Make Do and Mend

I have had these duck cup measures since I was ten.
 Rosy did a splendid job of mending Mama Duck for me.

The ability to make do and mend is a superpower that will help to save the planet by preventing the resource depletion that is currently threatening so many habitats and ecosystems. In the New World Order instituted by me, Benevolent Dictator of Earth, those who choose not to go out and buy new things, but instead just make do with their old things, will be awarded medals. People who can fix and mend things will be accorded superhero status. Capes will be handed out.

Last week Paul noticed a fraying phone charger cord in my car. At least 10cm of the rubber coating had come off which made him shake his head sadly.. he mended it for me in five minutes, with a layer of duct tape and some heat-shrink tubing. Now we can charge our phones in the car without danger of electric shock. Paul actually is a superhero of fixing things, as many electronic engineers/off-grid cabin dwellers are.

In our family we are more try-it-and-see-what-happens types when we attempt to fix things, which is like an apprentice superpower, because you never get to be a superhero without experimentation, right? A few weeks ago Rosy got out the glue to mend her Fitbit and I lined up a queue of other things that needed mending that I had in a box, because I am a procrastinator. So Rosy mended a china stork for me that I had broken when dusting too enthusiastically,

glued on the beak of my duck one-cup measure from the set that my Grandma gave me for Christmas when I was ten, see above, and the glass lamp shade from the bathroom light fitting that I broke the week we moved into this house, nearly two years ago now.

They are all working perfectly again, and so today I actually got the glue out myself and fixed a doodad back onto the thermometer that sits next to the fireplace, and the glass thermometer thingy back into the thermometer that lives in the kitchen. It has been the week for thermometers falling apart.

The name of the glue I am using is Allfix, which I think is a spectacular name for glue. Clearly there is nothing this glue cannot fix for me. I am so happy because there are six things now that I will not need to replace due to the mending powers of glue, duct tape and heat shrink tubing.

Such small things, but added up over a lifetime there is so much that we can manage to not go out and buy just by mending something, or even more simply, by leaving an old thing in place and just re-using it over and over again..


Hazel said…
I'm imagining a tiered system of superhero awards - perhaps you get to wear your pants over your (darned) tights first, and then get presented with your cape when you graduate?
Anonymous said…
My husband is an excellent mender of stuff, and has surely saved us a fortune over the years. I've done my share of fixing too. Recently I noticed that his favourite old, soft cotton work shirt was looking very tatty around the collar, and set about turning it. My mother and grandmother would have been proud - and, I suspect, amazed that I was even aware of such an old-fashioned domestic skill! Such a satisfying achievement, and so very simple.
I love your measuring spoons!

Linda in NZ
Jo said…
Hazel, I can see that when I am Benevolent Dictator I shall have to get you on board as my advisor:)

Linda, my grandma used to turn collars on shirts! I had completely forgotten. She did one for me once. I shall have to look into that. I can see it would be useful for the girls' school uniforms.. thank you for the reminder!
Fernglade Farm said…
Hi Jo,

What a crazy weekend of weather. Did it rain in your part of the country? It has been crazy dry here since the end of January.

The first photo got my attention. Whatever are those ducks used for? They look cool in a Babushka style.

Paul did a top job with the heat shrink repair on the cord. Nice one!

The old school alcohol fuelled thermometers are really good devices which can shrug off power outages with an attitude of indifference! Hey, the one I have here has suffered the same fate too and the glass has not held onto the timber backing.

Jo said…
Chris, we have had a crazy weekend of wild wind and lots of rain. The weather pundit on the radio the other day said that while our rain average is more or less the same as it has been, our rain is not as regular as it was, but coming in large, destructive events rather than regular gentle showers. That is certainly the case here this weekend, and what it means for agriculture, I imagine, is a switch to forms of growing food that are not so delicate as large fields of grain without any shelter belts..

The photo is of the baking cup measures my granny gave me for Christmas when I was ten. I believe she got them from the Avon lady. Rosy mended the largest one for me.. I will pop a caption on the photo for future confused people..

For broken thermometers, I can recommend glue.. :)
Gregg Koep said…
A great post and very important reminder. We live in a disposable world. Waste is profitable, but that does not mean it is right.

Something that really irks me are the fasteners used in many electronics (and I have noticed them on my van) that require specialized and expensive tools. By using screws that most people don't have tools for, the manufacturer insures that the products will be thrown out, or returned for expensive repairs.

If I pay for an item, I want to have the right to do whatever I want with it. I want to be able to repair it myself without having to buy tools that I don't already own. They are trying to discourage DIY repairs, and that should be banned by clear thinking people everywhere.

The measuring cups are beautiful, and functional. And to have them for such a long time is special. What a gift!
Jo said…
Gregg, I believe that things should be made to be repairable, and to last. Humans have invented materials that will last practically forever, and we make disposable items out of them. It is inconceivable! It is how the market works, but.. that shouldn't be our normal. Outrage is a completely sane response to this kind of thing.
GretchenJoanna said…
Even if someone told you that without a doubt your fixing and repairing was having no measurable effect on the environment as a global thing, I think you would continue your work, because you love the world and the things in it. And just your presence as a loving human blesses the cosmos.

The process of redeeming anything from being forgotten, neglected and broken... I admire anyone who has a vision for it!

Thank you, Jo.
GretchenJoanna said…
I had never heard of turning a collar! But I looked it up just now and it is another admirable way to show thankfulness for what we have, by preserving it as much as we can. Bravo, all you collar-turners!
Treaders said…
It's a bit like the old sewing basket isn't it. You know the one down by the side of mom's chair and she would sit and do repairs while listening to the radio. I find that just piling up the broken bits onto the table eventually annoys me enough to repair what I can. I think it's just a case of having all the right tools to hand. Oh and I love those measuring cups. Anna
Jo said…
Gretchen Joanna, that was a most beautiful compliment, and I think applies to many of us who read and write here, including you. Yes, a mission for redeeming that which is forgotten, neglected, broken. It is small, but important, partly because it uplifts the idea of things which are not perfect, and that broken things can be mended. What does it say to us, at a deep psychic level, if we, as a society, throw things away when they aren't perfect.. because who among us is perfect? We can only be content with ourselves and each other if we can accept our broken and mended selves..

Anna, yes, mending is a thing that can be done when listening to the radio. Not so much when watching TV.. I like your thinking of putting the broken things where they can't be disregarded. That would annoy me into mending them before the next meal, which is ideal:)

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