May 01 2020

“The Da’ Oul Tool Shed…”

Published by at 8:19 pm under News

I did a little bit of work on restoring this old Wood Plane that the Da’ used to keep in his shed. It was all rusted and full of oil mixed with sawdust and oul bits of fluff and dirt, not too unlike himself at times. Now I have to tell you that the Da’ loved his oul shed and everything in it. He could walk into that shed in the pitch black of night and without turning on the light he could put his hand on any nail, screw or hammer that he needed. There was a place for everything and everything had its place. If he ever sent me out to the shed for a screwdriver he’d say “And don’t touch anything else because I’ll know if you do”.

Now, originally, some of the tools that the Da’ had he got from his own Da’, so they were antiques, they’d been around since the war, the First World War. The oul Grandad had served as a motor mechanic with the British Army in WWI and so that’s how he got most of his tools. I always remember one thing in particular that was in the shed. It was the bottom part of the Ma’s oul kitchen dresser that they brought with them when they moved out of Town, it was blue and white, the Da’ called it “Legion of Mary” blue. The Da’ used it as a press in the shed and he kept the Shoe Last, that he used for mending our shoes with, in it. It’s where he kept all his important stuff and things no one else was allowed to use, such as his Bit and Brace, that’s a thing for drilling holes in wood and he even kept a little bottle of Holy Water in there too.

I suppose in some way the Da’s shed was a bit like Aladdin’s Cave to us kids because you’d never know what you were going to find. There was always the match box full of Washers or rusty screws and there was always a Sticking Plaster just in case he cut his finger. He had three or four oul Saws that were never of any use because he’d always have to rub Dripping off the frying pan onto them to make them cut. And he had shelves everywhere and all filled with glass jars of things I never knew the names of and a Mustard Tin with metal rivets that he never used but kept them “Just in case”. He had oul bicycle chains hanging up next to a spare bicycle wheel that he found in the local Dump. He had loads of heads off hammers that he was going to fix some day. There were all sorts of bits of timber that he planned on using whenever he got around to building a Hen House.

We had a dinner table in our house and the two ends could pull out to make it longer. One time when the Ma’ was in town we pulled out one of the ends and used the table as a stage coach like in the cowboy pictures. My sisters would sit under the table screaming with fright at the gunfire while the older brothers sat on any chairs we had but the chairs were turned backwards and used like a horse. Meself and the brother were sitting on the piece of the table that was pulled out and one of the older brothers stood up on the saddle of his horse and jumped onto the stagecoach and the next thing was, were heard a groan and a crack as the table piece shattered into bits with the weight of us on it. Now, that’s a story in itself. But this turned out to be another job for the Da’ to fix in his shed. I remember going out to watch him working on it. He had a fag in his mouth with a great big long ash and I just wanted to reach up and knock it off but he wasn’t in the best of form so I kept my hands down by my side. Eventually the Da’ fixed things up but the piece was a good bit shorter than it originally was and some of us had to scrunch up closer together when we’d be having our dinner.

And the Da’ had his oul Norton motorbike in the shed but it was broken, he was going to fix that someday as well and then there was the great big bucket pram that the Ma’ used to send the brothers to the Park with to collect the turf that nobody wanted, or so she told us. There was also rubber tubes out of bicycle wheels that were punctured but never got repaired. He had loads of tins of oul paint that also came from the local Dump and paint brushes that were rock hard. But would we change him? I don’t think so, he is the only Da’ we ever had and he did his best for us all. And if I could have him back for a day I don’t think I’d clean the rust off him or try to restore him like his oul Wood Plane, I think I’d prefer him just as he is, the Da’…

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