I've been tagged with this meme by the poetic Gadjo Dilo. Brought up in a house with lead pipes I'm told I have eccentricities, but some of these I've admitted before, and others...well, I don't have Gadjo's courage. But their side-effects show up around the house and garden, so I'm going to cheat and use those.
Some years ago I was throwing out an old ladder and the children's pram, when I had a silly idea. This was the result. It steers by a small handle between the driver's knees, and there is a rudimentary handbrake. It was intended for the children but was invariably appropriated by the grown ups. For a year or two, after a certain stage of inebriation, most of our barbecues migrated to the grassy hill behind the house, where we careered down the Downs in the gathering dark at terrifying speed, not always succeeding in making the necessary handbrake turn at the bottom. It's the best toy I've ever had.
Later my father-in-law gave me a windsurfer sail he'd picked up at a marine boot fair. This only works well in a full gale, which is hairy. We need to try it on a beach.
This is my version of a garden gnome. It needs a coat of paint. We had some timber left over from building work, and I was working in Chatham Historic Dockyard at the time. The barrel was moulded of papier mache around a stack of plastic flowerpots, together with chicken wire, a drainpipe, some washing machine hose, the tubes from two kitchen rolls and half a football. After drying the mould was covered with fibreglass. The cannon balls are ground-down boules. For a year or two, after a certain stage of inebriation at barbecues, we used it to launch fireworks towards the village below...
The Dog Window
Not very exciting this, but it brings the dog pleasure. It used to be a cat flap in the kitchen, but we didn't have a cat, so I double-glazed the hole and put a shutter on it. The pheasants have learned they are safe on the other side, and tease the dog mercilessly inches from her nose.
I'd always wanted one of these. The catch is operated by a false book (I wanted it to be 'Tales from the House Behind' by Anne Frank, but that wasn't wide enough), via parts of a bicycle cable brake and bits of a Reliant three-wheeler door mechanism. It was intended to have a security function, but also provides useful extra book space. The Social Secretary once carried a tray of tea through it to some decorators who hadn't been warned, and they dropped a tin of paint.
One of our predecessors was a landscape gardener who'd worked on churchyards, and I kept unearthing old gravestones in the garden. I set them up in a disused corner when the children were going through their goth phase. They used to hang out down there with their goth friends and think gothic thoughts. They're all real except the Adam Boddy one ('a damn body' geddit?), which I made from an old paving stone.
Bits of this house are hard to reach from other bits, so we use this rather retro communication system involving three wartime Fuller Phones. There is something satisfying in winding the handles to make the bells ring - one ring for this one, two rings for that, etc.
Being remote, we are slightly paranoid, and there are a number of quirky security measures, some of which I can't mention (or I'd have to kill you). This catch on a shed actually just raises a magnet past a magnetic switch, tripping the alarm. It's the obvious thing to try a door, and I care for the idea of a would-be thief setting the alarm off themselves, before they've even gained entry. I know it to have worked on at least one occasion. In the picture below, the green door is one we seldom use, because there is access from inside. If you look closely you'll see the handle and lock are on the hinge side. My theory was that someone working in the dark might try and jemmy the wrong side.
Another measure I enjoy is our prominently placed switch marked 'Burglar Alarm, On/Off'. It stays permanently at 'on', but is reverse-wired and if switched 'off', triggers the alarm.
Scarily there are a lot more quirkinesses, but that's quite enough. I maybe should see a doctor. Gadjo?
I'm not going to specifically tag anyone, but invite you to take this meme on, in either its original or modified form.