Wednesday 23 September 2020

Beat me up Scotty

 I subscribe to the half a loaf is better than no bread school of aphorism. Saturday last, I spent a day on the far side of the hill strimming and raking a fire-break for a patch of heather scheduled for "controlled burning". It was a perfick day: scudding clouds, not too much wind, a bit of focus on the immediate, mighty craic. At close of business, as we filed off the hill down a sheep track, I saw a roof-slate in the heather. It turned out to be, not a slate, but a rectangle of heavy duty butyl rubber with chunk ripped out of one edge . . . the flap of a broken fire-beater. That's all very well if you have €30, and it seems to be singularly ineffective at putting out the fire, like; in India they just use a wet branch.

Everyone else had trudged past this artifact, so I picked it up and took it home: half a beater is better than no beater. And it's worth $30 x ½ = 15 euros! If I'd left €10 in folding money by the sheep path, I doubt if 12 poor farmers would have disdained to pick it up. As it happens, I had a 1500mm x 40mm⌀ off-cut of solid wood curtain rail about the shed.  I had gotten as far  as pointing up one end of this pole for a back-up long-handled shovel handle. But that can wait, because the beater calls! So a cut a notch in the end of my new handle, reversed the rubber flapper and bolted it to end the the shaft [see L]. Always ready to see  opportunity when others see threat, I am pushing this design as Bob's Patent Notched Fire-beater: less air-resistance, superior contact and effectiveness. This beater may save your life! Why not? I will certainly bring my new toy along to the controlled burning demonstration - if that ever happens.

You'll also notice a short-handled spade with a walk-on part in the picture. This is another riff on today's theme: two half spades is a whole spade . . . if you keep the keep the broken stump of handle for about 20 years and then find a shovel blade at the back of a shed. A bittle whittle and three short screws and another tool to use when the zombie apocalypse starts to gain momentum

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