In this blogposting…Wimbledon Postscript
Burnopfield Masonic Hall Workteam Advice Sheet
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Everybody knows that, even amongst the Elysian Fields of life - those rarefied pastures of pleasures that occur far too seldom - there’s always a swatch of nettles waiting to sting your lower legs. And they always do.
Take this year’s otherwise exemplary Wimbledon…
Throughout the tournament I was naturally in daily Skype contact with Serge, mostly in order to gloat about how terribly English it all was - strawberries and cream, pristine courts, everything either white or green…
Somehow, though, Serge managed to derail my smugness at the first hurdle. Who, he wanted to know, was The Man In The Hat?
A little to the left of the Centre Court’s main scoreboard is the box of seats reserved for the players’ families and friends. And - every day, match in and match out - the seat on the right of this box was occupied by a distinguished-looking older gent in a dark blazer, striped tie, neat white shirt - and an enormous homburg - or is it a trilby or even a stetson?
Once seen, never forgotten. After Serge had pointed his presence out to me, I consciously looked out for him every day, and every day - there he was.
But who was he?
Serge’s question - which he mischievously repeated each time we spoke - was a reasonable one; and one to which no research on my part could provide an answer.
Until the very end of the tournament, when the BBC decided to run a feature about ‘the unremarked heroes of Wimbledon’, of which he was one.
The Man In The Hat was David Spearing, no less. This well-turned-out gent had somehow earned the right to be the tournament’s Honorary Steward. It was his job to usher the families and friends into and out of their special box and to look after them while they were in it.
In return for his arduous duties, he got one of the best possible views of the action on Centre Court - and a gratifyingly large number of appearances on tv screens all over the world.
As it happens, Serge and I weren’t the only ones who were curious about this fine gentleman. He has become an internet institution - as this interview with him shows…
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BURNOPFIELD MASONIC HALL WORKTEAM ADVICE SHEET
Eric and Jean sent me this last week.
I still haven’t stopped laughing….
A tall upright machine useful for suddenly snatching flat metal bar stock out of your hands so that it smacks you in the chest and flings your beer across the room, denting the freshly-painted project which you had carefully set in the corner where nothing could get to it.
Cleans paint off bolts and then throws them somewhere under the workbench with the speed of light. Also removes fingerprints and hard-earned calluses from fingers in about the time it takes you to say, 'Oh sh*t'.
A portable cutting tool used to make studs too short.
Used to round off bolt heads. Sometimes used in the creation of blood-blisters.
An electric sanding tool commonly used to convert minor touch-up jobs into major refinishing jobs.
One of a family of cutting tools built on the Ouija board principle; it transforms human energy into a crooked, unpredictable motion, and the more you attempt to influence its course, the more dismal your future becomes.
Generally used after pliers to completely round off bolt heads. If nothing else is available, they can also be used to transfer intense welding heat to the palm of your hand.
Used almost entirely for igniting various inflammable objects in your shop. Also handy for igniting the grease inside the wheel hub out of which you want to remove a bearing race.
A large stationary power tool commonly used to launch wood projectiles for testing wall integrity.
HYDRAULIC FLOOR JACK
Used for lowering an automobile to the ground after you have installed your new brake shoes, trapping the jack handle firmly under the bumper.
A large stationary power saw primarily used by most shops to cut good aluminum sheet into smaller pieces that more easily fit into the trash can after you cut on the inside of the line instead of the outside edge.
A tool for testing the maximum tensile strength of everything you forgot to disconnect.
Normally used to stab the vacuum seals under lids or for opening old-style paper-and-tin oil cans and splashing oil on your shirt; but can also be used, as the name implies, to strip out Phillips screw heads.
A tool for opening paint cans. Sometimes used to convert common slotted screws into non-removable screws and butchering your palms.
A tool used to crumple the metal surrounding that clip or bracket you needed to remove in order to replace a 50p part.
A tool used to make hoses too short.
Originally employed as a weapon of war, the hammer nowadays is used as a kind of divining rod to locate the most expensive parts adjacent to the object we are trying to hit.
Used to open and slice through the contents of cardboard cartons delivered to your front door; works particularly well on contents such as seats, vinyl records, liquids in plastic bottles, collector magazines, refund cheques, and rubber or plastic parts. Especially useful for slicing work clothes, but only while in use.
Thanks, Eric and Jean - keep ‘em coming…
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