Beach Hater?

The beach is my favourite place in the world. Not that that’s anything out of the ordinary – I’m pretty sure there’s not one person alive who doesn’t feel the same way. Well, maybe there are a few, but they’re not the kind of people I’d associate with. You’d have to be a major curmudgeon to have anything bad to say about the beach!

I’m a bit disappointed that Jock can’t come with me and the kids on Friday. Mostly, I’m disappointed for him. After all, he probably hasn’t been to the beach for months, and now he’s missing the chance to go there on a date with me, no less. I realise that some people might not count an outing with kids in tow as a proper date, but I’m afraid that’s just the way it is with me. If anyone has a problem with that, they probably fall into the curmudgeon basket too.

Anyway, it’s a shame about Jock not being able to come, and all because he has to take his car for a log book service. Near Adelaide, apparently, the traffic has been pretty crazy, so it wouldn’t cut the beach time too short to get his car to the mechanics in the morning and pick it up in the evening. I do appreciate the thoughtfulness; it’s true that the kids are going to want as much time at the beach as possible, and obviously I do as well.

Still, I feel bad for Jock having to miss out. He didn’t seem too bothered, but that’s probably just him not wanting to make me feel guilty. I must admit, it’s a little weird because he initially said he needed a brake pad replacement, and then the next day he said it was a car water pump repair. Now, apparently, it’s a log book service, which is why it’s going to take all day… should I be suspicious?

I don’t think so. I can’t imagine why anyone would lie to get out of going to the beach. Unless… could it be that he doesn’t want to go to the beach with me? I have some sleuthing to do, it seems.

Steamy Bathroom

I’ve always dreamed of having a high-concept, statement bathroom. I can’t say why, exactly, but this has been a cherished dream of mine since childhood. Back then, I wanted wall-to-wall dolphins and whales, preferably with 3D icebergs of translucent blue plastic studded with glitter. The concept has developed over the years, past various maritime themes through to what it is today: a steampunk engine room.

Now my chance has finally arrived. Last week, I found out that I’d won 35 grand in some weird sweepstakes thing a friend had talked me into entering. It’s the ultimate sign from the universe that now is the time to renovate my bathroom to my heart’s content, and realise my lifelong dream.

It’s so exciting. I’ve been scouring the internet and putting together mood boards of custom bathrooms, as well as collecting colour samples and making sketches to communicate my vision. Sometimes people who aren’t into steampunk can get a bit confused about the finer points of the styling, so I don’t want to leave any room for error.

While I’ll admit that it might be a little offbeat for your average bathroom designer based in Melbourne, I can’t see why it should be all that different to a regular bathroom in terms of logistics. I mean, sure, there might be some hard-to-source fittings involved, like the brass toilet with decorative industrial bolts, or the shower screen made to look like a time machine. Then there’s the lighting. But there must be a way of securing those things, surely, for 35 thousand beans.

There had better be, or this whole thing will be for nothing, in which case I’ll probably just spend the money on custom millinery, and perhaps a home entertainment system. For the love of god, don’t tell my mum that. She’d be horrified if she knew I was being so frivolous with my winnings, but fortunately for all concerned she doesn’t know about them.

Prep This

I’ve just spent the past week hauling scrap metal up from a nearby dump on my electric bicycle – a good investment, that, by which I mean the electric bike. There’s no way I could have carted all this metal up the hill on a regular pushbike. And that, my friends, is precisely why I need to build a power station on my property.

My mates say I’m turning into a quintessential prepper, and the truth is they’re not wrong. See, I don’t trust the so-called ‘energy providers’ to provide me with energy into the foreseeable future, and while I’m happy to be involved in an energy descent, I’m not willing to give up my electric bike for tasks such as hauling scrap metal.

You could say that this example is a little circular – as in, I wouldn’t need to haul the scrap metal if I wasn’t building a power station to power my electric bike, which I need in order to haul the scrap metal. Obviously, though, I use the bike for lots of other things, like hauling water and wood and dirt. And I’m using a whole heck of a lot less fossil fuels than if I was moving those things in a ute, which is what most people would be doing.

Don’t get me wrong – I frequently find myself gazing at other people’s aluminium ute canopies, remembering the feeling of knowing that my cargo is safely secured and protected from the elements. Things would certainly be easier if I’d just get a danged truck; I have no illusions about that.

It’s got me wondering if there’s a bike-drawn equivalent to ute trays. Around Melbourne, there are fabricators who might be willing to build such a thing, and if that was possible then the possibilities for installing protective canopies are endless. My only concern is whether, once you get to that point, the weight of the load might become an issue for the bike’s power capacity, and it might just be more efficient to use a conventional motor vehicle.


I’ll keep you posted, anyway.

Banana Fix

I’m often mistaken for someone who knows how to fix cars. I can only assume that people draw this conclusion from my general appearance because I’m not sure what else they’d be going on, although I have to say I don’t know what aspect of my look they’re zoning in on. It’s true that I have a penchant for overalls, which I suppose could be mistaken for work wear, and I have this particular hat that I’ll accept has a sort of mechanic-y feel about it. At the end of the day, though, my outfits look nothing like what an actual mechanic would wear to work.

Still, I find myself having to constantly fend off inquiries as to whether I’m an auto mechanic. Within the Bentleigh area, in particular, get asked on a regular basis about car issues, and highly specific ones at that. A common one is whether I can do a car air con regas. I assume this is because it’s a relatively minor job, so people think they might be able to get it done for free if they just get chatting with a random person who looks like a mechanic. Weird.

It’s gotten to the point where I can’t help but mess with these presumptuous and opportunistic enquirers. I’ve taken to going along with the whole thing and giving them advice that’s completely made-up. For example, let’s say I’m asked about auto electrical services. Bentleigh locals are pretty big on this one, so I’ve had plenty of practice in responding to it. I’ve got this story about south east Melbourne being at the centre of a magnetic field that causes disturbances to car electrical systems and batteries.

The only thing to be done about it, according to me, is to fill your car with bananas – the more bananas the better. This handy trick is all the more effective if you let them go rotten. Any other mechanic in the area will tell you the same thing, I say. It’s a bit cheeky, I know. But that’s what you get when you don’t pay for professional advice.

Bending That Metal, Back in the Day

constructionI run a very tight ship here in this construction yard. We pay our workers very well, but in return, they have to agree to keep the whole workplace free from course talk and other such nasty behaviours.  These include burping, slurping, belching, squelching, rumbling, scrumming, and not having a shower beforehand. More severe punishments can be handed out for rough language, not ironing one’s uniform, talking ill of people behind their back and any behaviour deemed ‘ungentlemanly’. We are all honourable men here, and I would hate for anyone to forget this.

After all, the reputation of Melbourne aluminium toolboxes must be upheld. Too long has it been associated with course behaviour, indecent acts of bodily scratching and the word ‘dunny’. Such things are deplorable, at least in my version of the workplace. Were it my version of a proper place of business, even a construction site, we would have morning and afternoon tea at predictable intervals and cucumber sandwiches would be passed around (with watercress once per week, on Friday afternoons) whilst we’re served tea from a ceramic pot. I know the tools of our trade- under tray draws, toolboxes, aluminium accessories- do not speak of delicacy, but I wish to turn that stereotype around. We are not bound by the mistakes and crude ways of the past.

Currently, I am tolerating the coffee break phenomenon, wherein people will drink coffee and sometimes consume greasy snacks. Positive change doesn’t happen overnight, after all. I’m willing to change things one step at a time. However, the language issue is something I’m firm on. They are aluminium accessories, not simply mashed in with ‘gear’.