Everything on Drummond is makeshift. Metal things rust and break, lines fray, material rots and decays, so you are forever fixing things with spare parts and tools that themselves are anything but new. There’s a hardware store on the island that sells pretty much anything you need, and over on the mainland there’s a huge Walmart with a Do It Yourself section where you can get a far wider variety of tools and parts at about half the price. But fixing things is a matter of being consistent and staying with the project until it’s done, and you never really know how long it will take, so you might find your repair job only half finished by the time you have to leave. So the next person to come here finds “projects” lying around. I’m used to it, after all, this is what we’ve been doing for years, but I’m not sure if Helmut is all that happy with it. We’ve had fun on Adam’s sailboat, but Helmut is rather sceptical of the material, and tends to err on the side of safety.

I hate it when things break, especially things that were bought to match other things, because it’s often so hard to find a similar replacement. This morning it was the sun umbrella, which must be 30 years old now. Mike repaired it last year, in fact it’s been repaired many times. Now Adam is fixing it and it looks like the old umbrella might have yet another lease on life. But even that life won’t last forever. It’s an eternal cycle of makeshift.

(I’d like to upload pictures, but the internet connection is too slow.)

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Teaching English for business communication skills, writing online for learners, translating, sailing whenever I can, from Washington, D.C.

4 thoughts on “Makeshift”

  1. I have similar memories of my childhood. It was something I know have learned to appreciate. Here in (formerly East) Germany, there’s also a (dying) culture of make-do. And I enjoy trying to become a part of that.

    Remember: Reduce, RE-USE, Recycle

  2. Hi Toby,

    Exactly! In fact, the real “problem” here is that there is no dump. Years ago the islanders decided to close it and make people bag their trash at about $1.50 $2.30 a bag, and then recycle things, like plastic and paper. This change came about mainly because of the black bears at the dump, which were both unsafe and a bad reflection on a community dedicated to nature conservation. Now someone comes round once a year (!) to pick up big pieces that won’t fit in trash bags. But we’re not here then… So broken things tend to lie around, and you don’t want that … so you fix and keep everything!

    I lived in Dresden for a while, so I agree, that’s a nice bit of local history.

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