Jones 563

After my mother passed away in 2008, my sister and I spent a few days clearing out her old council house before we had to give the keys back. Anybody who has lost a parent or a loved one and has had to do the same will understand the roller coaster of emotions that go with this task. I won’t go into all of them here.

When it came to my mum’s old sewing machine, the consensus was to get grid of it, as it was very old, and we both remembered it to be a troublesome beast. I used to use it in the mid eighties to adjust my school trousers to turn them into skin tight punk trousers. It would always jam on me and I was forever re-threading it, more than likely due to my misuse of it rather than any fault with the machine. Usually my mum would take over and do the job for me, obviously without any aggravation or jamming.

Anyway, that evening it returned with me in the car, along with some other stuff to sort through. Me being me, and much to the annoyance of my wife, I couldn’t bring myself to get rid of it. I had an emotional attachment to it, and along with a load of other stuff that I probably should have binned, I put it in a cupboard in the garage, where it lived for twelve years. Until a couple of days ago.

With the current lockdown thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic my wife had hand made a face mask, which took quite a while and I heard her mutter under her breath how much easy it would be with a sewing machine.

“We’ve got one.” I piped up. “Got what?” She said. “A sewing machine.” I replied, “My mum’s old one, don’t you remember I was supposed to get rid of it and didn’t?”

Anyway, I fished it out of the cupboard in the garage and brought it inside. The case was in a bit of a sorry state and I set to cleaning it up before opening it, adding the obligatory duck tape to the edges to cover up some tatty and chipped bits. I then cleaned the whole thing up, plugged it in, and was very happy to see the little sewing light illuminate. I then pressed the pedal to see if it worked and… all the lights tripped out in the house.

I’d already printed out the manual I’d found here:

I had sent a very happy message to Dan Hopgood, whose blog it is, for providing the PDF, providing a brief history of the machine. I soon received a reply telling me he was glad he could help, and the garage wasn’t the best place to store a sewing machine, and he hoped it would work fine. I sent a message back telling him of the electrical issue. Again, there was a very friendly prompt reply telling me where to purchase a replacement motor, as he had done with his machine.

Three days later, the motor arrived, it took me less than five minutes to fit it and, having followed the instruction manual to thread it up, it worked perfectly first time. No jamming either, with the bobbin still in it from the last time it was used all those years ago.

So, I owe a very big thank you to Dan Hopgood, without whom the machine would not have been resurrected.

Take a look here:

My Mum’s old sewing machine.
The case.

Homo Stupidus

I’ve spent the majority of today filling in job applications. At the age of 50 I’ve decided, with the original suggestion and support from my wife, that a career change might not be a bad idea. This is something I have tried to do several times over the past few years. The driving factor being the ongoing struggle I have with my mental health and my increasing inability to deal with the high pressure and stressful situations I always used to handle with aplomb.

Wether this is down to a loss of confidence or some kind of mid-life crisis, I’m not really sure. All I know is, that at any sign of a stressful situation, although outwardly I appear to handle any kind of stress with my usual coolness and expertise, inwardly I tend to crumble and question everything I have been doing, saying, and thinking, to the point where my brain turns to mush with the cacophonous internal monologues overlapping and flooding each other out until I’m reduced to a mental gibbering wreck. All the while seeming outwardly composed and collected until I can find a safe place, on my own, to collapse and gibber physically, completely lost and unable to recollect what I was actually supposed to be doing. Questioning my every thought over and over and over again.

It’s no secret that I had a massive mental breakdown towards the end of 2019, with which I was so mentally crippled with anxiety and self doubt I couldn’t cope with the simplest of situations for several weeks. I’ve always been very open about my mental health issues as I hope that by relaying my experiences in an open and factual manner it would help others suffering inwardly with their own demons, even if it’s only in small way. Wether it does or not I don’t know, I like to think I have a positive impact on someone, somewhere though.

Anyway, this post, isn’t really about my mental health though, those paragraphs were just to set the scenes, as it were, as to what I’ve been doing today and why. What I’ve been doing is applying for various different jobs, a very small fraction of which are related to IT, because I want to do something different, something satisfying, something new at which I can excel for the remainder of my years. I don’t really know what it is I want to do, other than it needs to be less stressful, rewarding, environmentally friendly, and probably to do with working outside as much as possible.

It’s while filling in these online application forms that I’ve noticed a theme which is actually going to bring me to my point. That theme is to ask me my gender, what age group I fit into, what ethnic group I consider myself to be, the nature of my sexual orientation, my religion and other such things, for the purposes of transparency, impartiality and equal opportunities and the like.

It strikes me that these sort of questions are likely to have the counter effect of their intended purpose, which is to ensure that an equal amount of people are selected from said groups. I get that, but surely that defeats the object anyway by also eliminating the best possible applicants for the position in order to fill the positions diversely?

With the unrest we are currently, and rightly facing, following the deplorable killing of George Floyd in America and the rekindling of all the emotions and wrongs that this appalling and senseless killing has resurrected, I can’t help but think back to my original philosophy and the opinions I gained during my anthropological studies so many years ago.

It matters not the colour of skin, religious beliefs, where we were born, what our heritage is, the supposed class under which we reside, the educational establishments attended, etc. There are no such thing as different races. We are one race, one species, and the only one of our kind. We are the Human Race. We are Homo sapiens, taken from the Latin for “Wise Man” as named by Carl Linnaeus who set himself as the specimen for the species way back in 1758. We are supposedly sentient and enlightened cultural beings with the capacity gained through evolution to love and feel and express ourselves. I don’t feel as if we are very wise though. In my opinion we are the opposite. We are collectively exceptionally stupid. We are truly unique on this planet, and probably in the universe, and yet we choose to segregate and persecute members of our own species, people that we are related to by race, no matter what colour we are or where we are from, WE ARE ALL THE SAME RACE. Maybe we could try and stop the pain and hurt and devastation we are pouring on ourselves and everything around us and reflect upon this? Please? For the sake of our own consciences? I know it’s a lot to ask, but I, for one , am beginning to despise my own species.