Sunday, January 10, 2021

SOMETHING FOR THE WEEKEND: Useless and collected, by Wiggia

This was in some ways a follow up to my last post about robots, but you will have to indulge me as I got carried away with the task. Initially it was about useless items we collect and hoard, something that has again come to light in the Wiggiatlarge household on the pretence of moving house again; the ultimate reasons never to move or try to move unless it is imperative will be documented at a future date.

It started where else but in the shed, then gravitated to the garage and finally the loft, but during the compilation items still for sale that stood the test of time in the useless or ridiculous stakes became too good not to include .

We can all remember? those newspapers that had ads in the back pages at weekends with badly drawn images of aids for the incontinent, bath aids, loo seat height devices, torches on headbands so we could all play at being jewellers and sundry other pseudo medical aids that kept us amused on a wet Sunday morning - I have managed not to include any of the latter here, though modern versions of similar items keep the flag flying, so what you have below is a melange, lovely word, of the best and worst of both worlds.

The shed should be a good starting point for most people, not so much for me as garden tools and equipment have all had professional use and I really only purchased high quality items as the old maxim ‘you get what you pay for’ is a pretty good one to stand by. Nonetheless a couple of gems remained...

A bulb planter. Had it for years, only attempted to use it once: useless, they gum up with soil and it takes longer to clean them than it does to plant fifty bulbs using a spade, but I still have it and cannot for the life of me remember actually buying it!

A lawn edger with a split blade. Why do I keep it? It belonged to my grandfather who was a keen gardener and when he died my mother thought it would be nice if I took some of his gardening tools. Why this one survived I have no idea, put your foot on it and it bends, what's the point?

Items I came across but do not own include weed extractors, various that simply don’t work, and a long-lived and still useless item: the spiked lawn aerating sandals that pull off when you lift your foot; yet they still find buyers.

The garage yielded items of note: a box containing cogged belts from sixties Ford race engines; a box of various solid tubes of sealants, these must be one of the most wasteful items known to man, unless you are a builder you never finish the tube and sometimes hardly start, only to find the next time if ever you go back they have gone solid. Add to that various foams that have dispensers you can never clean.  

And another item that we all have but never work, the adjustable wrench; I found three. All do the same: after the first turn they work loose on the nut, you tighten then repeat, so I then exchange for a proper spanner!

In among the dozens of paint brushes, knife strippers and all the painting paraphernalia, two really useless items emerged, and again they are still there: the paint edgers, one a metal plate and one of foam; the metal one allows paint to seep underneath and the foam one leaves a smudged edge you have to touch up with a paint brush! In the bin they went.

There were also several complete sets of screwdriver bits of which 70% were never used but you keep in case, and - a good one this - a used-once-only 100mm core drill for a 100mm hose vent that of course needed a 105mm core drill to create a hole it could pass through.

Below another good idea at the time, about forty years ago, was the auto dent puller, guaranteed to remove all small dents as long as the surface is perfectly flat or the suction will not work - and none of us have car bodies with perfectly flat panels; so there it sits still pristine in its little box, such joy.

Also for the bin was the electric tile cutter, unused for so long the motor had rusted solid. This shared a box with an electric paint spray system that I used in our first house when I renovated it, there was the opportunity to remove all the doors and spray them which I did with much success and it hasn’t seen daylight since 1968; please...

Indoors the usual boxes of computer cabling that will come in useful but never does as they keep changing the connectors; oh and a CD printer attachment from a long dead printer - does anyone actually ever use these?

Three solid suitcase that have been round the world from the days when you could actually take luggage with you and being solid no one wants any more; skip.

No joy in the kitchen as the wife, boringly, keeps a tight ship, so no little gems as seen below that I have included after a quick rummage through the Lakeland catalogue that always seems to be in the news rack but from which the wife only buys foil and more foil.

This I had to include: the banana slicer. Slower than a knife but not nearly as much fun, and the knife lacks the innuendo that this picture provides, it makes your eyes water, here being used to show its dual role as a sausage slicer!

You can add other slicers to the mix that will never make a knife redundant: avocado, onion, apple etc. And you can add those auto potato and fruit peelers.

A twirling spaghetti fork puts in an appearance for those who cannot twirl and it even gives the direction of the twirl, which is nice.

To keep you amused while concentrating on other things, the Potty Putter solves that problem and brightens up a rather dull room in the house.

This is a good old perennial favourite: the head torch, it's always been such a good idea going back to the days when the meter ran out and you needed a torch, preferably on the head, to put money in the slot. There's no longer a need for that, nor - as in the picture - a use for one on a dark night under the bonnet of the car, as cars today are not repairable by ordinary mortals and you just look silly. Mind you I did come across one last year one night as a cyclist coming towards me had one on his head and as it moved around nearly blinded me, such is the advance of LED lighting; the old batteries and bulb would most likely have gone out by then.

Still, they might still come in useful if you take up home jewellery assembly; or potholing.

Two personal aids to finish with. Firstly the electric ear dryer; this one gives itself away when you read the notes on how to use: ‘first remove excess water with a towel’ hmmmmm...

And finally for the man who has everything other than hair, I leave you with this:



A K Haart said...

Some tools seem to be fundamental in that they are what a tool ought to be. We still have the coal miner's pick used by my wife's grandfather for hacking coal out of narrow seams. A few years ago I used it to grub up a large pampas grass root and it worked well. Light, well-balanced and easy to use with minimal effort.

Early in our married life we bought a kitchen mincer endorsed by the Design Council. It was useless. Ever since we've described useless products as "Design Council products".

wiggiatlarge said...

'A K H' the miners pick is a classic all round useful object in the garden as is a mattock, they come in various sizes/weights, but some garden tool sites are like those kitchen gadget ones now, full of strange Japanese items for cutting bamboo and stabbing the soil etc and considered by the likes of Monty Don to be essential!
I did venture from the tried and tested owing to age and failing hips and purchased a long handled 'hand forged' Dutch trowel, that bent on first usage, no one had obviously told the producer the long handle produces a lot more leverage than an ordinary trowel, it went back, to Holland I suppose.