Sunday, 26 May 2013

Blackboards, Bikes and a Birthday

I had nothing that I needed to do this morning so I wandered out to the garage to knock up something that I had been considering for a while. Let me explain ...

... In the kitchen there hangs a rather kitsch blackboard and I bloody loathe it. I tolerate it's presence as it a very useful thing but I dislike it in almost equal measure. The reasons I dislike it are down to it's design. It is tall and narrow and consequently shopping lists become a list of abbreviations. Any Teacher will tell you that chalk tends to dictate its font size and this board is obviously designed for 24Pt text but the commonly available chalk in the UK is more like 36Pt.  As a result, in the near future I will be proposing a set of new domestic abbrevs including WUL for washing up liquid.

The other reason I cannot stand this item is that 45% of it's useful area is taken up with a naff graphic of a ginger cat. I don't like the picture. It is reasonably well executed but has not one iota of appeal to me, and consequently makes a poorly dimensioned blackboard even less useful. The final nail in the coffin of this piece is that the blackboard paint doesn't have a particularly good matt finish which means that the chalk often fails to leave a mark ...

... Here ends the case for the Prosecution.

So, as I was saying, I wandered out to the garage and found a thin 30cm square slate left over from when I tiled the kitchen floor. A diamond cutting blade in an angle grinder made light work of resizing the tile and I ended up with a 30cm x 24cm rectangle.* All I needed to do now was construct a frame. As I was fiddling with some pieces of scrap oak floor boards I noticed that the slate slotted neatly in to the groove in the edge of the boards. This was an ideal way to hold the slate within the frame and would give me a product reminiscent of a Victorian school slate.

I set to with table saw, planer and mitre saw and soon had the frame components laid out on the bench. At this point I was disturbed by 30% and I noticed two things about her arrival in the garage; firstly she had not brought me a cup of coffee and secondly she was hastily wrapped in a towel and looked mildly flustered ...

... She hurriedly advised that I needed to go and collect TP as he had experienced another catastrophic cycle failure on his way over to the Handcart & Fortified Structure. I whizzed down the road and found that one of his bike's pedals had parted company from the main crank. The bike got thrown in the back of the car and TP was dropped off at work. At this point I calculate that TP is managing no more than three cycle journeys without experiencing component failure and necessary repair! I commented that 30%'s cycle was much like herself; in great shape twenty years ago but now rapidly falling apart and demanding high maintenance.

This did not get the laugh I had hoped for!

I sloped back to the garage where I glued and clamped the frame. Then I wandered in for a spot of lunch before taking T&M for a walk. It was a glorious afternoon and, upon my return,  I couldn't resist the urge to take the Ducati out for a ride. I headed in to Redditch to pick up a pair of 14mm crank nuts to repair TP's bike and then headed over to see Bad Man Senior taking the most twisty roads I could find.

I spent a very pleasant half an hour or so with BMS, Tilly and Brother J drinking tea and catching up on their news before heading back home. I put my bike away and then spent five minutes fixing TP's bike.

With the evening rapidly approaching I was urged to get changed as 30%'s Mum and Dad were joining us for dinner. This had been arranged to celebrate 30%'s Dad's birthday which took place yesterday. Dinner was most pleasant and after parting company we settled for an evening of TV after a productive but very enjoyable Bank Holiday Sunday.
* I appreciate that this is not huge for a blackboard but I have ordered a chalk pen from Amazon which will allow legible shopping lists going forward.

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