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The Naming of Parts – Victoria’s blog

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The Naming of Parts – with salutations and apologies to Henry Reed

Today we have the changing of the tyres. Last week we had the unblocking of the dishwasher and next week we will have the cleaning and mending of the gutters. But today, today we have the changing of the tyres.

I like problem solving and I like to think I’m ok at it. 

We have a dishwasher, it’s quite new by our standards and it was a rush of blood to the head so it’s rather swanky. It has two drawers that each make the most delightful little trilling noise in a sort of chromatic rise when you open them. When the bottom drawer refused to empty the nasty fish and lamb fat smelling water I, like thousands in lockdown, sat on the floor of the kitchen and asked nice Mr/s You Tube how to fix it. Then I went through the process of elimination about why it wasn’t working, where was the water coming from, what should be happening. Then I took a few easy bits to pieces and, having taken my lead from a brusque but encouraging Antipodean, I fiddled around and unblocked it with a very long cable tie. I like to think that the choice of cable tie (not suggested by the Antipodean who had a piece of wire) was pretty inspired.

I asked myself a few questions while I was doing this. What makes the impellor miraculously not connected to anything go round? Could it be magnets driven by …? It must be something in the drawer door … maybe … next to the exciting trill. All a bit beyond the cable-tie un-blocker pay grade.

This weekend it was the turn of the tyres. Long story short, I took in and collected the new car tyre last week (thank you ATS)  because we have been driving around on the funny little spare for about a month. Tyres are my department after some rather sharp words were exchanged in 2009 when the other gardener lost the locking-nut and I had to spend a day in Bodmin having all the other nuts sawn off. Yes, I had explored all other avenues, and yes Bodmin is nowhere near Helston. I’m a bit of a show-off when it comes to tyre changing. So long as some idiot hasn’t tightened the nuts so tight I simply can’t get them off, I’m pretty quick. Twelve  to fifteen minutes if I’m in a fury and wearing tights. So the car was a doddle. Then I turned my attention to the Toyota truck (slow puncture). And here I broke with a the habit of a lifetime and got out the book. Chunter chunter, ‘Lower (filthy) tyre by inserting jack handle screw’ 

I felt terrifically empowered and smug and was rather hoping for some praise but, honestly, it’s not very difficult. The tyre is really heavy and really, really dirty, and the jack is a bit different, but the principle is the same. And while I was looking under the truck for the jacking point I looked around and I asked myself a few questions about all the bits that run other bits which are connected to the accelerator which makes the satisfying Toyota truck roar. And I thought, if something goes wrong with those bits, I don’t think I can fix it.

Next weekend I am determined to clean and fix the gutters at one of the cottages. After all it’s only fluidic logic aka filth and water and gravity. By contrast there is something called the MONIAC. I saw it on the television a few years ago. It’s an analogue computer which used fluidic logic to model the workings of an economy. I think I understand all of those different parts. I know what an analogue computer is, fluidic logic seems self-evident (especially when you’ve seen the programme), and I’ve done a bit of economics, but actually, if I’m really honest with myself, a whole economy just might be a bit above my cable-tie pay grade, a bit like being an Epidemiologist. I  might be able to unblock the bits I know about, or change a bit that’s gone flat, but what happens when you put it all together I just don’t know. 

And that left just one thought in my mind as I knelt in the gravel contemplating the long tunnel of economic disaster and that thought was, ‘Good luck Rishi and all those properly super-clever people who got into the Civil Service (Treasury),’ because in a wholly apolitical way it is 100% in everyone’s interest for you to succeed.

Final verse:

They call it easing the Spring: it is perfectly easy
If you have any strength in your thumb: like the bolt,
And the breech, the cocking-piece, and the point of balance,
Which in our case we have not got; and the almond blossom
Silent in all of the gardens and the bees going backwards and forwards,
For today we have the naming of parts.

Henry Reed

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