Tag Archives: repairs

Holiday Day 4 – Decay, Declutter and Downsize

We went into the garden this afternoon, sorting out the shed because we  have promised Number One Son some tools for his new house. It’s amazing what rubbish I have stored when I should really have binned it.

However, the first thing we noticed was that the guttering had come off the shed at one end. It’s been raining quite a lot and it has also ben quite blustery. The shed has started to rot a little in places and the screws at one end have pulled out. With no decent wood left to screw it into and, to be honest, no idea how to get a bracket off the gutter, I resorted to green garden wire and blue polypropylene string. It’s a very agricultural look, but it should hold it until the builders come to do the house gutters. If they ever come . . .

I have a hint for all homeowners. Move before 30 years in a property. We need a new back door and the gutter fixing (though other parts of the shed are showing their age too. The other shed, made out of wood that was less well prepared was taken down a few years ago.

As things stand, we will be taking a bag of hand tools with us, a bag of books, two household appliances and the last of his clothes. I reckon if we move this much each week it will only take us three or four years to clear the the house. It’s just a shame that we want to be out in less that 18 months, and that the shed will probably disintegrate before then, now it has started.

The photograph is part of my Sweetheart Brooch Collection – at the end of the war (1917 according to Wikipedia) the Army stated to issue overseas service chevrons – red for service in 1914 and blue for other years. The maximum that could be awarded was six – one red and five blue.  This would involve someone fighting through from 1914 to the end of the war in Russia in 1919 and I’m not sure how many people managed that. I’ve never seen a set of six, and never seen a set of five blue ones either. However, I digress.

These badges were meant for men to wear (the crescent fittings were meant to go through the buttonhole on a man’s jacket, and is a hybrid Sweetheart/Regimental Brooch.  It’s a subject area of its own and I have started a post on Sweethearts, as well as mentioning them before, so I may make sure I get down to finishing the half-complete post.

In the meantime, note how the two pieces seem to screw together, though I’m not quite sure how they manged it when you see how they fit. It was clearly a case of buying a badge and specifying the number of chevrons – a cunning marketing ploy. The Patent Date appears to be 1918 and the maker was TLM – Thomas L Mott, who made a lot of fine Victorian sweetheart brooches too. He also did loads of other jewellery, often using butterfly wing, as a quick search of his name will prove. Yes, butterfly wing – I shudder at the thought.

Wiltshire Regiment (Reverse)

Wiltshire Regiment (Front)


Well, it’s been a chequered few days.

I’ve struggled with technology in various ways, but am managing to get round the problems in a variety of ways (even if I did fall asleep before posting last night!)

I’ve put photos up for the Scone post, as I said last night, and I’ve now put photos on the enamelled  coin post. With any luck I’ll get some on the Harlow Carr post next. That might be tomorrow as the netbook doesn’t make things easy.

I’ll keep plugging away and next week I’ll try to get my laptop in for repair.

Moan, moan, moan, etc…

Today’s photo (which I already used on the enamelled coin post) shows a parcel I prepared for posting today – every stamp ends with half a penny, a coin that was withdrawn in 1984, In other words, all the stamps are at least 35 years old. The fact that we are now using them on envelopes indicates they may not have been a great investment.



Stamps from 35 years ago…

The William Caxton stamp is actually from 1976 – 43 years ago. A lot has happened since then. But not to the stamp – it just lay there in an album and did nothing until I pulled it from a packet, licked the back and stuck it on an envelope.  It’s now on its way to London, and probably to a bin.

Sixpences, Sweethearts and Samosas

It was a hectic morning, with fourteen eBay parcels to be packed and sent off before the Post Office closed at lunchtime. We would have managed it easily, working together as a well-oiled machine, if it hadn’t been for the arrival of a shopful of customers.

It’s a real dilemma – we want to provide a quick and efficient eBay service, but our core business is based on the customers who come to the shop so we can’t neglect them.

We were expecting a quiet day as two of the Saturday regulars came in on Friday, but it didn’t work out like that. Within the first hour we were full with people buying and selling and the post had to wait. We got most of it done in time, though some will not be going into the post until Monday. Such is life. It’s not ideal but we are still within the time allowed for posting.

During the rush I managed to sell a nice Victorian sixpence to a young collector who is just starting to collect coins. Hopefully it will be the start of a lifelong collecting habit, and hopefully he will continue collecting good stuff instead of modern decimal coins. We owe a lot to decimal coins, as they are fuelling a great interest in coin collecting, but I can’t help wondering if it will still be popular in ten years, or if it will be a bubble that bursts.

In the afternoon we also managed to sort more shillings, put several lots on eBay and polish the counters. One of the later customers bought us samosas from the Indian shop across the road, which proved to be an acceptable snack with our afternoon coffee.

I’ve described one of the sweetheart brooch lots as having a pin that has been “replaced at sometime in the past”. I resisted the temptation to tell them that it had actually been replaced by me five minutes before I took the photos for eBay. It’s not a bad job, even if I say so myself. It came from the back of a cracked enamel badge that said Delegate and involved two sets of long-nosed pliers and a certain amount of muttering.

This is the brooch – a WW2 mother of pearl sweetheart brooch for the Royal Armoured Corps.

We have several more on sale, including these two for the Middlesex Regiment.  The one on the left is a silver and enamel tie-pin or bar brooch, the one on the right is silver, with hallmarks for 1915. It’s an interesting subject for collecting, with all military units depicted in a variety of styles, though I often wonder who gave them and if they came back.




Volkswagens Ain’t What They Used To Be…

I had a Passat once before. It was a year old and had 104,000 miles on the clock. It had been used by a rep in Scotland and had been serviced roughly every six weeks. I had it six more years and added 143,000 miles, much of it full with either stock or tools. Apart from regular servicing, the engine was trouble free with only a leaking water pump to report in all that time, though we did have to replace the brake pipes and fix the central locking with a piece of insulating tape (a basic bodge).

Apart from that, the window opening mechanisms were the main source of trouble and were, in the end, the reason I got rid of the car. When you are using it for work there are only so many times you can put up with losing a day because the windows need attention.

The new one I bought a couple of years ago has not impressed me. It doesn’t pull as well as the old one, it has too many electrical fripperies and it has just cost me money for engine parts. I was shocked. In thirty years of running diesels I’ve only ever had to replace one set of glowplugs before and I’ve never had to replace engine parts at 50,000 miles. I’ve always believed that each car should be an improvement on the last, but this seems not to be the case.

I’ve also always believed that Volkswagens rate highly for reliability and longevity, but looking at the internet these days seems to suggest differently.

Modern life can be quite a let-down.