4 June 2011
It was raining hard 'smorning so we took ourselves to Nelson where they celebrate Queen's Birthday Weekend with a second-hand book fair at Founders' Park.
Hurray! I bought an entire set of Popular Mechanics do-it-yourself Encyclopedia for ten dollars.
However often I looked the second-hand bookshops only ever had volumes 1, 2 and 3. Any number of times I've come across A-B. Luckily this contained the useful Rolling Patio Bar, which I've always wanted to make. 'Sure to lend a touch of elegance to your next patio party, this handsome beverage center is made almost entirely of ¾-in. plywood.' I had lusted over the throwaway bar for a one-night stand to 'add a touch of color to your next party and provide you with an inexpensive, practical way to serve guests.' Unf. I should have needed seven cartons and a large piece of checkered oilcloth, and lacking checkered oilcloth I was stumped. The instructions told me that the 'morning after the party, you can carry the entire construction into a storage area until your next party. Or, if you prefer, you can simply burn it or throw it away.' (I love being given these options. They certainly address the difficult problem of whether or not to leave the *ucking ghastly thing right in the middle of the room for the next three months.)
Volume 3 gave seven variations on a basic cart - 'You won't have to wear a lampshade to be the hit of your next party. All you have to do is wait for the right moment and then roll out your host cart. And the whistles are your cue to remark in an offhand fashion, "oh, I made it last week." ' - Very easily pleased, Americans of 1968. - The men would have wanted 'to know how you did it, and the ladies will be trying to find a way of motivating their husbands into performing the same miracle.'
But in this find I've solved the mystery of why nothing beyond Volume 3 ever appears in the junk shops. Tucked into one of the volumes was a letter from K Horspool, General Manager at Grolier Enterprises (NZ) Ltd. The very next month, I read, I'd have been sent the remaining 13 volumes in one shipment, for which I would have had the privilege of continuing to pay monthly while having use of the complete set. I suspect your New Zealand amateur handyman balked at the prospect of paying for another thirteen volumes on how to impress his dinner-party guests with home-made mobile kitchen appliances, and suspended his subscription accordingly.
Anyway, I now have the complete set, and if she's lucky, I shall 'give your wife a break. Here are two work centers to make her housework easier.' Imagine the delight on her face as she kneels down in front of her End cabinet and finds 'a handy place to store detergents and bleach'.
I'll let you know if we're divorced by next week.
Wednesday, September 28, 2011 8:28:00 AM
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