we may have felt a little bit sorry for Roy and Shiela as they did exactly that, we didn't offer to help. 

They were having welding work done on their hull so had the interior partially dismantled as well to minimise the risk of a fire getting out of control, so it only seemed fair that when we got together to swap cleaning stories in the evening, it would be on our ever so slightly more shipshape  “Joyeux”.

For those not familiar with life in these latitudes, when there is work to do, “evening” is a very long time away, and by the time it arrived, we had our little boat in sufficiently seaworthy condition to have moved it a kilometre or so from the shipyard to the yacht club marina. This was a great leap forward for us of course and came with the added luxury of fresh water and electricity on board, but not so great for the other two, who had quite a commute to find us at the end of a long day.

When eventually reunited as the evening turned into night, either we were enjoying each other’s company or we were all just too tired to move, because in a blink it was tomorrow, and for the second time in a day we extended our sympathy to the other pair as they disappeared into the chill of the night for their long trudge “home” while we smugly and quite gratefully tumbled into our nice warm bed.

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Friday, July 01, 2022

The Joy of Paperwork
Thursday 30th June - Diksmuide

 


In simpler times, one got one’s act together a long time in advance of travel, and if correspondence was entered into it was by a thing called “sea mail”.

Then a decade or so ago the internet happened and with a bit of luck, for the price of a cup of coffee at a certain Scottish hamburger chain, one could collect one’s electronic mail, perhaps even send a reply or two before getting on with the business of being out of touch.

These are not simple times.   The Flemish Waterways Authority for instance, have “simplified” their system, which means It’s no longer possible to walk up to a counter, pay a nice man some money, and walk out with a shiny new registration sticker.   Everything must be done online, through a website which has an English version with a hundred-item menu still in Flemish, which is a kind of Double Dutch.

To the surprise of all we did manage to get the necessary documents uploaded, the form filled in reasonably well, and even got to the part where we had to pay the bill, before simplification got the better of us: The credit card sent a code to our "home" number, which was not particularly helpful, but by turning off the phone and swapping swapping SIM cards and restarting it, we did receive the message, along with warnings about the cost of data roaming.  This process of course disconnected our internet connection, and by the time we restored it the payment session had timed out and our window of simplification closed.

A visit to the office forty kilometres away, yielded a friendly conversation, which had we been in France would have been punctuated by a dozen shrugs, and the phone number of another nice man who might be able to help.   He couldn’t, but he gave us the number of yet another nice man who was also befuddled by the simplicity and gave us yet another number to call.  The nice man who answered our fifth call wasn’t sure what he could do, but he has a dog with the same name as our boat, and very kindly pulled some strings and pressed some buttons and apologetically charged us an extra 25% to sort out what turned out to be the fault in their website.

Of course the only way of paying for this particular simple service was by money transfer, and it probably goes without saying that when our Australian bank’s online services went down at the exact time we pressed the little blue button to complete the transaction, the air turned the same colour as the button!
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Thursday, June 30, 2022

Reunited
Wednesday 29th June - Diksmuide

 

When Thijs sent us this photo yesterday recording the moment that our “Joyeux” was reunited with water it triggered a series of irrational emotions.

The first was a distinct sense of urgency for us to get aboard, something we’d either not felt or was deeply repressed for the past several years.   The other was as it turned out, a false hope that after three years idly resting in a shed, she would be in as tidy condition as the day we left her.

What a grubby little thing she was too, despite first appearances, but she seemed happy to see us.  When Davy, (the technician who’d been charged with making sure everything that was supposed to move did, and everything that was supposed to be bolted in place was), fired her up for the first time in three years, one could almost swear she was trying to wag her stern.

There’s nothing particularly exciting about cleaning a boat that has been stored for several years, nor anything glamorous about moving aboard that same boat without access to potable water while undertaking those tasks, yet I may have written about it endlessly had Dave and Ria not turned up, to distract us for the rest of the evening and to save you, dear reader, from that particular pain!

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As one pair of gates closes..
Tuesday 28th June - Saint-Pierre-Sur-Dives to Diksmuide



If we thought time flew by while were were away, it flew even faster while we were here.  

We had barely caught up with each other’s news, perhaps we hadn’t covered all of it, but all we had other places to go, people to see and things to do and the time had come to set about doing them.

As is our custom we have made no  particular plan other than to hire a car for longer than we need it, just in case we need it longer than we think, and we vaguely thought that we might gently tour the Normandy Coast on our way north, just as we did on our last visit.   

That clearly didn’t go as well as it might, as once ensconced on those motorways, our little car showed no sign of wanting to leave them, and by mid afternoon we discovered we had checked into a charming B&B just a few kilometres from our final destination.

Tomorrow, if we don’t get too terribly sidetracked along those last four kilometres, we might be boat dwellers once more.

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Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Monday is Market Day
Monday 27th June - Saint-Pierre-Sur-Dives


We thought we’d got away lightly on the jetlag front this trip.

For a few days we felt a little discombobulated, but generally all our bits were working as they should and we appeared to be holding up our end of conversations various quite well.   The effects of long distance travel in our experience at least, are often felt most three or four days after arrival, so when the three day mark passed quietly by without incident yesterday, we thought we were out of danger.

Our amble round the markets today was as delightful as the pictures in the glossy brochures would have you believe it should be.  The strawberries were stunning, the bread divine, the endives caress-able, the stall holders special characters to a man (and woman).

It was only when we stumbled across the nice man selling rabbit eggs that we suspected that our synapses  were still not firing in the correct order.   

We backed quietly away and retired to spend the afternoon deep in slumber, in the hope that all would be well when when we woke.

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A walk in the garden
Sunday 26th June - Saint-Pierre-Sur-Dives



There’s no better way of spending a Sunday in France than going for a gentle drive in the countryside, having a large-ish lunch and following it all up with a gentle walk in one of our favourite gardens in the entire world.


Last time we visited the Jardins du Pays d’Auge we spent the rest of that evening filled with adrenalin soaked inspiration frantically sketching planting plans for our own back yard, as well as for Maggie and Jacques.   


On our return home we just as furtively put that plan into place complete with winding timber pathways.


It really feels as though we were only here yesterday, so the realisation that the planting we did after that visit has now been aggressively thinned to make way for (although we didn’t know it at the time) some more inspired work when we return, is a little disorienting in a timeline sense.   


Chez Maggie is even more puzzling in that regard.   In the instant that we’ve been away it has been transformed from “project suit handyman” to in the words that Kevin Mcleod might use, “something of a triumph”.


Perhaps we need to start reporting time in the same way we do weather - 


Time away: - Three years

Feels like - Yesterday

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Sunday, June 26, 2022

A Mating Pair
Saturday 25th June - Saint-Pierre-Sur-Dives




It’s a bit hard to tell whether it’s been jetlag or a hypnotic fascination with the whereabouts of my bag that have kept me up at night.  Whatever the reason I can report that it arrived at Paris Charles de Gaulle yesterday, moved from the international terminal to the domestic one and then to a freight terminal all before bedtime.


By bedtime it was barely 280 km away, disappointingly by 2:00 with half that distance to go, activity ceased but sometime between then and 6:00 there were only 45 kilometres separating me and my razor.   


May I suggest that if you show even the tiniest symptoms of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, it would be a great idea NOT to put a tracker in your luggage?


Clean shaven, bleary-eyed, but with a fresh shirt that actually fitted, there was nothing left to do but to leave our bags to be reacquainted while we toddled off for a long and very convivial celebratory lunch. 

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Saturday, June 25, 2022

A shave!
Friday 24th June - Saint-Pierre-Sur-Dives

We’re with Maggie and Jacques and the good times are back, and we haven’t drawn breath yet catching up on almost three years of news.

By this morning my clothing and bathing accoutrements were lounging in Thailand according to our nifty little tracking device.  

This was slightly reassuring news being 7,000 kilometres closer than they were, but with 9,640 still to go it may still be a day or two until we are reunited, it meant that for now at least there is hope that I can avoid filling in all that nasty insurance paperwork, and perhaps put off that (shudder) trip to the shops to buy some replacement garb.   

Given that Jacques and I are of exactly different builds, with bodies that could best be described as going in opposite directions, why should we have been surprised that his clothes could do an admirable job while we wait.  “Admirable” in this context means everyone here prefers me me hanging around in slightly ill fitting shorts than in nought but my (thankfully brand new- there’s a lesson in that kiddies,) undies.

After no small effort on behalf of the entire team, I was deemed tidy enough to accompany them and the other of us on that most sacred and serious of French national sports.    

Shopping for food. 

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Thursday, June 23, 2022

Little Bag Lost
Thursday 23rd June - Paris


It’s splendid to arrive in one’s destination with all the time in the world until hotel check-in.  

There’s even time to visit the loo while waiting for your luggage to arrive and to idly chat while waiting for the bags you last saw in Brisbane almost two days ago, emerge from the little black hole above the carousel in Paris.

One of us had bought some new fangled tracking gadgets to give our bikes and car keys an added layer of protection and to make them more easily found respectively, and for a bit of a giggle had put a couple in our bags while packing.  

It was mildly satisfying discovering in Sydney that our luggage had not been left behind and fun to receive the notice that it was “with you” when the first of them trundled up to us for collection at our destination.

The other one didn’t appear to be working quite as well though, as the bag location hadn’t updated since Sydney.

That, ladies and gentlemen, is how your jetlagged correspondent came to be sitting near naked in the small hours of the morning while writing this account, filled with fervent hope that his outer garments will have dried sufficiently enough by  morning that his fellow travellers might be denied sights unbecoming of a hotel breakfast room.

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42
Wednesday 22nd June - Hong Kong transit

That number is said to be the answer to the ultimate question, but the destination board below it glowed eerily devoid of information, like almost all of the others in the terminal. 

There was something reminiscent of the approach to the Restaurant at the End of the Universe in the Hitchikers Guide to the Galaxy in the atmosphere.  Except that the restaurant was closed, along with almost every commercial concession in the Hong Kong Airport.   They weren't just closed for the short term either.   They had disappeared entirely.  

No more cheery rows of complimentary internet computers and phone charging racks, no more noodle bars or food of any kind. No more water at the water drinking station either come to mention it.

It’s a huge airport, and we are used to seeing it packed with bustling crowds all coming and going from somewhere to somewhere else, but not tonight.

The huge noticeboards with their half dozen columns of bright red flight number and departure times were large black reminders of what things once were, with not enough flights passing through to even fill one column, which made a certain amount of sense given the number of moth-balled aircraft we'd passed taxi-ing to the terminal.

Curiously, every one of the personel we encountered, from the usually surly security guards to the perpetually smiling counter staff were friendly, enthusiastic, helpful and really doing their best to remind us that we don't need  electricity to bring light into  the world.




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Tuesday, June 21, 2022

On becoming a person of intrigue.


The last few weeks have seen us struggle a little as we make the mental transition from what we’ve been doing for the past couple of years to what we used to do before we were imprisoned on our very large island.

Everything to do with travel has changed, things cost more than we remember, and there’s an enormous amount of “electronic” paperwork to come to terms with all of which needs to printed on some ancient stuff called “paper”.   Who is trying to kid who?

There was a point where we knew we’d once again left our comfortable realm and entered the one of international traveller, perhaps even moving closer to becoming international persons of intrigue.  

It happened ironically perhaps as one of us sifted through what will be our worldly possessions for the next four months or so, strewn around our living room en route to one of our two smallish bags.

The other was finalising the last of the “e” documents when the question of where we might be staying arose, presumably utilising the best of modern data matching, offered us a somewhat limited choice of accomodation:

  • Individual accommodation
  • Hospitalized
  • Residential care for senior citizens
  • Jail
  • Other (homeless shelter, barracks, boarding school)
  • I don’t know.

Welcome back, traveller.

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Monday, June 20, 2022

Deadlines.



 
The late Douglas Adams once announced that he loved deadlines;  he said he liked the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.   I didn't really didn't really have a complete appreciation for the depth of that statement until today, when I too came to love that sound.  

For weeks I've been desperately trying to complete a couple of little projects, just a pair of simple chairs for the littlest of our brood.   I've built a few of these before and it really should have been simple but with two more sleeps until our four month hiatus, there was just a little pressure creeping in to the job.

I'd describe the whole process as a comedy of errors had it not dragged on so long that anything resembling comedy had long since left the building.   I think I may very well have had more difficulty with these things with the total of everything I have ever built before.  At every turn a new problem that simply should not have been, would appear from nowhere.

We reached some sort of new peak of angst and frustration mid afternoon.  It was the kind of peak that makes one want to fling stuff and scream profanities at inanimate objects.  With one more sleep till we depart there were other things that needed doing before we boarded the aeroplane (like packing, and perhaps tidying things up a little).  Then it happened, that glorious whoosh as the deadline passed.  

I stopped, walked quietly to the wall and switched off the dust extractor and the saw, packed away the router, and listened to that glorious silence, the sound of calm washing over the whole garage, and those within it, like some sort of essential balm.   

Jude and Millie will just have to put up with their chins banging on the table while they battle with their grown-ups chairs for a few more months.  It's disappointing, but worth it in a way, just to feel the relief in the wake of that whoosh.

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Saturday, June 04, 2022

Be good while we're gone.

 


With those six words, it suddenly feels as though we really are on our way once again, which we are.     

Leaving our poor little van peering forlornly out of the gloom like a sad puppy watching its owners pack, ever hopeful that the adventure will involve him, but deep down knowing that hope is lost.

He must be as disappointed as we are really, but we designed him specifically with fine weather in mind and as anyone who has lived on the east coast of Australia this year knows, for the better part of the year, a "fine" day has been one where less than 25mm of rain is expected.   This is to say nothing of the obvious heath risks that have accompanied travel for the better part of the year as well.

So we've charged his batteries, packed him up and parked him snug in the bowels of the earth to hibernate for a bit, with a promise of better times when we return.   

Who knows?  On our return we might even finish off his finer details, the energy for which has thus far eluded us.

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Thursday, January 20, 2022

Indoor Sport

 

When the nice man in the shop said it would cost almost forty dollars to replace the feet on our terribly expensive but terribly tiny and light camping chairs, we sort of giggled and backed slowly out of the shop without making further eye contact.

I've had a roll of flexible printing filament at home for quite some time but it's fiddly stuff that doesn't like humidity, and since we live in a place where humidity varies between "a lot" and "a lot more" the use of it was always going to involve long hours of living in air conditioned and de-humidified space.  

Fortunately the last few weeks have been damp and hot and generally suited to being indoors and hiding from a virus-laden world, so now all of our camping chairs and stools have new feet and I really had run out of excuses to get started on Millie's chair again.

Then someone said: "The Button Design Competition closes next Friday".


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Monday, January 10, 2022

First World Problems

With everything else on the list as good as done, started,  on hold while I untangled my feet from my camera bag straps for the umpteenth time, it was time to take some action!

Why do modern backpacks have so much spare webbing that flaps around when you are on your bike, catches on your car door, or when you put it on the ground to get something out of it, is designed to flop in the nearest melted ice cream or puddle of indescribable goo?   My old favourite day pack, which has accompanied me around the world more than once has at least eleventeen of the rotten things.

I've used a few different methods of constraint over the years with varying degrees of success.  Just this morning while assessing the situation, I took off eight bits of velcro, two custom bought clippy things, a zip tie and a piece of rubberweld tape, and for an hour or two I've let the thing go commando!  What a mess.

But all is not lost.

In the interests of procrastination I put everything aside for a bit and drew some little slide-on clippy things that will make that problem simply go away.  

A few hours later, with dozens of new bits clipped on every backpack and bag in the house, and as usual in complete awe of a technology that is seriously like having a magic wand at our disposal, the cause of much vexation over many years has completely disappeared!


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Saturday, January 08, 2022

To the Victor go the Spoils!

 

Our cabana, according to Australia Post's tracking, was on time, having left Brisbane 90 kilometres or so away very early on the day before yesterday and would, they assured us by text and email, arrive sometime between yesterday and next Tuesday all being well.   

I am not sure why they don't just call it "Guessing" rather than "Tracking" and I'd ask them about that except that they don't actually have a point of contact that doesn't leave one back at the start of the process after a long day of pushing buttons and repeating one word answers to questions asked by a machine which clearly doesn't understand.   

"Please stay on the line", they seem to be saying, "until your call is no longer important to you".

I digress.   It arrived and was suitably welcomed and stuck on a shelf in its original box where it will quite possibly remain until it is discovered by our heirs while sifting through their memorabilia some time after our demise.

I wonder if it will be worth more in its original packaging?

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Friday, January 07, 2022

Horror Movie



The wind had blown all the cool cabanas away by the time we got to the beach this morning.   

Anyone over a certain age, will probably recall the poster for a certain horror movie from about 1968, which featured a silhouette of Rosmary's Baby's Carriage on a rocky crag.   

Graphically it was pretty powerful stuff at least for the time.

Why is it that everyone thinks that after a decade of happily just wandering down the road footloose and fancy free, we now need a conveyance for our apparently ever increasing collection of completely unnecessary things?  Clearly we don't and Millie  is two so will be finishing school soon and we'll just be stuck with another thing we have no use for.

It was difficult though, as we rounded the corner through the park, not to view the only thing on the beach, living or otherwise as some sort of sign.  We backed slowly away, never taking our eyes off it until we were sure we were safe.


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Thursday, January 06, 2022

life in a democracy

 

Our relationship is quite democratic.  

Fortunately there are very few things on which we disagree strongly enough for the chairperson to use her casting vote, yet despite her listening to all of the really sensible arguments as to why we should not, we are about to take delivery of the latest contribution to the landfill dilemma, the Cool Cabana.

"Why don't we wait?" I reasoned,"After the first summer storm comes through, there'll be dozens of them stacked against the garbage bins in the park, and I'm sure I'll be able to make one good one out of them."

That went down well.

Then there was the what I thought was a sensible:"... but we just walk down to the beach in our togs, have a swim and come home, we don't even take a towel".

I hadn't contemplated the "but we could stay longer if we had one of these".

Therefore, soundly beaten and with my father's words: "If we get any more stuff we'll need a wheelbarrow just to go to the beach", ringing in my ears, I gingerly reached for the "buy" button.

With one last effort to put off the inevitable, I tried: "Well who's going to carry all this stuff?"

"I will" she said.

"Well who's going to carry it home?"

"We'll put that to the vote."

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Wednesday, January 05, 2022

Closed for the holidays

 

Long term followers of this blog will recall that we have a certain propensity for finding services temporarily unavailable at exactly the time we wish to avail ourselves of them.

This is particularly true in the European summer where business owners reckon they deserve a holiday too, often leaving visitors to fend for themselves when attempting to find life's staples.

We can't be sure if this is an attempt at international one-upmanship, but here we were, having just wandered to the beach in company with sundry grandchildren and their parents, clad only in swimwear and a thick layer of the sort of grease that the sun's rays cannot easily penetrate, only to find almost the entire length of the East coast of Australia having a day off.

Sadly, this is Australia where the red flag beside signs reading "Beach Closed" are assumed to mean "except for me", so one of the Guardians of the Galaxy was posted at every access point to assist with interpretation.

So we went for a walk, sat under a shady tree, played some games, read a book and didn't think at all about Millie's chair.

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Tuesday, January 04, 2022

It's not as though I've had nothing to do.



One problem with having such a disparate collection of equipment and interests is that every time a particular tool or bit of machinery is called into use, the time taken to clean, adjust, sharpen and check that nothing has fallen into one of its working parts ready to be flung out at the speed of sound when it's first turned on, is often longer than it takes to do the job.

Sometimes I give myself the impression that I've been idle for a year or two, that absolutely no progress has been made on anything, but I don't think that's actually the case.  

The 3D printer has cranked over 2000 hours in the past year, and everything I touch in the workshop seems to have a reminder of just how far into the future we are living, and it's astonishing.

Those magnetic connectors for the dust extraction setup for instance solved a twenty-year problem, enabling instant decoupling of equipment and recoupling of other bits.   It's an absolute marvel.

Whenever a problem arises, one only has to think of a solution, draw it using one's new-found computer skills, and print the result.   The very same afternoon (if one has a ready stock of tiny magnets to hand or the foresight to order them months before having an actual idea) a brand new, never before thought of part or even an entire assembly can be pressed into service.

Now if only I could build a printer big enough to print a chair...


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Monday, January 03, 2022

A small recap.

 

Almost exactly a year ago I published a photo of my list of things to do, so I thought it might be fun to see how much progress has been made in the course of a year.

It wasn't.

Actually it's interesting to note quite a significant change in approach.  The first and most obvious symptom of that is that the "months" are missing after each little group  of projects.  The deadlines have simply disappeared and life is so much gentler for the lack of them. In the course of our normal lives, even significantly disrupted ones (perhaps specially significantly disrupted ones) things just bob up which interfere with our plans.  They just do, and there's absolutely no need to get all hot and bothered over a few changing deadlines as a result.

Right now for instance, our older boys are with us along with their Mum and Dad, so there won't be any sneaking away to work on Millie's chair for a day or two.  Since there's no deadline other than the obvious "It'd be nice to have the baby chair done before she leaves school" we can be free to play endless rounds of Skip-Bo and walk along the beach until our knees fall apart.

There are gaps of course where things once were writ, evidence of sorts that things have been dealt with, and no new things as far as I can tell, because new projects tend to "push in", (like the van did) and make their presence felt without the need to be added.

The little hieroglyph at the bottom remains, not because Lila and Papa didn't build their kite, but because they did, and they broke it, and it's meaning changed to "repair kite some day".  It probably won't be erased even then, because then it will say "had a good time flying the kite instead of attending to all those things on the list!"

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Sunday, January 02, 2022

Found 'em!

 Millie is two now, and if she was filling in one of those forms which so commonly these days have a question beginning with:

"Do you identify as:-"

Without hesitation she would tick the box that says "a big person".  

I suspect that the fact that she can neither read nor write is not something that the poser of the question would have considered, so this whole thought process is a bit of a waste of time, not unlike filling in forms in general.   Never the less,  she's determined to sit at the dining table like the big people do and for that she needs a taller chair, of the kind that her grandfather has made for her brothers and cousins and let's just say the order is a bit overdue for delivery.

The timber has been roughly cut for quite some time, and left neatly stacked to settle, then moved out of the way while something else more important was being done, then moved again and so on until it was entirely out of sight and almost out of mind.   

First things first, better move the stuff on top of the bits I need, to somewhere else.  The drawer liner from the van fridge, the boxes of small parts yet to be fitted and the sundry spares all had to be relocated on top of some other project with a lesser priority.    

But the bamboo chopping boards also turned up, the ones that only need a trim, a glue and a bolt or two to become the fold out bench in the van, and the hinges are lying in wait on the saw bench, so it doesn't make sense to move them to where they'll be forgotten. Might as well get that done while the machinery is out.

That, ladies and gentlemen, is why even the simplest of tasks can take a very long time around here!

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Saturday, January 01, 2022

Holistic Resolutions


 "I'm very glad you asked me that, Mrs Rawlinson. The term `holistic' refers to my conviction that what we are concerned with here is the fundamental interconnectedness of all things. I do not concern myself with such petty things as fingerprint powder, telltale pieces of pocket fluff and inane footprints.

I see the solution to each problem as being detectable in the pattern and web of the whole. The connections between causes and effects are often much more subtle and complex than we with our rough and ready understanding of the physical world might naturally suppose, Mrs Rawlinson."

It was as if Douglas Adams had seen my life, when describing Dirk Gently's conviction.  

Some have suggested that I document the clean-up of the place I call "my shed" in the absence of further travel for a time, but it's not as simple as that.

It has overflowed, you see, not quite throughout the house, but at least to that bit of it that used to be occupied by me to paint in, to the point that it's a non-functioning reflection of my state of mind!   I'd really like to do some work on that painting this year, perhaps even finish it, but at the moment access is limited by in no particular order - van parts which still need to be installed, van parts that need to be discarded once templates have been made, material for making templates for van parts, parts of a chair for Millie, our almost complete but as yet entirely not assembled sideboard, and one or two parts of other projects as well.

Sadly the reason that these are not in a more appropriate place is that every horizontal surface and a few vertical ones in the "shed"(which isn't really a shed) are similarly occupied.

If I resolve to work on that painting this year, which for the sake of my listening audience I hereby will, the extent of the interconnectedness of everything else may well become apparent.

HAPPY NEW YEAR to all, and do wish me luck! 

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