Once Works Well was pure technology. Now it seeks merely to divert.
Pansy subjects - Verse! Opera! Domestic trivia! - are now commonplace.
The 300-word limit for posts is retained. The ego is enlarged

Saturday, 3 July 2010

Still trying to keep the faith

Julia suggests a bloggish tug-of-war in my noggin: one side says “technology”, the other says “rhyme”. Very perceptive if not quite true. For even posts about camshafts and food processors require some imagination and my limited supply is being siphoned off into more effete or society-climbing projects. But I do still like things that do things.
SHOULD YOU GILD THE, ER, DANDELION? A moral question for Avus. Walking to the supermarket I was overtaken by that curious contradiction, a Volvo sports car. Uninventively called the P1800 it had mild exposure in a TV series called The Saint and was long ago dropped by the Swedish company which went on to concentrate on labrador carriers. This one had been, as they say, “lovingly restored”. Ah, but had it? It rode on wheels much wider than usual (to take modern tyres) and the tight smooth engine note suggested serious transplant surgery. Is this a pragmatic attitude towards boneshakers or a betrayal of Volvo’s admittedly etiolated design principles?

BETTER THAN SEX? A neighbour has decided to remove a hedge - Mrs BB thinks it’s laurel and I have to accept this - on a strip of land adjacent to the pavement. As I passed a man was manipulating a Manitou Telehandler (substitute a chain and a hook for the forks on the inset pic). Surely a steam-hammer to crack a walnut? The guy at the controls laughed. The Manitou happened to be available in his equipment yard. Most of the work consisted of chopping off branches. But then came that blissful moment when he wrenched out the roots with a device many times superior to the task it faced. Engineer’s porn.

7 comments:

Plutarch said...

When they cut down our bay they left a stump, which I what I wanted. Now the stump sprouts tender shoots, which are both attractive and useful. Sometime a tree cut down or uprooted is a blessing allowing others things to grow, which is what we have experienced.

marja-leena said...

My theory is that when it comes to any yard/garden work, it seems that most men (not only engineers) love power tools. Hands as tools are boring and primitive. It starts in the sandbox with those mini 'manitous'. But if machines get the work done for us, I can't complain.

Rouchswalwe said...

I once watched in awe as a young man who could have simply reached over to remove a dead leaf from a bush spent 3 or 4 minutes instead attempting to dislodge it with his power blower ... he used all 4 speeds.

Avus said...

The Volvo P1800 - as you say Volvos and sports cars do not mingle (although SAABs might - but then I remember their sucesses in early motorsport with Eric Carlsson and I am biased anyway!)
As to "upgraded" classics, I consider them no more than a pastiche on the original. Is it worth keeping and running as it is, warts and all, to experience those rose-tinted specs? The classic example is the Morris Minor where one can now buy an upgraded one with disc brakes, 1600cc engine and later seats - it's nice, but it ain't a Morris Minor any more. (But considerably safer on todays roads and motorways)

Lucy said...

Somewhere I have a photo of myself in the shovel of a Manitou ascending to the chimney pots, it was such fun!

Lucy said...

Oh hang on, this was the same post as the Volvo... I always thought it was faintly hilarious that the Saint drove a Volvo, especially as I recall a critic remarking on the naffness of Roger Moore as an actor, describing him as a kind of quintessential 1970s man, 'a man born to wear a car-coat'.

I also rather liked Worrall-Thompson's description of Delia Smith as 'the Volvo of British cooking'.

Barrett Bonden said...

Plutarch: These were bushes and expediency was the watchword.

M-L: One of my guidelines: Work smarter, not harder. My hands wern't made for manual labour.

RW (zS): I was about to say Why not? But I take it there was a noisy byproduct.

Avus: So as the driver of an authentic Minor hits a fuel tanker amidships and is engulfed in flames, there is at least a moment of intellectual satisfaction.

Lucy: Roger Moore to a T. This evening we are dining at AW-T's place in Kew. I shall report back with automotive comparisons.