I’ve been so busy with the final stages of writing, editing and printing the book. Not to mention the organisation and documenting of all the work in my exhibition. It’s been a busy 15 years and a very hectic last 4 or 5 months.

So now it’s catch-up time. Janine has been carrying the major part of the load of running the house and garden recently. I need to inflate the tyre on the old wheel barrow, that has gone flat. On inspection it looks more like a repair job. But on closer examination, I find that the tyre has completely perished and isn’t worth repairing. It looks like a new tyre and inner tube will be the answer. At the garage, these turn out to be almost as expensive as car tyres! I’m shocked. I decide that the answer is to buy a new Chinese solid rubber, non-inflatable, wheel. $32 sounds like a bargain, until I get it home and find that it is made for the new 25 mm dia. axles that are now standard. My barrow is 30 years old and has a 19mm axle. It doesn’t fit.

Minor hiccup. I just happen to have a length of 25 mm steel bar in the shed. I cut it to length, clean off the flaky rust and hey-presto! It slides through the tyre, but  it doesn’t fit in the mounting brackets on the wheel barrow. Much too big! I have to grind off the old rusty bolts and then hold the brackets in the vice while I heat them up to red-hot with the oxy-torch and re-forge them into shorter, but larger dia. shapes to suit the new axle. It all goes smoothly enough, but then I find that the larger axle/bracket combination needs longer bolts. I don’t have any that are the right length, so I make some out of Stainless steel Boker bar and stainless steel nuts that I have in the kiln factory for kiln repair work. I’ll be retiring very soon from major kiln work. So I won’t be needing this kind of stuff in stock anymore. The last problem is that the spacers that locate the wheel in the centre of the shaft, don’t fit on the new larger axle. No problem. I cut a couple of pieces of sq. RHS to size and we’re away.

What could have been a 15 minute job has taken 2 hours. But it is up and working again. Hopefully, for another 30 years!

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