Completely, totally exhausted. No idea why. One minute I was peachy keen, the next I felt like kipping on the sofa. I’m resisting, because it almost invariably makes me feel worse. It has been a fairly busy and productive day though, which might explain it.
So, the items on today’s list were: Replace the leaking ballcock washer, gluing the back of the bookcase back together* and making an iphone/ ipod to valve radio cable.
Having watched yesterday’s Rachel Maddow show over breakfast, and enjoyed the Pro-Obamaness**** I diassembled the 1930s ballcock and ‘simply undid’ the piston*****. It actually did come apart with less force than I thought might be required (although I was suspecting that it would need to be replaced entirely, so that’s not saying a lot). The rubber of the washer was fairly brick like and slightly crumbly, so the fact it was working as well as it was is quite surprising. Slipping the washer into my pocket I wandered down to the garage sporting my bike gear with the intention of going straight out to get the bits and bobs I required from the plumbing place and the very depressing Maplin.
Having had a bit of a mental debate about the issue of how to glue the bits of wood making the back up back together, I realised that really, I’m going to have to do that in the house. It’s a bit of a bugger, because it means that some of the drilling is going to have to happen in the house. But then, taking that into account, I realised that that timing was a bit of an issue and threw the first coat of varnish on the wood before taking my motorbike outside and dropping it.
See, we live in a nice house which backs onto a lane. The land outside our garage is gravelled, because our builders dumped the excess gravel on there. This is good, because prior to that it was just mud. I stood the bike on the gravel, locked the garage doors, started her up (she ran a bit roughly, probably because she’s not been used much recently) and hopped on. Up with the kickstand and pootle forward. Only the engine then attempted to stall. Pulling the clutch in, the bike came back to a stop, but now I was badly placed and the bike was starting to camber over. I stuck my leg out to stop the bike and the gravel took the bike rightward and my leg leftward. I tried to hold it up with my arms and force of will, but the fact was it wasn’t happening. The bike landed on it’s left side snapping the end off the clutch lever (argh). It also, I realised, weighs the same as a thousand suns.
A very nice biker who happened to be walking his dog kindly offered his help (I’d tried twice and realised I had no hope of getting the bike up, he arrived whilst I was in the midst of that second attempt at a lift). Between us we got it back onto it’s centre stand. I think from now on I’ll walk it out to the tarmac stretch before riding, because that was no fun. We had a bit of a chat before he went, he used to have a GT550, and commented on what a lovely bike it is, and also how insanely heavy they are compared to modern bikes. Which is kinda funny, because I thought it was just me thinking it weighed a ton, but no. Anyhow…
Having got the bike back up and running (it’s only the very end of the clutch lever that’s snapped, thankfully) I hopped on to go and be depressed by Maplins. Maplins, as we know, is painfully depressing, because I remember going in there and them actually stocking components. Still, they had what I required – a reasonable stereo socket, and a switch (for what was my mum’s broken bread maker), and I had the idea that a 4mm plug might fit in at least one of the connectors on the valve amplifier (I think I want a 3mm banana plug, but they’re very pricey) – so I got a couple of them. Despite costing more than e-bay I decided to pick up a pair of ‘helping hands’ too, although to be honest, they’re not the best ones I’ve ever tried. Nice heavy base, but finicky to set up. I then stopped at Graham and picked up the washer…
And arriving home threw the varnish on everything shelf related.
Reassembly of the toilet cistern proved to be a doddle, assuming it doesn’t start leaking in the near future. I’ve got 10 washers, anyhow (came in packs of 10). And then I sat down, watched Red Dwarf and made this:
It just all fits inside the metal case I got (I went for the metal one because I’ve had any number of stereo sockets with plastic screw together sleeves that have disintegrated). A quick check demonstrates that it works perfectly. The ‘Gram’ socket on our Bush VHF 61 does indeed work beautifully. Now I just need to make the iPhone base adaptor that looks like it’s made of bakelite and we’ll be good :)
I also took the opportunity of being in a fixy mood to repair the breadmaker my mum gave us. I don’t think anything in particular has changed with our other one, but the faulty display has led to enough failed loaves of bread, so I fixed my mum’s… Unfortunately, I made an unwarranted assumption. When I looked at it I assumed (without taking it apart) that it used nasty cheap membrane switches, because it looks like it does. So I thought, ‘sod that’ and bought a push-to-make switch. It turns out that actually, it had dinky little sub-micro switches actuated by pushrods and the plastic surface that looks like membrane switches is just a plastic surface. Still, since it’s pretty ancient I decided I wasn’t too concerned about looks, and also couldn’t be bothered to go and deal with Maplins again. A few minutes work, and a couple of little flyleads later we have a ‘Start button’ that looks more enthusiastic:
That done I went and did some more varnishing.
Yes, my entire life the past few days has been cutting or varnishing or sanding.
Then as I meandered up the garden I was suddenly hit by a wave of tiredness. An awesome wave of tiredness from which I’ve not yet recovered. I’ve been sat curled on the sofa dinking on the internet for the last couple of hours apart from… trying on my new leather jacket.
It’s pretty rare that I get clothing of a decent brand. This is because in general I’m limited to whatever’s in my size in charity shops, and I’ve broad shoulders and long arms which means that whilst the majority of me is one size, finding jumpers and jackets that fit is a fracking nightmare. However, I’ve been faintly trying to locate a leather jacket for a while, but given my ethics it had to be a second hand jacket, because one shouldn’t be killing animals for leather, and then taking that leather and using a sweatshop to make the jacket. That’s my opinion. But I’m also not wealthy, so getting new clothes that are ethically made requires either that I have very few clothes or that I get them from charity shops, or at least second hand.
Having vaguely poked at charity shops, then upped it to a fairly concerted effort to find one, including looking in vintage shops, I decided to poke at e-bay. And there it was, a Press and Bastyan jacket. Now, I’ve less idea who these people are than most, because my idea of following fashion is to watch Big Bang Theory and see if I can get teeshirts that match. However, I looked at the prices and I thought, hell, it might be decent quality. I stuck a bid on for a tenner (meaning the thing would cost 15 quid) and didn’t think too much more about it. The nice ‘you’ve won this item’ e-mail arrived, and I then assumed that it’d not fit.
It arrived today. It does fit, and it is, indeed really a very nice leather jacket. It’s not exactly what I originally went looking for, but I’m really quite pleased with it. So there we go. Now I just need to develop the ability to care deeply about clothing and I reckon I could look quite good. I suspect, however, that’s not going to be coming in the near future.
* So, yesterday Nikki kindly gave me a lift to B&Q to get the second sheet of spruce ply. Sadly, their stock was much smaller than it had been, and to be honest, a lot scabbier. It’s not intended to be furniture grade, and much of it was poorly filled with streaks of nastyness. The one I selected in the end also has scabby filled bits, but it was the best of the top few. I got it cut to size and we wandered out to Nikki’s Leaf (since Chester is not moving until we get a new strut). We tried a few angles, but were prevented by the narrowness of the rear door from getting it in**. I thought it was bendier than it is (it’s not really very bendy at all), and so having attempted every orientation of I took it back into the store and had it cut in half. It is, of course, now, 3 mm narrower than it was intended to be. Which is a bit of a bugger, but not as much of a bugger as the massive error I’ve made***.
** I can picture my dad’s rant now; he very politely destroyed every point that a Vauxhall salesperson had about why the then new Vectra was better than his few year-old Cavalier was. The only reason we were debating it is my dad had been made redundant, and whilst he still had a massive GM discount he thought it might be worth replacing the car. Having decided the Vectra was even worse than the Cavalier (which was not really as good as the Mk II Escort, but wasn’t nearly so rusty) he decided that he’d rather keep the Cav, which went on to do nearly quarter of a million miles before we sold it.
*** So, I thought there was more space around the bookcase than there actually was. So when I made the plinth, I made it a bit bigger than the case itself, to make it look nice. Like a proper bookcase, I thought. I just went and measured the gap (yes, you can all say “shouldn’t you have done that first”, but honestly, I thought it was bigger’n that) and will need to trim the ends off my plinth. Not a lot, but the nice end pieces I made? They’re going to be coming off tomorrow :(
**** Whilst I have a multitude of reservations about Obama, the choice between Obama and Romney was, to me at least, do you want someone who seems to be very competent, even if his record on civil liberties is no where near where you’d like it to be, or would you like an incompetent pathological liar. I’m sorry, but I wouldn’t object to Romney near as much if he actually stood by any position long enough to question him on it. Or admitted that he’d changed his mind. But he appears unaware of the fact that we now have the awesome technology to play back tape of him, and see what he said before and compare it to his random new position. Ah well, all done now :)
***** Whenever someone says ‘simply undo’ or ‘with a light tap’ you know that it’s bollocks, don’t you. You know that you’re going to be using molegrips and monkey wrenches or club hammers and your sharpest chisel and all the force you can muster.
Originally published at Kates Journal. You can comment here or there.