I’m interested in many things, I’m always hungry to know and to learn new things. I’ve tried and done lots of things because I love the challenge, learning the skill and conquering challenges. As a student I didn’t like the shorts I could buy at shops. I wanted something more interesting and unique. So I borrowed a sewing machine and taught myself how to sew, I reverse engineered the shorts and after sewing until 2 a.m. I wore the first pair to lectures the next morning. Soon I was making other things, and my girlfriend loved that I made her dresses.
From a young age, having access to my dad’s workshop and tools and copying things my older brothers did I learned carpentry, crafts and general making of things. And over the last few years I’ve added metal work and concrete casting. I will make anything from anything for anything just for the joy that making brings.
Being and artist and designer at heart, I love to surround myself with unique and beautiful things, things that have stories and history and spark joy. I love bright, iridescent colours in fabrics and decorations and, as a man, not averse to receiving flowers.
Lately I have been buying potted flowers as they last much longer than a bouquet left to whither in a vase. These flowers, added to the many indoor and outdoor plants that cover every available surface round out a living environment that is good for the soul.
A few years ago, roughing it would mean walking barefoot down the hotel corridor to the vending machine.
I wasn’t outdoorsy, even though we camped and climbed all through my childhood. This changed when I joined someone on a hike up a mountain and discovered that I still enjoyed it. I swung into a full hiking and climbing mode and got back into camping which I now do in my semi-converted Caddy, Van Diesel. On Instagram you will find Van Diesel where our (Van and my) travels are documented.
Any opportunity to get on the road will be taken, although currently there isn’t enough of that. Solo travel and camping is the peak way of doing it. Just you and the road, town to town to somewhere in the mountains or next to a stream, set up camp with Van’s awning up for shelter from the elements – it usually rains when I camp anywhere – a good book or hunting the perfect shot with “the big camera”, freshly baked bread from the cast-iron bread pot on the fire – all the components for a de-stress and recharge.
Now to get my cat into traveling mode more. She is an easy traveler and enjoys car rides, she’s comfortable with her leash and should soon be ready to take steps further away. It would beat her having to stay home with a twice-a-day feed the only thing to look forward to. The subreddit r/TruckerCats shows how it’s done, I’ll let you know how it goes.
She came to live with me in mid-2021, not quite a baby kitten anymore but still small, about 10 or 11 weeks. This after she was the one that chose my lap when I visited a cat rescue haven in a nearby town. She was still freaked out, having only been brought in the night before. I gave her two more days and returned to see if we are compatible, she decided that we were and within half an hour I had signed papers, she had been chipped and we were on our way back to the city.
She was found on the streets and the kitten care lady thought she’s only been out for a day or so due to her not looking too haggard, on her first visit to the vet that was challenged since she wasn’t in perfect condition she appeared to have been. The vet reckoned she’d been on the streets for a few weeks.
But not really worse for wear physically, just needed some maintenance. But her days on the street show in her habits and eating patterns. She is less of a clock watcher than other cats and eats outside of routine when food is available. She still looks around a lot while eating and finishes the bowl every time, nothing is left behind for later. On the street, there is no later.
Someone did get ahold of her in her time on the streets since she was found with her whiskers clipped. Other than looking a bit odd I did feel for her, what else had these miscreants done to her, what other trauma did she face? Since then the whiskers have grown back nicely, except for one that is still half and crooked, her very special, character-giving whisker.
Oh, and then I also dabble in music. I have been drumming since around the age of five when my parents couldn’t bear me banging on all available flat surfaces and purchased a drum kit. It was a kids’ one to be sure, the bass drum was the size of a cake tin. At nine I got my first proper drum kit and raised the roof.
I failed at piano lessons, miserably so. That was an exercise in futility and thankfully my mother developed a dislike the piano teacher and I was off the hook. Mom also found a percussion teacher, the head percussionist of the symphony who offered to come to my school during music lesson time and teach me.
That was fantastic, learning all manner of percussion on top of just drumming. And being made of rhythm and for rhythm means practicing at home was a pleasure. Unlike piano. Being a classically trained percussionist opens very specific doors, into junior symphony and into brass bands. And eventually into a military band, which saved me. I was spared going to fight in a bizarre and ill-conceived war from which most returned changed.
At 14 my dad saw an ad in the newspaper for an electric organ. Post gen-Xers won’t understand the concept. Go listen to any track by The Doors, there is an electric organ prominently featured.
So dad and I borrowed a trailer and headed off to go buy the organ that Saturday afternoon. My parents were not the emotionally involved types but they did a lot for us, and as the youngest I probably got the best of that.
They were in proper practice by the time I came along. For reasons known only to my dad this organ had to be bought. With the help of the neighbours we carried it into the dining room. I plugged it in, switched it on and started to play. Mostly things I’d heard on radio with some own inventions thrown in. it just came naturally and parental suggestions of things to try and play gave me lots to work with. Organ lessons went better but I was still not made for regurgitation from site reading and never properly mastered deciphering the black dots on the five wires, strung from one side of the page to the other. That’s next hieroglyphics and my ADHD brain was not going to slow down enough for that.
The organ lead to keyboards and piano (self-taught this time) and I played keyboards in most of the bands I joined, there usually was a drummer already. But keyboards and piano also mean the ability compose which you don’t do from behind the drums.
And that creation process is again the most alive I get to feel. A very different kind of making from the making of physical things, or drawing on canvas but a creation that boosts level of the good brain chemicals.