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Two years ago today

The shirt says it all.
The shirt says it all.

Reasons Mom was awesome:

  • She went to Woodstock (yes, that Woodstock)...
  • ...on the back of a Harley.
  • She participated in inaugurating a pig, which was clearly a better choice than Nixon.
  • She defied convention, a girl wearing jeans in the fifties. It was considered shocking. Think "Scout" in To Kill A Mockingbird.
  • She left her family, and country, in protest at what was happening with 'Nam...
  • ...turned out she was right.
  • Of course, it's pretty much a given that a bra was ritually set on fire.
  • She also marched Aldermaston (CND protests)...
  • ...turns out she was right about that too.
  • Met and chatted with Dylan (yes, that Dylan). As mom tells it, they passed a few hours talking about random stuff because she wasn't starstruck and knew better than to ask "what do your songs mean".
  • The lack of being starstruck is also why one of the first guys to seriously hit on her was some sort of Dutch? Belgian? nobility. A Count. He didn't like mentioning it as people got weird. Her reply, "is that all?".
  • You might notice that the offbeat sarcasm is an inherited thing. I got all my best biting satire from mom.
  • Along the way, something to do with the British national stables. I'm not exactly sure what, but it involved minor ranking Royals and show jumping.
  • And she became a nurse, because she liked helping people.
  • Specifically a nurse in geriatrics, because it was "a shit position that nobody wanted to do". There's no glory in wiping the backsides of senile old people. So she made that her profession. And was damned good at it.
  • And got me into it too, for a short while.


  • And this is only a brief résumé of the big points that I remember.
  • She had a way of subtly influencing people and events. Not always to go her way, to go that way that they should go.
  • And all of this, she did by herself having left her family behind, and with a husband who died young, and a nutjob probably-on-the-spectrum child.


  • So as I sit here in this old farmhouse writing this, I am quite aware that she walked away from her life with practically nothing at all, recreated a completely new (and better) life, and was eventually able to buy a farmhouse. Something she had wanted since she was six and spent a few weeks in the summer with.... Auntie Minnie? Delaware? I forget the details.
  • Suffice to say, she did it. All by herself.
  • And I know she was happy here. A nomadic spirit at heart, she never spent more than about ten years in any one place.
  • She had seventeen here (since 2002), and had owned the property since 1992 (1993?), coming over for the summers. Summers which were often "July until it got too cold", which would sometimes mean October.
  • And I have no doubt she would have died here, even if she lived another decade.
  • A wandering soul, she finally found "home".


To say "I don't measure up" would be a massive understatement. Mom lived an extraordinary and amazing life. So it's really no surprise that reality started to fall apart just a few months after her death...


Sorry for the silence this weekend

I wanted to write something about the chocolate drink, to tie in with the short video that I made, however I worked on Saturday morning. It wasn't particularly long, 7pm until 12.30pm with lots of people annoyed because they thought I was supposed to be there at 5am (not what my work planner says, I checked just to be sure). As it happens, the two in plonge (industrial washing up) that were making noise about how I wasn't there at 5am to assist them, then told me that there wasn't much going on so they didn't need me.
As it happens, my role is not plonge, so even if I had turned up at 5am, I would not have gone into plonge. I had to restock the production areas for the things like latex gloves and plastic aprons. Then do the same in the changing rooms (toilet paper, paper towels, hairnets, etc). Then change the disinfectant solution in the... what the hell is "pediluve" in English? It's like a rubber carpet that holds a litre (or so) of liquid and you walk on it and it disinfects the soles of your shoes. There's also a bunch of other stuff I'm not going to bother to describe, suffice to say, I did have other things to do. I expected to be in plonge as of around 9am in order to cover people on break and so on, especially as more work would arrive as production drew to a close.
I was actually there from half eight, spending most of my time at the end of the big tunnel. Basically, either a baking tray (I think they're 66cm by 46cm) or a big silicone mould (baking tray size) would come out of the machine. I'd need to work out what sort of tray/mould it is to turn around and place it on the correct pile. I pretty much did that for three hours. Yes, I could feel my brain dissolving into mush.

Anyway, I went shopping, came home, traumatised the cats, and generally had an okay afternoon (with a lot of intermittant rain). But come the evening I felt wrecked. I was in bed with lights out by ten.

Sunday, I didn't feel like I had any concentration at all. I decided to have an easy day watching Netflix, but my concentration didn't even manage that. So I watched random rubbish on YouTube, like "most amazing moments in sports caught on camera", a lot of which seemed to be extremely improbable basketball wins. Though the bloke that bounced his golf ball across water, up a hill, and down to land right in the hole...that was pretty impressive. I write all of that just to demonstrate that at least a small part of my brain was still functioning.

Anyway, here's the video I threw together on Saturday. Twelve of you have already watched this...


Strimmer motor

When I came home this afternoon, I took the electric strimmer to some weeds out front. It smashed them down pretty quickly, and unlike the petrol strimmer, it didn't splatter me with plant detritus.

When it came to clean the machine at the end, it really looked like it was cooling the motor by sucking air through the top of the motor with a blower attached to the bottom.

Twelve screws later I was able to separate the two halves of the shell around the motor to see, yeah, it does exactly that. The motor, actually, was quite clean inside, but there were a fair amount of weed bits around the motor.

Inside the strimmer.
Inside the strimmer.

By undoing the springs on the brushes, the middle (windings) of the motor can be slid completely out in order to clean around the magnetic outer part. I noticed a fair amount of black dust, most likely from the brushes. Couple this with sucking bits of grass and such through the motor, I'm not exactly convinced that this device is built for longevity. Would it have added that much to the cost to have some sort of filter to keep most of the crap out?

Cleaned, reassembled, and tested.



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