The great restorer – 94

PhD Life

One odd side-effect of being a student that I did not anticipate is the financial efficiency that I have had to develop. For me, this has developed into a habit of fixing and maintaining things myself rather than paying other people or buying new items.

I spent four hours today changing the bottom bracket in my new (to me) pride and joy, a mid-1970s Puch Alpine bicycle that I bought for £45 from a local cycling charity. The bike is old enough to be my father. Of all the things I own, I think it may be my favourite, and I can’t quite express why I like it so much. <Insert Image>. Something is satisfying about keeping kit running that has been a work-horse for, I assume, several people before me. Although, whoever had it before had very ugly handle bars, I have since changed them for much prettier matching brown leather ones.

Vintage puch alpine road bike

Last-weekend I repaired the battery on my iPhone 5s, and now it works better than ever – and it only cost me £10 and some time on YouTube. I have been tempted, and very close to, purchasing a new bike and phone over the last few months when they both had failed me. But for some reason, it now has become amusing to me to see how long I can keep them going. I have started to notice people make nostalgic comments towards my phone when I get it out, which is interesting – it was released in 2013.

When it comes to technology, especially phones, it seems that anything older than five years is museum-worthy. In fact, my previous phone (the iPhone 3gs) was in the science museum of London a few years ago when I was visiting. I had one in my pocket, and everyone found the moment when I pulled it out for comparison hysterical.

More than merely saving money, which I must admit is a nice perk, I also get to learn things by fixing my stuff, and for me, this has become a hobby itself. It is a win-win situation when you try to fix something; you’re ready to replace it anyway, so if you break it trying to fix it you’re at no loss. If you fix it, you save yourself some money that could be put to better use.

Fixing the things you have rather than purchasing the latest version of that item may be a subversive act in 2019 as consumerism is considered a pillar of morality. Anarcho-punks of the future will be those that can wield a soldering iron, huffing on the fumes of the rosin liberated from the flowing solder. When that time comes, as a contrarian, I will be forced to innovate and turn towards consumerism.

If I put half as much effort into my writing as I did my bike, I might have got much further through my thesis and produced some half-decent content for this site. But, alas, the time that I will be happy to call myself a writer is ahead of me – not too far I hope, Ideally before the end of my PhD, but having said that it would be typical for this time to come long after it was necessary.

I wish everyone an enjoyable Sunday, is anyone doing anything exciting?

Published by Louis

Spend less than you earn, Invest the surplus, avoid debt. Eat food, not too much, mostly plants

16 thoughts on “The great restorer – 94

  1. Just going to some friends for a braai as we call it here in South Africa. Think you guys call it a bar-b-que.

    Trying to get into habit of not buying the new thing all the time as it doesn’t really do much more than previous thing.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That’s a brilliant habit you have developed! And even your iPhone battery 🙂But be careful with it, for I think they can expand under certain circumstances, and generate heat somehow I believe (but I could be wrong). My girlfriend just found her old iPhone having swollen up like a bubble in her drawer… In any case, repairing things in general is great. Whenever people talk about that “Infinite growth on a finite planet is impossible” they are actually wrong, due a quite funny but technically completely true factor: That our economy grows when we make things that are more durable -> It means that the people who sell the thing can charge more, and the person who buys it actually pays less “per month/year” than otherwise, and less resources are consumed. So if everything lasted for a thousand years, our economy would be huge, and the stress on nature far smaller. Sorry for the long comment, but couldn’t help myself. Wish I would be repairing more things too 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  3. I am always doing things for myself, whenever I can. I get that from my parents 🙂
    I have a bathtub faucet that needs to be replaced and the only reason I’m calling in the plumber is because I put the thing on too tight the last time I cleaned it! (The pipe twists when I try, so I definitely need the plumber!)
    Thanks for sharing! Enjoyable read!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. A nice refreshing post. I also I put more effort into fixing things around me than I do into my writing, because I love fixing things, I love the challenge of not having to buy something every time something I already own does not work. I also have a 1973 French racing bike (Gitane) that I refuse to give up because as long as I can peddle it.. well.. I’m going to use it! . But I don’t feel guilty about it. I know, through experience, that the more I write the easier it gets. Knowing how to fix what I write becomes as easy as replacing a cracked screen on my iPhone. There is one piece of advice I follow from someone who can write better than I can (Hemingway)…. Stop writing for the day when you feel good, so it makes you eager to get back to it. If you stop writing when you don’t like what you are putting down, your brain will do anything not to get back to it… like fix the chain on your bike. LOL.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Congrats, my friend, on discovering the joy of being “Extra.” You’re my kind of rebel. When you do things for joy, their meaning and significance changes. That will also hold true for writing. When you do it for fun, it’s not a chore.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. You’re rediscovering an approach to living that was common during the Great Depression here in the States. I had older parents who lived through the Depression, and the idea of throwing out something that could be fixed was abhorrent to them, especially to my father. I confess I struggle to find the right balance between fix and replace, because my time has become very precious to me. Do I spend 3 hours fixing something I can replace for $20 or use those 3 hours to write or read or exercise or rest or… you get the idea.

    I’m in rural New Mexico this weekend, i.e. in the middle of a vast desert surrounded by nothing but dirt, rocks, and the few plants tough enough to survive in this place. My husband and I have been on a road trip since Thursday. So far we’ve visited White Sands, Carlsbad Caverns, and Roswell. Today we’ll drive through Albuquerque as we work our way back home.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Very timely post as we all need to be considering helping ourselves in order to help the environment.
    Just at the end of an OK Sunday and enjoying reading some of your past posts. Are you still wanting comments on your writing skills? And / or guest posts on Writing Matters?
    Dyspraxia = can’t easily balance to cycle but I love the bicycle. Loving the quarry tiles more though. 😉 I live in a converted Victorian school and we have some very similar in the “Headmaster’s Office” AKA downstairs loo.


  8. I love this post so much. I completely relate to the “fix that broken thing” & have done so for years. It gives me enormous satisfaction to delay the disposal of something others see as disposable.


  9. Built in obsolescence? Bah! Most things that wear out, can be fixed. Fragile things, once broken, unfortunately, cannot (glass, pottery, hard plastics – things that are cast rather than forged or assembled.)

    Say, you always seem to be the most timely “Liker” on any post I venture to publish. I’m curious as to how you manage that.


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