Before the furniture police banned any personalisation of your “hotdesking workspace”, two fading truisms were taped to almost every desk. The first sets out the chair based human capital appliance – or employee as we old timers like to call ourselves – work ethic: “I can complete one task every day. Today is not your day. Tomorrow isn’t looking good either“. The other astutely observed “When you’re arse deep in hungry alligators, it’s sometimes hard to remember your plan was to clean up the swamp”
It is the second to which we must turn the eye of angst to, but not before staking my claim as the Olympic representative for the single minded pursuit of but one task per day. On a good day that is. Assuming there is nothing interesting happening outside the window.
I would have happily tossed* myself in the alligator’s maw at exactly 8:03PM last night. Surrounded by broken tools, cast off spare parts and a mixed collection of sizable hammers, my frazzlement sparked a sweary outburst ending in “why the f*** do I f***ing bother with this f**king s**t?”
A good question yet some distance away from the aura of tranquility and peace in which the build began. But things went wrong right from the start; the curious design of this fine Yorkshire frame sees the rear brake hose seemingly routing via Harrogate. A visit to a bike shop promised a swift solution, but delivered only lies and outrageously expensive options. Then the cranks didn’t fit because some copy monkey failed to notice the difference between the numbers 68 and 73.
Easy mistake to make I suppose. Especially when compared to forging an wheel dropout that was about 2mm narrower that the axle that was supposed to drop in. Undeterred I harvested the big file and – under strict instructions to ensure an adult was present – handed it over to Carol. Who filed away with a technique and patience that couldn’t be further than my only contribution: “for God’s sake woman, watch what you’re doing with that and don’t file my new bloody frame”
Flushed with success, we swiftly moved onto the scary proposition of lopping a few inches off the steerer tube. For those of you uninitiated in the dark arts of bicycle maintenance, this involves a pipe cutter, a £300 box fresh fork and a very deep breath. Fifteen minutes later, I’d broken the cutter, the record for a sentence with the most occurrences of the work bollocks, and a hacksaw blade.
The steerer remained resolutely uncut although badly mutilated. A good lawyer might have got me off with ABH but it took a bad Al to complete the job, somewhat lengthened by having to remove the stem with that well known Zen technique of twatting it with the biggest hammer.
When I say I completed the job, Carol returned from dealing with abandoned children, ignored my whining, took control of the cutting tools and lopped off the right length pretty close to square. How that woman didn’t then take the same approach to my testicles, as my whinging ratcheted up to near hysteria, shall form one of the many tenets of her future Cannonisation.
The tools were then gently prized from my bloodied hands, as further spannering was suspended for fear of an Al being denonated in an uncontrolled explosion. There is still much to do in terms of general tweakery, cable installation – featuring the frustrated tears of indexing hell – and complex suspension jiggery-pokery. I fully expect this to be completed in the same mixture of inner peace and outer accomplishment that has defined the build so far.
Alligator steaks all round then.