Saturday 5 April 2014

bleh bleh

News from the creche is that we acquired another (ram) lamb yesterday morning, more or less 3 weeks after our freebie.  As I enumerated earlier after the ultra-sound scanning, we are expecting another 16.  One of the ewes having had a heart-attack and died a couple of weeks ago, we are already two lambs down on our tally.  Yesterday arvo I left work early intending to do a little light chainsaw work. Instead I found myself dragooned into clearing out one end of the poly-tunnel to receive the maternity ward.  We are due a brutal enough storm tomorrow afternoon and it seemed a little unfair to subject the newborns to a soaking wet cold night if it may be avoided.  Handling sheep is always a little more complex than "let's keep them in the poly-tunnel for a couple of weeks".  You have to get them in the door first and that involves running some temporary sheep wire out in a funnel pointed at the entrance.  Meanwhile the doors had thrashed themselves to fritters in the Darwinday storm, so a gate had to be found to close the gap  . . . and some fence-posts and a couple of rolls of sheep fence, and some staples, screws, a hammer, the cordless drill (which inevitably was low on juice), the post-driving short-handled sledge-hammer.  And it all had to be done now as light was failing and a fine drizzle set in from the West.  For once it all went forward as planned, the sheep followed the bucket of feed and O'Manch and I were able to hoosh the stragglers into the tunnel with the gate. I knew there was a reason I'd kept 6 honeycomb-cardboard interior doors - they can be re-purposed as corral.

When we had finished tinkering about shifting this and making-do with that, O'Manch asked what we call people who fix things up (apart from goll-darned genius).  I was delighted to hear that in Spain the skill is called bricolaje just as French has bricolage.  Bricolage has a particular place in the hearts of evolutionary biologists because of the pivotal essay by Francois Jacob which introduced us to the word.  I asked O'Manch what they call the fellow who does bricolaje and, after denying that there was such a word, he offered manitas which is the same as our handyman, and isn't quite the same.  He also denied that there was anyone in his home-town who fitted the description bricoleur and claimed that if something went wrong you called in a particular specialist.  But I know, if I were to ask either of his grand-fathers, they will be able to identify the Mr. Fixit, el Fijador, in their neighbourhood even if that chap is now long dead.

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