By Arachne


If I have to buy more nuts, bolts, screws, nails, rawlplugs or whatnots than I need, or if I remove them from something I'm working on, I store the extras in a neat little 'chest of drawers' that hangs on the shed wall. Most of these bits are useless but the problem is that I don't know which are going to be the useless bits so I keep them all, just in case. 

Yesterday a neighbour, probably the least practical person I have ever met, told me the cold tap in her kitchen had stopped working so I went to look. I don't know plumbing terminology but there was a bit that I have since learnt is called a spline, onto which the tap handle should have fitted snugly but didn't. Long ago I had a British motorbike so I know about using tin snips to make a shim from a tomato tin, but this looked like it needed something softer. I cut an old piece of bicycle inner tube (yes, I keep one of those in stock too), wrapped it tightly round the spline and gently hammered the tap handle back on. And with careful use, it worked! But it needed a bolt to fix it securely. Missing, obviously. Today I went back to the neighbour's kitchen while she was out exercising, removed the bolt from the hot tap, compared its length, diameter and screw pitch with the ones in my stash of bolts and yes! I had one that fitted perfectly. How immensely satisfying. Now she no longer has to collect cooking water from the bathroom.

This lockdown thing is weird. It seems I need to be doing something where I can see the end result. Reading and fiddle practice don't do. So the rest of the day I started mending the first of four rickety/broken garden chairs and continued sanding this old oak desk. It's looking much better than it did (early stage in the extra here) but it's taking a stupid amount of time. I would not buy it for the cost of the hours at basic wage that I've spent on it, and there's still the base to do. Nuts, really.

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