Wheelchair Woodworking #8: My Right Hand Man Gordon

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Blog entry by Jamie Speirs posted 12-02-2010 12:58 PM 5048 reads 0 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 7: Helping Hands part three Taking Part 8 of Wheelchair Woodworking series Part 9: Right hand man Gordon part two »

Gordon is my right hand man, I thought that I would tell you a bit about how he has changed my life.
Gordon and I were introduced to each other by his brother in law fifteen years ago. I was in hospital with his BIL and he thought that we would get on. Gordon is also disabled and has many similar interests. We both like Counrty & western music along with the 60’s & 70’s music we grew up with. We both went gun slinging, It is the UK so we fire blanks. Will we ever grow up? I hope not.
Going to the C&W club was a regular weekly outing until it closed down. Dressed up with the full cowboy gear and our replica guns, yes the wild West coast of Scotland is some place. We are the only place that Elvis Presley ever visited in the UK. Prestwick Airport to be precise and then it was only a stop over from Germany to the USA. Prestwick Airport was the main long hall to the US & Canada. Both Air Forces still have a small presence there. We even have the American White house here #2 where Ike stayed.
So where does this all connect with what I do now.
Everything basically, he had confidence in me (so did my wife, but that’s different).
Shirley had suggested that I could possibly take up woodturning. She had even found an instructor that was “Wheelchair Friendly”. She had even booked my first lesson. Boy we had a few words over that, I acted like a spoiled brat during that period. Always throwing my toys out the pram (I swear Shirley is an Angel without wings).
So I went to the first lesson (you women know that we always do as we are told EVENTUALLY). It was a disaster. He had a bar stool that had been in more Bar Fights than I had, and that is saying something! He also taught by putting his arms around you. It felt way to familiar as a man I don’t know how a woman would take it. Then the Toilet (The first requirement if you invite a wheelchair user over). His wife did not let strangers use her toilet but we can go behind the shed. Again as a man I felt kind of uncomfortable with that.
So I decided there and then that I was going back to woodworking and going to set up a w/shop where folk of any disability could come and try woodworking for themselves.
When I bought a lathe with no where to put it. We got lumber and made a bench in the dinning room (yes, I know my wife is wonderful) and got the lathe up in running. It was the worst lathe that I ever saw. The bed had a steel door hinge welded in the middle.
I had not long had my accident and we had just bought a new house. So from a two income mortgage that had to be paid by one income.
So we had collected pennies and loose change to buy this. I was drinking heavily as well, so you can imagine the pennies often went to booze first. It was a bit of a “Catch 22” situation. The more woodwork I did, the less I drank. But when I drank, I had no money for woodwork. There was a court case going on, with me getting examined & cross-examined weekly by medical consultants then by legal consultants. Not a fun time. I discovered that the hospital where I had had my accident had forged the accident report. I’ll come back to this (remind me if I forget).
I wander again.
We had a bit of a laugh today. I got an email from a worried customer (my customers often become close friends, always keen to see your latest pieces (I do a lot of one offs) and give encouragement. So here is my reply. Gordon is sulking over it or as we say in Scotland “he has an awfae powted lip”.
Hi xxxxx,

thank you for that.
I’ve been up awe night wi my digestive system trying to absorb a glass
of mill.
Looks as if something is wrong wi the bi-pass, still I see Professor Carter
on the 10th.

How are you keeping?

I’m not rushing wi the order as the lock on the w/shop is frozen solid and
all ma elves are on the outside.

I’ll get the big fat bloke aka Santa aka Gordon to see into the situation and
report back.


What do you think? LoL
In a White Scotland

-- Who is the happiest of men? He who values the merits of others, and in their pleasure takes joy, even as though 'twere his own. --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

7 comments so far

View Schwieb's profile


1858 posts in 3489 days

#1 posted 12-02-2010 01:18 PM

Jamie, We must be roughly the same age because I can relate so well to your perspective of the times. We can use a phrase like Catch 22 and know exactly what it means but my kids have no idea what I am talking about. Interesting to hear how the American West was “cool” to so many Europeans. I have friends in Germany that tell me they played “cowboys and indians” growing up too. I guess I never thought much about the influence that the movies of the day had around the world. I hope you will continue to tell your tales. I for one thoroughly enjoy reading them.

-- Dr. Ken, Florida - Durch harte arbeit werden Träume wahr.

View littlecope's profile


3071 posts in 3530 days

#2 posted 12-02-2010 01:20 PM

“Wander” On, Jamie!!
Always an interesting and enjoyable read, my Friend… :)

-- Mike in Concord, NH---Unpleasant tasks are simply worthy challenges to improve skills.

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4188 days

#3 posted 12-02-2010 01:25 PM

still chuckling at the elves and the pouting lip :)

you are SUCH a good story teller.. give just enough information to keep the story going and to keep the readers craving more!!
It’s like a carrot dangling on a string … or a Christmas box, wrapped up tightly and sitting for all to see, wondering what is inside…

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View Bluepine38's profile


3379 posts in 3113 days

#4 posted 12-02-2010 05:54 PM

You inform us that the lock on the w/shop is frozen solid wit ya elves on the outside and Santa aka Gordon
has an awfae powted lip, the solution is simple place Gorden in front of the lock and with the elves helping
him along he will either thaw the lock, or come to see the humor in the situation and remember that there
is always a back door if you look hard enough. Thank you for the ongoing story. I grew up with Roy Rogers,
Gene Autry and country western and was taught a flying mount by a mare that was way smarter than I was,
you grabbed the saddle horn firmly, and as soon as the horse felt your left foot hit the stirrup she was off
to the races and you were either in the saddle or on the ground, of course all the boys warned me about
this LOL, but I got lucky the first time and hit the saddle. I sort of resemble your gun slinging remark it was
a Colt long 45 in a handtooled belt and holster. Please continue to share your life with us.

-- As ever, Gus-the 79 yr young apprentice carpenter

View lilredweldingrod's profile


2496 posts in 3135 days

#5 posted 12-03-2010 12:10 AM

Great stuff, Cuz. Over here we don’t believe in blanks. Only hi-test lead, pardner. lol I still have about 15000 rounds I need help with. hint hint. lol Gotta turn the inventory. Nothing worse than old bullets. lol
Bring Gordon too.

View mafe's profile


11730 posts in 3117 days

#6 posted 12-03-2010 11:14 AM

Alba you are such a wonderful teller, I think you could use some of those frozen days to write a wonderful book.
Yes your words makes a ‘youngster’ like me (42) think twise of the meaning sometimes, but I always get it, and the catch 22, this one I knew.
As kid in Denmark we played a lot cowboys and indians, and since my sister are Corean she had always to be the indian, and after some fight we became best friends, and was taking some travels on the big open lands of my room, on top of my bed with the madress as roof for the horse waggon…
Gordon sounds wonderful.
And your wife she is a angel, I think you better look once again if she is hiding some wings…
Best thoughts my dear highland friend,

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

View rivergirl's profile


3201 posts in 2866 days

#7 posted 12-04-2010 03:12 AM

So Jamie, you had to pee behind the woodshed aye? Nice place that school you went to. LOL So did you win the court case? And I am confused- you said ” I discovered that the hospital where I had had my accident had forged the accident report. I’ll come back to this (remind me if I forget).: First, I am reminding you to finish this thought because I am curious. Second, did you have your accident in the hospital, or did the attending physician forge the documents? Again, I curious. Kiss the wife, take care of the elves and tell Gordon hello . :)

-- Homer : "Oh, and how is education supposed to make me feel smarter? Besides, every time I learn something new, it pushes some old stuff out of my brain."

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