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Profile for Redemption:
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I'm Australian and too flamin' old for this. I've got no imagination, I took the name from the cover of a recent sci-fi novel.

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» The Naughty Step

The naughty step indeed
I was visiting my old mate Des one Saturday afternoon when all hell broke loose at a house diagonally opposite.

Des said to come and have a look at this, so over to the window I went.

A girl about ten burst around the back corner of the house going like a train followed a few moments later by a large woman in full cry. But by the time the woman made it to the front corner, the girl was back in through the front door. That slammed shut behind her.

The woman got to the door and thumped on it. It was locked. Shouting threats of slow death at "You kids", she returned to the back door, which apparently was locked as well. Over the next five minutes the shouts died away and she took to prowling around the house muttering threats.

Ten minutes later she was sitting quietly on the front door step.

Des said that when she got too much for her three children, they locked her out of the house.

"She falls for it every time" he said.
(Sat 9th Feb 2013, 12:45, More)

» Where Did It All Go Wrong?

Mowing the yard
It all went wrong when I decided to mow the yard. Well, a few minutes later, actually. I filled the fuel tank, primed the carburettor and heaved on the starter cord. Away she went, but a few seconds later there was a squeal and smoke appeared at the top of the motor.

Oh dear, whatever can be the matter?

I stopped the motor. The starter cord had not retracted fully, so I removed the starter assembly and sure enough, it was looped around the starter clutch instead of only the pulley.

Darn it, more expense.

I consulted the Briggs and Stratton site on-line. A new pulley was cheap, so that was encouraging, but any details on repairs were absent, since my 15 year old mower was no longer covered. What to do, oh what to do?

Well there is a mower repair and sales centre not far away, so I used plan B, the good old Yellow Pages.

"Do you handle Briggs and Stratton motors?"

"Yes."

O joy! Oh bliss!. I leapt into the car, taking the assembly with me. Ten minutes later I walked through the door and handed the offending article to the man behind the counter.

"Not a problem" he said, and disappeared into the workshop. I heard the hiss of compressed air and a few rattles. Five minutes later he was back, holding the thing upside down.

"I've just oiled it, don't turn it up the other way for a while until the oil soaks in."

Sure enough, a little puddle of oil sloshed about in the spring compartment.

"We normally charge $35 per hour, but that only took five minutes. That will be $20 thanks. Did you oil the clutch at the top of the motor, by any chance?"

Nonplussed, I answered that I had not, so he told me to do it.

"Any oil will do."

Well it was a cheap fix. I got home, put some oil around the clutch thingy and went in for lunch.

The oil around the starter spring had soaked in by then so I replaced the starter assembly, counted to three, crossed my fingers and pulled the starter cord. Great! That's fixed and it didn't cost a bomb. So now I've got the mower running I'll do the front yard.

Oops, I forgot that steel stake. There was a clang and the mower started to shake. Bugger, broken blade. But no, three of the four blades were twisted inward. To fix that I'll have to put the mower on it's side and to do that I'll have to drain the fuel tank. I got a nice mouthful of petrol from not letting go of the siphon quickly enough. Put the garden hose in your mouth, silly.

Not being completely stupid, I disconnected the spark plug. I found I could not swing the three blades back with one hand while holding the disk with the other, so grandfather's ball peen hammer came into play. Five minutes banging away and they were back in the right places.

What was that gurgling sound? Bloody hell, moving the disk pumped oil from the sump out of the four stroke motor. No oil in the motor, it was on the motor and on the base plate instead. And I'd just changed the oil two weeks before. At least that flushed out the remains of the old oil. There was just enough left in the bottle.

Of course oil was dripping from the spark plug. Soak it in mineral turps for a few minutes, wipe with cloth, a quick scratch with a wire brush and it's as good as new. Pull the starter cord a few times to blow out any loose stuff in the cylinder, replace the spark plug and Robert was my avuncular relative.

Now I have to clean up the mess.
(Wed 6th Mar 2013, 4:41, More)

» Twattery

DIY twats
Reposted from 4 years ago.

I bought a house in tropical Queensland, lovely old place, built about 1925, all good timber and a veranda out the front. The kitchen and bathroom had been modernised decently but apart from repainting, the rest of the interior was original.

There were gorgeous skirting boards with ogive tops and matching architraves. Fretwork ventilators above the genuine 3-panel doors, a picture rail and really high ceilings. I scoured local lighting shops for fittings that were close to 1920-ish and got a vintage looking ceiling fan. I took the brass window latches off the 8-pane windows, cleaned off years of tarnish and paint splash, polished, lacquered and put them back on freshly painted windows. Lovely.

A few years later I moved away, then when passing through the town called in on old neighbors. While I was there the third set of owners after me called in. So I used to own No. 31? Well, yes. Oh, we have been doing some work, come in for a look.

They'd ripped out out the lovely old skirting boards, the architraves and the picture rails and sheeted over the timber wall boards with featureless plasterboard. The 8-pane hinged windows that caught every stray breeze were gone, replaced by sliding aluminium framed panes that caught nothing. The interior looked like it had been built the week before.

Some twats don't got no taste at all.
(Sun 15th Apr 2012, 3:26, More)

» Surprise!

Gaylene Krumins
Known as "Bent Fabric" in memory of a one-hit wonder pianist of the sixties was generally regarded as a nice girl but slightly dim. She was given to a tad too much make-up, hanging out with the junior chamber of commerce crowd, tootling around town in an iridescent purple Austin-Healey with chrome wheels and practical jokes.

She painted the inside of her toilet a very, very pale blue. The surprise came when you switched the light on. 200 watts.
(Sat 6th Apr 2013, 5:39, More)

» Hoarding

Charlie lived about three doors from Dave's family home
And Charlie was some kind of relative - Dave's Mum's older second cousin, something like that.

Charlie had been a local legend. He built his own TV set so he and his amateur athlete wife could watch the 1956 Olympics from Melbourne, no matter that the nearest transmitters were hundreds and hundreds of kilometers away, he made it work, according to Dave's Mum. If you wanted your radio, public address system or commercial two way system fixed, he was your man. TV? No worries.

His wife died suddenly in the late 1950s and Charlie went a bit funny. He started building amateur radio equipment, masses of it, and he started to hoard. Not paper, old supermarket bags, tin cans and such rubbish, tools. Heaven knows how much he spent over the years.

Charlie died in 1998. Dave phoned me a few weeks later and said there was to be a sale of Charlie's stuff one Saturday and would I like to came as a buyer. I'd never been inside the house, didn't know what to expect. Walls in three different rooms were solid radio equipment, all hand built, all sprayed that pale grey you used to see on professional gear. All of it used valves (vacuum tubes). I'm no expert on this but from a few loose units you could see it was beautifully made, not a blob of solder out of place, the steel chassis had been expertly cut out and fitted together, not a gap or a sharp tag in sight.

The house, apart from a surfeit of obsolete but classic VHF and UHF gear was fairly clear. But then we went down to the garage. Lathes, milling machines, nibblers, those things for bending sheet steel nicely, I don't even know what they are called. welding gear, soldering irons, bicycles that Dave said that Charlie built from tubing.

Unopened packages of drills and small tools with prices in pounds, shillings and pence. Australia adopted dollars and cents in February 1966. I got sets of drills and a set of screwdrivers, at least 30 years old and never out of the packets.
(Sat 5th May 2012, 23:56, More)
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