Monday, 28 September 2015

Wind turbines?

I know nothing about them. It seems that the youngest son of someone I am virtually acquainted with does. At just fifteen years of age he set about doing some emergency work on theirs when one of the springs snapped. (The springs apparently prevent it from going too rapidly.) I sent her a message and said to tell him it was "bloody brilliant" and the sort of thing that a resident of Downunder would do.
Well, some residents of Downunder. I doubt there would be many city-slickers who could manage it but some of the rural kids could.
It is the sort of thing they do out there. They have to even now. It can take a long time to get help. An essential part might not arrive for a week or more. You "make do". Oh yes, Downunder is full of strange and wonderful "repairs" and other devices. Some of them are models of ingenuity. Others are dangerous.
When we lived in a tiny community on the "west coast" of this state we went to visit a sheep station some distance the the north of us. It was an isolated place where the children did their school work by correspondence and "School of the Air". Even the area around the homestead covered a lot of ground. 
One of the boys living on the property had made a "billy cart" - four wheels, a body, steering and so on. The Senior Cat had a good look at this thing - partly I suspect because I was going to be hauled off on it and he wanted to be sure it was safe. I can remember him asking the boy how he had made it. The boy shrugged. "Just did." 
He wasn't being rude. It was something he had "just" done. Nobody had told him he couldn't do it. It was the sort of thing you did do out there.
The Senior Cat had to be able to do things too. We had a 32v power plant in several locations. He had to help put two of them in. He ran pipes to two houses so that we could have water inside. He mended things. He didn't do all the things that farmers would have done because he didn't always have the equipment. Someone would then turn up with the necessary tools and help. It was the way things were done and I expect are still done. 
There wasn't anything sexist about this either. Although  it was usually a male domain there were plenty of women who could  turn their hand to most things as well. Late last year an acquaintance of mine was talking to his elderly neighbour. He was about to phone for a plumber. She looked at him in disgust and told him, "Just go and get X and Y and Z and I'll show you what to do." 
He went off meekly and, at almost 90 she saved him several hundred dollars. Yes,  she had grown up on a farm and later married a farmer.  She still knew what to do after almost twenty years in the city.
I do wonder how many always-urban dwellers could do such things.But perhaps it is in the national psyche? There was the tense occasion in a crowded, chaotic refugee situation in Africa when someone suddenly yelled, "Is there a doctor available? British Army or Australian?"
The person who told me this said, "We knew what they meant. Those are the people who can make do and get it done."
Downunderites have a reputation for it. It seems the British do too.

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