Legends from our own lunchtimes

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".


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!


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?


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.


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."


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.


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...


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!"


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!


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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