All posts by Phil

“In every job that must be done…

…There is an element of fun.”

So said Mary Poppins in, er, well, would you believe it – Mary Poppins.  And by and large, I agree with her.  It’s just that, sometimes, the fun takes a bit more finding than at other times.  Take, for instance, the job I had to do last week-end: on Saturday evening, while a short distance from home, I had briefly parked my car, and, returning to it, I noticed a puddle, and the characteristic aroma of ethylene glycol.  Fortunately, I made it home with the engine temperature only a little higher than usual.  Investigation next day confirmed what I suspected – a failed hose.  And no ordinary hose at that.  Have a look here:

Yes, that’s right – the one in the middle, low down.  It’s got five ends.  And, no, that’s not a mathematical impossibility, because it has moulded joints in it.

Anyway, the first little game is called ‘See if you can disconnect the lowest point without getting coolant up your sleeve.’  I won, because I managed not to.  Well, not much.

Next comes ‘See if you can disconnect the other four ends without taking everything else to pieces.’  A bit harder, but I won again.  (In the end.)  Phil 2, Mondeo 0.

Monday saw the fitting of a replacement, an engine flush, and a refill with new coolant – and here was the real delight; observing a vivid fluorescent pink-orange colour of new premium anti-freeze; that, and a certain sense of accomplishment.  Especially as there were no leaks.  A hat-trick.  The fun was there, just a little more elusive than usual…

And just remember, whether you drive a car or look after a child – or both, for that matter: if the temperature goes up, you’ve almost certainly got a problem.

Prompted by:


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The Gallery: Week 68 – Birth

It’s rather ironic that I’m writing this last-minute post against a background of such disturbing national news which is the topic of a lot of debate and discussion.  But how, indeed, does my photo relate to ‘birth’ as a topic?

Well, this built-in house name plaque is typical of property of that era, which remains common in many towns and cities in England.  It could be argued that the date is a bit like the ‘birth’ date of a house.  It might also be said that  such properties would have been the place of birth for many – in the days when midwives went from house to house on a push-bike, in answer to messages left for them on notes pinned to the back doors of their own houses!

But here, the date is significant.  Houses for working-class people  were at last being built to comply with certain legally enforced conditions.  In particular, each house now had to have its own toilet, and also a sink in the kitchen with water on tap!  This resulted from the passing of the Public Health act (1875) and also the Artisans’ and Labourers’ Dwellings Improvement Act (1875) making that year very significant in what we might call the birth of housing reform.  Of course, many more improvements such as bathrooms and hot water systems were still many years away.  (And that telephone wire!)

If you feel inclined to study it, the socio-economic history of Britain is a fascinating subject, and certainly one to provoke deep thinking.  Oh, and probably make us all feel not so badly-off, after all.

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Looking Back at Looking Forward

If you know me already, or if you scan through this site, you’ll appreciate my fascination with rain.  As I’ve said before, this goes back a long way – as far back as early childhood, in fact.  Well, just recently I did what I used to back then, just to see if it felt the same: I took something to eat and drink, and sat on a garden chair just under cover from the falling rain, and quietly ate, drank, and thought.  And the question is, did it feel the same?

Well, first of all, the same old curious fascination was definitely there.  As ever, I loved to muse on the way everyday things like roofs and plant-pots, as well as the plants and trees, looked excitingly different just because they were wet.  Once again, I loved to look at droplets and reflections.

But then there was, and always is, something else, much harder to describe: doing this, as I did once again, has the effect of giving isolation and comfort at the same time.  The falling rain emphasises that you are alone, but never lonely.  You are surrounded in solitary beauty.

Let me make a contrast: to walk through a shopping centre on a busy morning, surrounded by hundreds of people who care nothing for you, and shop displays compete to entice you to part with your money in exchange for the latest this and that, that is loneliness.

So, was anything different, and, if so, what?  Well now, here is the point of my title: as a child, I would sit there like that, mostly filling my head with thoughts of what I wanted to do, either that day, or at the week-end, or in the next school holidays,or whenever.  Doing the same thing now (the food, drink, chair, and location will all be different but the concept is the same) I find that I am mostly looking back, remembering and wondering about all kinds of things… Perhaps my two little pictures show us something: you can focus on the surroundings, or on the reflections, but not on both at the same time.

The fascination, though, and that strange, almost paradoxical comfort, is still there – or did I say that before?

This post was prompted by the writing workshop at:

http://www.sleepisfortheweak.org.uk/2011/07/18/writing-workshop-prompts-big-kids/

Now look here:

http://www.sleepisfortheweak.org.uk/2011/07/25/writing-workshop-on-the-top-step/


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The Gallery – Week 67: Vintage

Once again, I nearly passed up on this subject – then I told myself to pull myself together and have a go.  Then I remembered this was in my wardrobe:

It was passed on to me by my father.  Nothing very ‘vintage’ here, I hear you say.  But look…


No, that is not a fake label.  Once upon a time, clothes – ordinary, good, comfortable, well-styled clothes – were made in Britain.  Honest.  this example must be forty years old, or more.  Worn, washed, worn, washed, dozens of times.  Makes you think, doesn’t it?

Find more ‘Gallery’ posts at:
http://stickyfingers1.blogspot.com/2011/07/gallery-vintage.html

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The Gallery: Week 66 – Travel

I nearly passed up on this one because I am not, relatively speaking, all that much of a traveller, at least, not by today’s general standards.  Then I remembered an outing to the RAF museum at Cosford, where I took quite a lot of pictures.  This museum, by the way, is well worth a visit, not only for  the opportunity to study a great wealth of aircraft of all kinds and how they find their place in history, but also for the visual feast of shape and line.  It’s very much about travel, mostly, of course, air travel.  It’s easy to travel to the site – by road, as I did, or by rail.  And while you’re there, you will ‘travel’ back in time…

This shot, I think, fits our theme best.  Anyone interested in aircraft, world war two, or design and shape for its own sake should go and see the rest for themselves.

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At that moment…

This is a short anecdote about something that made my day special.  The day in question – some weeks ago now – became special because of something hilarious (at least, I thought so.)

What happened was this: I was driving around (as part of an ordinary business day) when I had to stop at traffic signals (a common enough occurrence.) I happened to be the first stopped car, that is, I was right at the stop line.

Now, this set of signals served two purposes: it controlled a crossing point for pedestrians and cyclists (several were waiting) and it was also part of a complex system of traffic control for a large roundabout linking trunk roads.  The entire layout was not visible from where I was stopped.  (Note that.)

After a few seconds, the signals allowed the pedestrians and cyclists to cross.  Among them, a very average cyclist on an equally average bike began, slowly, to cross in front of me…

Well, as I said, the entire layout was out of my range of vision; but out of earshot it was not.  Oh, no.  And at exactly the same moment, unseen, a powerful motor-bike roared away.

Picture, if you can, the absurd overall impression – a pedal cycle moving off at a sedate pace, making an ear-splitting roar!  It made me scream with laughter.  And the humour of the situation stayed with me all day.

Watch out (or listen out) for excessively noisy push-bikes…

This post was prompted by the writing workshop at:

http://www.sleepisfortheweak.org.uk/2011/07/04/writing-workshop-prompts-what-today-meant/

Then look here:

http://www.sleepisfortheweak.org.uk/2011/07/11/writing-workshop-what-today-has-meant-by-a-special-guest-contributor/

I linked this post to #chucklemums week 7 on 7 June 2016

Mumzilla
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