Saturday 25 April 2015

An illogical attachment to lumps of metal

The contents of my tool box are like a biography of my biking life over the past 30+ years:

There are some almost antique tools that my dad gave me. They are are a reminder of the Saturday mornings when as a young boy  I would get to spend some precious time with him 'mending the car' - a weekly ritual of checking the tyre pressures, checking the oil and giving it a polish.

There are some cheap and nasty tools that I brought as a teenager for my first moped. I think a lot of them came from petrol stations and they were ham-fistedly used to bodge repairs that more often than not required taking into a shop to have put right again.

There are some slightly better tools that I brought when I was a student. Me and my mate with whom  I shared a house for a couple of years  had a garden full of crappy old little bikes that we had fun trying to fix up. We probably spent as much time messing about with them as we ever did studying.

Then there are a succession of more obscure tools that I brought over several years to fix specific problems on specific bikes that I have owned.The bikes have long gone but the tools remain. Often they were panic buys made when I discovered that I needed them half way through some job with the bike in pieces. As a result their cost was often disproportionate and it would have made more sense to have taken the bike to a professional mechanic. But that was never the point.

Then there is the most recent batch of tools brought in the past ten years when I first got into Harleys and I had to supplement all those metric tools with imperial sizes. Most high street stores simply don't stock imperial tools these days, and you are met with a blank glaze of you ask for a 5/16 hex bit socket in Halfords. So these tools were often hunted down on the internet - and sometimes ordered from the 'states.

These tools are not precious. They are of mixed quality. All of them at the end of the day are just lumps of metal - often rusty. But they are mine. Or they were. The other night some bastard got into my garage and stole them. I've already started, but I know it's going to be a pain to replace them. And I am never going to be able to replace the memories they evoked ...

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