Hail to thee, Scythe Spirit!

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It’s a jungle out there…

Just a quick post…

Chez Snail doesn’t have a large area of grass or meadow for me to practice my scything on, just a very small bit of grass at the front. So, when Going Batty in Wales said she wanted to cut her meadow which had become somewhat enthusiastic for growing hogweed and pretty much every other type of meadow plant, I offered to help out. Social distancing is easy as there is plenty of space – now there is a bit more!

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…but we tamed it…

I scythed, GBIW removed the cut hogweed and we talked and talked and talked…

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…well, except maybe this wild animal, who we left to its own devices…

When we were done, we had ham rolls and wine and talked some more. A perfect way to spend part of the day, more so during these strange times!

oOo

Categories: gardening, Sustainable Stuff | Tags: , | 2 Comments

Mend it Monday: Brush and Lead

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Brush Fix #1 didn’t work…

A couple of repairs for this occasional Mend it Monday post (as started by The Snail of Happiness). The first is the washing-up brush – made of coconut bristles, with no plastic, and a wooden handle. The perfect eco brush except that the head just started falling out the handle (I don’t think it is designed to be interchangeable) some time into its service.

I tried putting a collar of the marvellous sugru around the neck, but this really didn’t work at all so this is the next attempt – I have filled the hole in the handle with sugru and forced the brush head into it. Time will tell if it holds for more than a nanosecond but it feels pretty firm.

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Brush Fix #2 – lovely green sugru

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This worked for 4:32…

It was four minutes and thirty-two seconds into washing up before the head became detached once more. Harrumph…

While I harrumphed, the Snail filled the hole in the handle with gorilla glue and pushed the head in – where it has stayed ever since. There’s a lesson in there for me somewhere…

The second mend is a classic sugru-on-frayed-cable-fix – this is the USB cable that came with my Kindle a million years ago. I noticed last week that the outer sheath by one end had worn away to expose the ground shield beneath. There was no question this time – it was always going to be a sugru mend. The only real question was – what colour?

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More successful use of green sugru

Yay for mending things!

oOo

 

 

Categories: repair, Sustainable Stuff | Tags: , , , | 9 Comments

ScrapHappy July 2020: Threading the Needle

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So, what’s this pile of old scrap for?

It’s a rare thing when the two sides of the same coin can be bridged but this is one of those times – I give you the Hard ScrapHappy needle threader for Soft Scraphappyness.

The wire has to be thin enough to pass through the eye of a needle (oh, the irony if camel hair worked) but thick enough to hold its shape. The handle just has to be, you know, handleable.

The two bits needed come from an old hard disk drive – the handle in this case is a memory chip and the wire is from the sense coil of the read/write head. In English, these are a funny rectangular bit with tiny legs and a bit of wire from something that looks like it belongs in a juke box. There are plenty other leggy quadrilaterals and bits of wire that can be used from a single hard drive to make needle threaders and, while I don’t think you could run a business making threaders from hard drives and thus help save the planet, well, every little helps as at least one supermarket with a sense of irony likes to state.

 

 

I soldered the wire onto the top few legs that were still attached to the chip, and cut the other legs off flush with the body so that there weren’t any pointy bits. The wire can be made more pointy to taste by just squeezing the end with pliers.

I made some earlier using connecting wire (from an old reel of wire I bought as part of my electronics hobby), sugru and old buttons.

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One I made out of (slightly) more conventional materials

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Ready to thread…

Eh, voila! Hard and soft scraphappiness in perfect harmony!

oOo

This is a wonderful idea from the equally wonderful Kate and Gun. Lots of other people now join in, so check their sites too for more ScrapHappyness!

Kate (me!)Gun, TittiHeléneEvaSue, Lynn, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy,  Tracy, Jill, Claire, Jan,
Moira, SandraLindaChrisNancyAlysKerryClaireJean,
Joanne, Jon, HayleyDawnGwen, Connie, Bekki, Pauline,
Sue L, Sunny, Kjerstin and Vera

 

Categories: computers, recycling, ScrapHappy, Sewing | Tags: , , | 17 Comments

Fixing the future

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Imagine, for a moment, a world run by corporations, not governments. A world where everyone is born an employee who is looked after as a company asset and, consequently, where there is no food or fuel poverty, no homelessness. All materials are recycled where possible, to the point that using new materials is reserved for special products. One downside? It is illegal to repair anything yourself or, indeed, make anything yourself. No knitting, no quilting, no soldering, no ScrapHappy. This kind of activity is deemed anti-corporation and is punishable by “credit history expungement”.*

We aren’t at this level of part dystopian, part idyllic (possibly, depending on your point of view) society yet. So far, this is just the world my newest creation, Nathan Xylophone, finds himself in as he is transported to 2088 after a bit of an accident (new novel on its way soon, honest!) .

But how close are we to not being allowed to mend things ourselves?

A few weeks ago, we moved a little closer to such a scenario as Apple won a landmark case in Norway against a repairer, Henrik Huseby, who dared to offer screen repairs for iPhones. His crime? He used imported refurbished Apple screens. He never once said he was using genuine spare parts, because once a screen has been refurbished by a third party, it is no longer considered to be a genuine Apple part, although it basically is, of course. Apple had sued in 2018, claiming an infringement of trademark, a case they lost. So they came at Henrik from a different angle – the screens, imported into Norway they claimed, were illegal copies.

In Norway’s Supreme Court, they won, leaving Henrik with a huge legal bill (one that repairers and supporters of the right to repair movement have rallied to help pay) and the potential for any and every company to prevent what they would see as “unauthorised” repairs. Apple already make their products almost impossible to fix without returning them – now they appear to have a mandate (at least in Norway) to continue that policy.

So, what is the solution? Apple say they reclaim some of the materials from their products and encourage people to return them when they upgrade, but they also render iPhones that are more than 3 or 4 years old useless by making the software run grindingly slowly – they are less than keen on keeping existing tech running!

Perhaps an answer might be to make it law that things have to be repaired at the manufacturers expense thus making the economics shift from throwaway to keep-forever. Or maybe, make things that are completely open source, and allow anyone to fix anything? What do you think? Should something that can be repaired have to be repaired?

As I write this (30/06/2020), apparently the Federal Congress of Mexico have approved the criminalisation of the right to repair or modify the hardware and software of devices, with penalties including ten years in jail. I haven’t found this on a newsfeed, just Twitter, so I can’t verify it – perhaps someone out there can?

Maybe Nathan Xylophone shouldn’t be too surprised what he finds in 2088!

oOo

* “I see this is not today’s software. Isn’t that treason or espionage or something?”

Although he did not look up from his work, Nathan could tell Jay Gee was grimacing, just a little. “Technically, it is both, with both punishable by removal of credit rating. Credit History Expungement, it’s called.”

“Sounds nasty. Can you get ointment for it?”

“After the expungement, no. You can’t get anything. You can’t buy, rent or indeed use anything that is less than two years old.”

“Wow, that’s harsh! Actually, what?”

“In this time, two years old is ancient history.”

“Even food? I mean, can you get food if you been ex, er, sponged then? Can you eat sponge cake?”

“You get the ‘C’ treatment. Charity. Worst thing a consumer can ask for. And you have to ask for it to. That or starve. Most choose the latter although we haven’t had any expungements for nearly five years, so recently people have been very good consumers indeed.”

“So, are you going to expunge yourself then, or in this joyless society, is that illegal too?”

“Ha ha. Joyless? We have none of the plagues that were raging across the planet in the twenty twenties, Nathan, not one of them. Poverty is all but gone, replaced by that most useless of things, fashion. But fashion that everyone has access to and can buy into. And everyone can buy into it…”

“Unless they’ve been expunged, of course.”

“Of course. But then, that’s their fault, isn’t it? With a great credit history comes great consumer responsibility.”

Categories: repair, Writing | Tags: , | 8 Comments

ScrapHappy June 2020: Scrum from Scrap

When cardboard and old credit card bills are on the menu:

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Take some old cardboard and paper shreddings…

 

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…add the shreddings to the bed…

 

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…tuck the shreddings in with a blanket of cardboard to keep it warm (and in the bed!)…

 

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..throw away the bits that won’t help…

 

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…plant up and wait for things to grow. Then eat. Yum!

oOo

The lovely Kate Chiconi and Gun created this idea and the people listed below have embraced it, as well as turning a blind eye to my nonsense:

KateGun, TittiHeléneEvaSue, Lynn, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy,  Tracy, Jill, Claire, Jan,
Moira, SandraLindaChrisNancy, Alys, Kerry, Claire, Jean,
Joanne, Jon (me), HayleyDawn, Gwen, Connie, Bekki, Pauline,
Sue L, Sunny, Kjerstin and Vera

Categories: gardening, recycling, ScrapHappy, Sustainable Stuff | Tags: , , , , | 16 Comments

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