The Big Fix 2020 – Blog 2

We had invited the Councillors of Weymouth, Portland and Dorset councils to attend The Big Fix 2020. Five or six came and one brought a chain saw for repair. Councillor Jon Andrews is also the mayor of Sherborne and he plans to start a Repair Café. When interviewed by Peter Lythgoe for our live Facebook video he said he has premises and he can ensure free parking. We discussed parking for Repair Cafe Weymouth events with Weymouth and Dorset councillors and they approached Dorset Highways on our behalf, but they feel they cannot set a precedent. We also sowed the seed of a “Library of Things” for Weymouth with the councillors. Donated tools could be hired out at minimal costs, because we do not all need a shed full of ‘stuff’.

Councillor Giovanna Lewis is keen to start a Repair Cafe on Portland and two ladies from Winfrith came along with a view to starting one there. Just the result we had hoped for! We are happy to help.

So what interesting items were fixed? A lady had contacted us about an old wooden doll, now in pieces and sadly missing two feet and leg. A picture on eBay showed us what the feet should look like.

Wooden Doll Repaired and repainted

Our dedicated PAT tester and electronics expert Jim responded to my email and offer to whittle parts in between jobs. We didn’t expect it to be so tiny – about 4 inches high. He did it and sewing volunteer Jane managed to restring the doll. The happy visitor subsequently painted the feet red and sent us a photo.

The jury was out among our electronics volunteers about whether a Binatone games console circa 1980’s could be adapted to play ‘ping pong’ on a modern TV. I often consult our volunteers in advance by email for jobs we have been contacted about, to ensure we assign them to the most appropriate repairer, in this case, Robert.

1980s Binatone TV master games console

“All I had to do was connect a coaxial cable to the summing point of the diodes to provide a composite video output, compatible with a modern television. Luckily the sound uses an integral speaker, so I didn’t have to worry about that.” Our happy visitor is now playing ping pong with his sons.

We have a new clock repairer Nicholas, who can also advise on antique furniture restoration. His partner Jeanne offered to repair a gold picture frame on which the moulding was cracked and had bits missing. We were amazed at the result –the moulding repaired and gilded using a range of gold paint hues to recreate shades. New volunteer Audrey discovered the moving story of the chocolate coloured labrador that was the subject of the picture. The owners Issy and Rod made a generous donation online.

Jason West of Weyforward brought donated smart phones for Repair. They are for a Social Learning Club project that teaches people from disadvantage backgrounds to use smart phones for learning. Luckily reporters from community radio station Air 107.2 were keen to record an interview with him. They were broadcasting live from the Repair Cafe and as their appeal is generally to the under 25s, we hope for more young people at our next event!

Ros Dean