Tinker Travellers Clock Up 4,000 Kms

“Success is liking yourself, liking what you do and liking how you do it.”
Mary Angelou

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Mend It, Australia arriving at the Rye Community House for its monthly repair cafe

Us RUDE Guys were originally planning to drive to one Victorian repair cafe a month.  In the last couple of months we have been volunteering weekly at different repair cafes, and a fortnight ago we went to two repair cafes in one weekend!

 

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What do we get out of these events?  The smiles and expressions of gratitude for starters.

From February this year until now, we have calculated that we have driven a distance of 4,000 kms on our mission to mend!!  To provide a visual of how far 4,000kms is, refer to the map of Australia below.  Represented by the hand drawn red line, Darwin is a 3,741kms drive from where we live in Melbourne.

 

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Great to get this vintage Singer Sewing Machine stitching again.

Tinker travelling to repair cafe or similar events is a great way for us to share our passion for reuse and repair, as well as engage with other like-minded people.   Each repair cafe follows a documented model but there are some tweeks made to proceedings that make each cafe unique.  And us RUDE Guys get to experience these delightful differences as we tinker travel around.

 

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And what can you bring to a repair cafe?  Anything you can carry in the door.

In an attempt to explain our role to the individual repair cafe groups, it was important for us to be clear about what we were doing and why.  Tinker travelling to  different repair cafes on a weekly basis is not the same as a local volunteer turning up to their town’s monthly repair cafe event.  And it is not the same as a non-local turning up to the same monthly repair cafe in a suburb just down the highway.

 

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Let there be light…and there was!

 

So far this year we have tinker travelled to six different repair cafes, and regularly returned to two of them, under the banner of Mend It, Australia.  When we arrive at these events, along with other volunteers, we are kept busy repairing, mending and fixing from the get go.

However, we are always mindful and sometimes vocal of Mend It, Australia’s goals, which are to stand up for the individual’s right to repair, to champion self-mobilised volunteering and to promote [via our networks] some of the amazing  repair work of individuals, groups or businesses involved in keeping stuff out of landfill.

 

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If you’re lucky you may get more than one thing fixed at a repair cafe.

 

Most people are amazed that we travel such a distance to help them.  And we get some lovely commentary on-line:

“Great work Karen & Danny, such wonderful generosity to help other people and the environment.”  Gillian

“Your just such wonderful repairers.  You have such a beautiful passion.” Karen

“We need more of this in our world today.” Trudy

 

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It’s rare for Mend It, Australia [Kaz+Dan] to have a photo together at a repair cafe.  

The most common comment people at repair cafes make is that maybe we can start a repair cafe up in Melton [where we live in Melbourne]

We highlight that we will not be doing that, because we are happier tinker travelling to non-formally volunteer in communities with a stronger focus on sustainability and with supportive bureaucrats who trust their communities to ‘get on with it’.

However, if a repair cafe ever started up in the City of Melton, we might support and tinker travel to it.  But probably not because in 2019, we hit the back roads to tinker travel to other Australian states.   And in between times we still want to visit our repair cafe families in Victoria which are only going to grow bigger.

Beat The Man and tinker travel if you can!!

Darwin 3741 kms from Melbourne

In seven months Mend It, Australia has tinker travelled a distance equivalent to driving from Melbourne to Darwin and some more.

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Tinkerers & Waste Warriors

 

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Our Waste Warrior mission is about keeping good items out of landfill by mending, fixing and repairing them at organised repair cafe events.  We also mend, fix and repair at home.



Our story features on the about section of our Facebook page at Mend It, Australia.  Us RUDE Guys [Kaz+Dan]
would like to share it here as well.

Karen Ellis has always been fascinated by the resourcefulness of individuals who mend, fix and repair their things.

“As a child, I vividly and affectionately remember moments of my mother mending and making do, such as turning my father’s thinning work shirt collars. Whilst I have always been mindful of not being wasteful with my things and with my money, it was not until I retired that I found time to share my mending and resourceful ways with others on Facebook at Rude Record.”

Karen’s husband Danny has trade qualifications, and has many transferable tinkering skills. When the couple was blindsided by bureaucrats and prohibited from informally volunteering their mending, fixing and repairing skills in their local community, they decided to tinker travel to other Victorian communities, and share their passion for reuse and repair.

“Together, Danny and I became known as Mend It, Australia. We are self-directed, self-funded and self resourced volunteers who currently travel to organised and free repair cafe events in Victoria. And in 2019 we are planning to travel interstate and volunteer at more of these repair cafes.”

Karen administrates the Facebook group Mend It, Australia which features stories from their tinker travels. She also shouts out about other individuals, groups and repair businesses doing great things, related to keeping good stuff out of landfill.

“I am a staunch advocate for the right to repair and to reuse recycled materials. My all time favourite quote is about thrift by G.K. Chesterton.”

“Thrift is the really romantic thing; economy is more romantic than extravagance…thrift is poetic because it is creative; waste is unpoetic because it is waste…if a man could undertake to make use of all the things in his dustbin, he would be a broader genius than Shakespeare.”

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Tinkering Twosome

“Thought allied fearlessly to purpose becomes creative force; he who knows this is ready to become something higher and stronger.”  James Allen

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Beat The Man by not waiting for permission to be involved in your communities.  Get out there without fear, and do grassroots good stuff.  It’s fun, challenging and very rewarding!

Us RUDE Guys have been busy attending Repair Cafes in regional areas.  As Mend It, Australia, we make ourselves available to volunteer at these events about twice a month.  We are self directed, self funded and self resourced.  We are travelling philanthropists who, if invited,  give our time and skills to communities hosting repair cafes.

Repair Cafes are free events organised by local communities.  People bring items to be repaired, fixed or mended by volunteer fixers.   Toss it?  No way! is the slogan from the International Repair Cafe Foundation

Fix It, Don’t Flick It, is our Mend It, Australia slogan. This year to date [February to May], we have attended and volunteered at a total of seven Repair Cafes in Geelong, Castlemaine and Rye.  In June we will go to La Trobe Valley Repair Cafe in Morwell for the first time.

Above:  Geelong Repair Cafe ~ Highton – 10 February, 2018

Above:  Castlemaine Repair Cafe – 25 February, 2018

Above:  Geelong Repair Cafe ~ Highton ~ 17 March, 2018

Above:  Geelong Repair Cafe ~ Highton – 14 April, 2018

Above: Castlemaine Repair Cafe – 29 April, 2018

Above: Southern Peninsula Repair Cafe ~ Rye – 20 May, 2018


Above:  Castlemaine Repair Cafe – 27 May, 2018

“He never wrote theories, or for the sake of writing; but he wrote when he had a message, and it became a message only when he had lived it out in his own life, and knew that it was good. Thus he wrote facts, which he had proven by practice.” 

Mitch Horowitz from James Allen: A Life in Brief

 

 

Home Factory

 

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Ricardo-Bofill-cement-factory-yatzer-2.jpg Ricardo is an architect who lives and works at home. Home is a former cement factory.

 

Melbourne Design Week 2018 is underway and us RUDE Guys were relating to this article featured in The Age newspaper’s M insert last weekend.  All the individual stories were of interest to us, as they involved the reuse of stuff, by designers. 

Us RUDE Guys are not designing for sale and profit however we reuse and repair, and occasionally we will reinvent and revamp our secondhand finds.  Whilst flashy upcycling is not our aesthetic, we can definitely appreciate what’s involved.  And that’s why we enjoyed reading the article and finding out more about the designers, and what’s on during Melbourne Design Week.

And from the article these were the paragraphs [refer below in orange italics] that made an impression.  Why?  Because we agree with Dale Hardiman Designer that this is how we could be living in our homes. 

[“Only a handsaw, drill and screws are used for construction,” he explains. “I took away any machining and CAD. None of the work was sketched. It’s about the intuitiveness of making. I use rudimentary tools to display the ease with which we can reuse these objects to have structural capabilities.”

Hardiman hopes to inspire others to get on the tools. In his eyes our homes are veritable mini-factories capable of local production.

“Furniture manufacture requires buying hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of machinery to [mass] produce objects,” he says. “[But] the average household is like a workshop; with gas and electric ovens.”]

The RUDE Home is a very private place.  Daily, we share an incredible amount on-line, that’s why we prefer to keep our home space private.  Sometimes we feel like we lead authentic double lives.  We like to meet people out in public because it gets us out and about and also keeps us socially connected.  We travel once or twice a month as Mend It, Australia and visit repair cafes and similar events. 

For us, our house [the building] is like a makerspace, large shed or garage – a thriving workshop for repair and maintenance jobs that are never ending, in our mission to keep things out of landfill, and money in our pockets.

It is not unthinkable for us to be pulling apart a chainsaw on our antique wooden dining room table.  Or sewing in the main bedroom that’s now a studio.  Or fixing a sewing machine on our kitchen’s bench.  Or cutting out fabric for curtains in the entrance hall or on the kitchen floor.

Beat The Man, hire out your own space for free, and be industrious from home!!

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Image via www. Waste-into-Wonder

 

Tinkering Tenacity

 

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Image Source:  www

 

“Tinkering, however, is not just the art of repairing what is broken. At its heart, it is a playful activity, tinged with a measure of risk, but absent any great consequences.”

Freddie Luchterhand-Dare ~ Senior Strategist at Landor

A Rude Record early February blog post opportunity. 

Our tinkering tenacity at Rude Record and Mend It, Australia has grown stronger as a result of meddling bureaucrats enforcing restrictions on our rights to participate in our local community. i.e.  if you don’t become a formal volunteer [under our control] you will not be permitted to play with the others. 

We find it troubling that many of the bureaucrats making decisions for our local communities do NOT actually live or play in them. We chuckle at the thought of a bureaucrat asking us to fix something for them.   They would not dare!

Refer to the link at the end of this blog post.  This may happen to be the best article on tinkering that we come across for 2018.  Time will tell.  Us RUDE Guys just had to share it, because it’s very well written and covers some interesting points, related to repairability in the digital age.

From the article as follows, and us RUDE Guys could not agree more:

“But it seems the long-silenced tinkerers are finding their voice again. A series of ‘protest’ movements are gathering pace globally, pushing back against this notion of ‘obsolescence by repair prevention.’ Far from niche, their call has increasing gravity. A loose army of consumer advocates, repairers and ordinary individuals – in other words, owners of all kinds of devices, from microwaves to toys – are now coalescing. “

“Of course, the complexity of some appliances (think a photocopier) has always been beyond the skills of the average spanner-wielding person.”

RUDE Boy had never fixed photocopiers in his life.  Decades ago, he took a job troubleshooting, servicing and repairing them for a year, saving the day for many frazzled office workers.  Oh, and he can wield a mean spanner too, and does not take kindly to bureaucrats, who haven’t got a clue about tinkering, telling him what he can and can’t do.

Beat The Man and keep developing your tenacity for tinkering. 

https://brandinginasia.com/cant-tinker-therefore-not-brands-tinkering-digital-age/

 

Mend It, Australia

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Social media is changing the way we communicate and the way we are perceived, both positively and negatively. Every time you post a photo, or update your status, you are contributing to your own digital footprint and personal brand.  Amy Jo Martin

 

Brand is not a product, that’s for sure; it’s not one item. It’s an idea, it’s a theory, it’s a meaning, it’s how you carry yourself. It’s aspirational, it’s inspirational.  Kevin Plank

Us RUDE Guys have added a new concept to our brand that piggy backs off the ethos of Rude Record.  Mend It, Australia launches itself out in the community on the 10th February when we tinker travel, over an hour away from home, to volunteer at the Geelong Repair Cafe – Highton.

Our RUDE and Mend It branding reflects reducing consumption, reuse of available resources and the right to repair without interference.  Locally at Imagine Melton Zero Waste, we promote resource recovery and say no to landfill, preferring to champion alternatives, such as zero waste measures, like composting.

At Mend It, Australia Facebook page we showcase Australian and global mending, fixing and repairing events.  We post interest articles and videos about the mission to mend movement.  And most days, we also like to shout out about what we are reusing and repairing.  We hope our posts inspire our page followers to think twice before chucking things out and heading off to the mall to buy new.

As for this blog, RUDE Girl was writing a weekly blog post, however it looks like I will only be able to manage monthly/bimonthly this year, as we will be busy trekking around the countryside, participating in Repair Cafe events.

RUDE Boy has worked part-time for many years, as he is transitioning to retirement.  He has just told me he plans to fully retire this year in October [it’s not common knowledge yet, but who reads what I write anyways!]

We have been making some plans for this milestone forever really.  However, we started to focus more on it last year.  In 2017 we were involved in mending at Mend It, Melton [MIM] events in our local community but MIM did not work out for us.  Bureaucracy decided to take over and its reason for doing so failed to align with our Rude Record brand.   There are no more Mend It, Melton events in our local community, however I  still administrate the Facebook page here

Thanks to the bureaucratic meddling of Mend It, Melton, us RUDE Guys turned a rotten situation into a positive and voila, Mend It, Australia was created.  And our idea around flexible tinkering travel was born.

Stay posted for some stories back from our tinkering travels by following us daily on Rude Record or Mend It, Australia.

“BEAT THE MAN AND BRAND YOUR LIFESTYLE” ~ Karen Ellis aka RUDE Girl

Mend or End?

 

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Image Source: www

 

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RUDE Boy’s STIHL MS250 (42.5mm) chainsaw

Us RUDE [reusers (and repairers) of unloved discarded excess] Guys take great pride in maintaining our things.  We are not materialistic but we are true materialists.  We cherish, respect and care for the things that serve us well.

The STIHL chainsaw in the above photo was bought new by us about eight or nine years ago.   It has rarely been used and only for domestic use.  RUDE Boy was told and researched that STILH was the best for chainsaws.

Hell, this chainsaw was one of the few things we purchased new and it’s stuffed.  CACTUS!  Reinforces why we are not fans of spending big dollars on things that are manufactured to fail.  Yes, STIHL chainsaws are the best for planned obsolescence!  And yes, we will make sure we share our misfortune in an effort to warn others.

RUDE Boy took the chainsaw in for a service when it stopped working,  He was mortified when he was told the piston and bore had been scored and there was no compression.  He was then told it would cost over $AUD1,000 to repair it with STIHL parts.  Or $AUD670 with after market [generic] parts.

As in this article here [recommended reading], we were faced with the question of mend it or end it.  As we are the  Mend It, Australia team, we feel compelled to try and mend it, and share the experience on our Facebook page.

RUDE Boy has researched and ordered a motor from China for $AUD50.  He is reasonably confident he can replace the old motor with a new motor.  And hopefully, cross fingers and toes, this cheap part will make our hacked STIHL chainsaw serviceable again.

$AUD50 compared to $AUD1000 for repair is a huge difference.  We will try mending before ending.  It’s too early yet to say Beat The Man.  Stay posted.

Oh, and if we have to end it, because it does not work, we have been advised that ALDI sell a good domestic chainsaw for $AUD100.