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8 posts in 1212 days
Location: Reading, Berkshire, UK
A long long time ago, in a backwards country that time and the rest of the planet had forgotten, a young boy grew up on a small farm. The farm was equipped with everything that boys intent on building things, and then wantonly destroying them with all manner of machinery (and home made explosives...relax MI5...this was the 70's, man) could want.
The boy loved building things and not once did he let the imbalance between his enthusiasm and the poor poor build quality of his projects slow him down. His father who was a full-time accountant, and a part time farmer, was tighter than Tighty McTight. If something broke he'd fix it with whatever he had in the barn. So the boy grew up with the crazy belief that you could fix anything with a piece of number 8 fencing wire, some duct tape and a cardboard box.
The boy somehow made his way to high school and there he found a woodworking class, he also found girls but mysteriously the girls seemed to have trouble finding him. He got to use some proper machines (who knew that a lathe wasn't powered by a tractor differential?!) and was guided by his Jig-i Master. He loved it.
Time marched on and the boy began to spend more time thinking about impressing girls than building jigs. He wanted a car. Girls liked cars (they also liked horses but put a horse next to a drop-top Mustang and which one would you rather make out in?!) To get a car he needed money. To get money he got a job in a shopping mall...
...and that my fellow Lumberjocks is where this kack-handed, and naive but likeable little chap crossed to the Dark Side. Move the clock forward 25 years and that little boy who liked building things had a moment of clarity. A BFO if you like (also known as a Blinding Flash of the Obvious).
Our now much less naive, but hopefully still likeable, bigger and rounder chap had somehow managed to leave behind the idyllic paradise of his birth country (New Zealand) to find himself living in the UK, having finally found a girl who looked beyond his refusal to accept that a Volvo wasn't a Mustang no matter which way you looked at it. They had 3 fantastic kids and a very happy life.
However, our hero was now firmly cemented in middle management hell, having graduated from working in the mall, to the heady heights of actually managing the mall. He spent 2 hours a day commuting into miserable London, where he sat in an enormous open plan office making money for other folk. There was something missing...
To keep himself cheerful he refused to read the newspaper on his commute but rather chose to feed his mushy brain with random YouTube clips. One day he chanced across a crazy guy who called himself The Wood Whisperer...and there you have his BFO! Here was a guy who had realised that his 9-5 was not what he'd wanted and had gone with his true calling shaping and building with wood. He'd developed his skills over time and had got to the point where he could be support himself and his family and had also built a very loyal following by using a new media form. Inspirational.
That was 12 months ago (Nov-2011) and since then our hero has endured some remarkable events and changes which has led to some big learning experiences. Just to be clear, I am the lead character in this opus.
In no particular order my ten big lessons from the last year are:
1) I'm still kack-handed.
2) A Subaru will not win an argument with a transit van in a head-on collision.
3) Power tools are WAY cooler than cars, especially Festool.
4) A job, unlike a dog, is not for life.
5) Square means square and if I haven't checked for square, or double checked my measurements, some joints will not fit no matter how hard I swings my 'persuader'.
6) The people you think are friends may not be there when the proverbial hits the fan, but sometimes the people you know the least can be stars.
7) Hand tools are WAY WAY cooler than power tools.
8) Children are my raison d'etre and when their health is at risk, nothing and I mean NOTHING else matters.
9) Redundancy very quickly allows you to assess whether you like what you do for a living. Once the dust (not the wooden variety) settled it turns out I do like what I do, but that I had just got stuck doing it for a company I didn't like. Hey ho, I'm free!
10) My dad and I do not always see eye to eye, but he really could fix everything with the minimum of materials he had on hand. However, I think he would agree that not even some number 8 fencing wire, a cardboard box and some duct tape match the cock-up fixing qualities of glue, clamps, and filler.
-- Hadders - "Arghh! Where's my persuader?"
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