Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Chair

Well, the dog I couldn’t fix, but the chair here I could. You have to remember that before I became the big famous author (hollow laugh) I worked in numerous jobs and acquired various skills. I’m also the kind of person who finds something broken and has to try repairing it, hence three restored bikes, loads of mowers (for when I was self-employed and running around cutting grass) and numberless other bits and pieces, including furniture. Also, I once had a job as a skip lorry driver, so that gave me access to all sorts of junk to play with.



This chair had been thrown into one of the roadside dumps up here in the mountains – where rubbish is heaped then basically dozered off a cliff (recycling here means getting on your bike again, if you have one). It is precisely the sort of chair we wanted for our terrace here but found to be ridiculously overpriced. I pulled over, took one look at it and decided to have it. This then entailed my three passengers cramming in the back since the only place it would fit was the front passenger seat. Then I drove home with only the three available gears since the edge of the chair was in the way of the gear stick.



Lots of the trim was coming off, but that was just a case of wood glue and clamps. The bottom was broken out, two of the front to back struts snapped and the thick piece of bamboo running crosswise snapped away at one end and all the binding missing. First I replaced those struts, using lengths of a wooden curtain rail I had here – for one of them I necessarily had to drill a hole in through the front to get it in place. I then drilled in through the side to fit a dowel down the centre of the the bamboo (you can see the dowel protruding in the first picture). The next day I replaced all the missing binding. I used lengths of broom (the plant, not the thing you sweep up with, first flattened between thumb and the shaft of a screwdriver, then wrapped round with wood glue and clamped into place. Stain and then varnish followed, then the cushion you see bought from a local supermarket for 10 Euros. I’m very happy with it and it is very comfortable. I just need the previous owner of this chair to dump three more of them!



Bits.

Here’s Owen Roberts take on Orbus: http://unwritable.blogspot.com/2010/06/orbus.html

Not much writing being done here at the moment. Caroline’s parents are staying with us, building work has recommenced, Mikalis having returned from Germany and announcing that he’s now getting divorced from his wife of twenty years (there’s much more to her visit to hospital I mentioned previously, like, a hundred anti-depressants), and I still want to kill the neighbour’s child (who we don’t see because he’s in hiding).

Here’s some more pictures from our garden. If any of you know the names of these succulents then please let me know.






17 comments:

The Red Stone by Craig Smith said...

I think you did a lovely job restoring that chair.

kai said...

Some of those succulents look like an Australian native, known as Pig Face.
Bad name, lovely flowers.

http://www.anbg.gov.au/gnp/interns-2005/carpobrotus-glaucescens.html

Nerine Dorman said...

The first two look like portulaca varients we often buy in our nurseries here in South Africa.

The other is definitely a mesembryanthemum, but probably a cultivar, so I'm not going to be au fait with the name.

The last is a member of the crassulaceae family, but is a South American species, if I recall. Also very common in gardens here in South Africa. It looks like an Aeonium.

I'm afraid I can't give specifics because I've probably forgotten most of my succulent plant knowledge.

Philip said...

Good job. Can you include in your next book a small cruel dog attacking child that gets eaten by a gabble duck or something just as nasty? It might me feel just a little bit better about the whole dog thing.

You did well and I thank you for trying your best to help him.

Bit of a plug as I think I'm justified as I have bought all your books. I'm an overseas pension adviser, so if you or any expats you know have any questions, please get in touch. Much obliged, Philip. enquiries@expatifa.com

Kirby Uber said...

wow, impressive. i'm always quite jealous of people that can do actual "stuff" with their hands.

hmm. i could have phrased that better, i think.

you know what i mean. ;p

Shayla said...

What an amazing job you did on that chair! I have one of those succulents in the last picture, it lives in the conservatory and is almost the size of a dinner plate.

Lynn said...

I agree with Nerine. The first two are portulaca. Here in the U.S. they're more commonly called Moss Rose.

Great looking chair.

Scott said...

The first ones look like Ice Plants, to my untrained eye.

John Vincent said...

That type of weaving has a name. Anyone know it. I think it was expensive. Amazing what you can get for pennies or nothing.

Graeme said...

http://www.amazon.com/Skinner-Spatterjay-Book-1/dp/0765350483#_

Very odd cover picture.

1986/6/7 said...

人生中最好的禮物就是屬於自己的一部份..................................................

the goon squad said...

hostile kids who solve tresspassing with fire to skin, a chair ready to leap at your throat & take over your car, open maw of the flora waiting for human scent to pounce-sucker...Crete is Spatterjay II.

Scott said...

Completely irrelevant to this post: Neal and my fellow readers might find this interesting.
http://bookshelfporn.com/archive

John Vincent said...

hey Neal, I found this blog trying to get a review on one of your books. I could not rem if I had read it. Read every single one of them I could find. Nice , like the vision, the tech mixed with characters and an inter galactic culture..cool. Could not figure the blog...is it to market in some way? PS comments on your website do not work so I put this here.

張怡 said...

Seeing is believing.百聞不如一見............................................................

Larry said...

Re the plants:
I used to have one very like the first one but forgotten what it was called!
The next two are the same genus and ther last one is Echeveria glauca
(I'm a plant geek)

Larry said...

Ah I didn't see Kai's comment-Carprobotus-thats the name! I had one a couple of years ago which flowered purple/mauve. Then my greenhouse got destroyed one winter,that was that!