It was with some laughter and surprise when we were asked if we could make a Connect4 game for a supposedly clever dog called Harry. Dogs can't play Connect4 was the stock reply from members. How wrong can you be.
Harry definitely shows an innate ability to play the game as this video, taken very early in his training shows. Isn't it amazing what you can get a dog to do for a lick of a cream cheese tube? The board was made by Colin B and the discs were printed on the 3D printer. Work is now underway on an automatic feed system so that he can pick the discs up on his own. After that it must be to teach him to count to 4.
Uplands School asked the Shed if they could renovate a very tired looking structure. At the start of the school holiday various members applied themselves to the task. After removing the protective fence, inspecting the structure and carrying out a risk assessment work started, tools were unloaded and the existing structure was stripped down. From the look of one of the timbers (last picture) it was just about in time. The relevant materials have been acquired and the hope is to finish the job by the end of the week.
Pictures will be added of the completed structure when appropriate, check back here soon to see what the end result looks like.
Could the plinky-plonk orchestra become a reality (2 images)
Oliver's plinky-plonks have always been an item of interest and comment wherever we have exhibited them but now they have gone beyond that. Oliver gave one to 1Community for sale, the manager from the Adults' Health and Care Centre spotted it and thought that it might be of use to some of her clients who suffer from autism so with Oliver's approval she gave it to her - the guess proved correct and Oliver has been busy creating new ones ever since. Perhaps one day we may be entertained by a plinky-plonk orchestra. She also has one of his hand crafted football rattles (takes all sorts).
"Just to let you know that the instruments have been very popular with people, especially when they are showing off about their football team winning a match. They have been kept in my office in between music sessions for safe keeping and lots of different service users like to visit me each day and they sit and play me a tune on the other instrument (I don’t know what it is called) it has such a lovely, well-tuned sound.
Can you please pass on our many thanks"
Day Opportunities Manager, Adults’ Health and Care, Fareham Community Link
ps. The 'other' instrument is an African one which pre-dates western instruments such as the harpsichord, cornamuse and virginal by a few thousand years yet they are still in everyday use in the continent. Originally made from wood and bamboo, with the advent of metal they turned primarily to wood sound boxes with metal tines.
Oliver has started to manufacture westernised versions of these instruments which changed their title to Kalimba in the 1950s, using such ‘junk’ materials as old cycle spokes, concrete reinforcing rods, tobacco tins and hacksaw blades but basically they are the same instrument.
Orchard Lee Junior School approached us to create a wood store to go with the fire pit that they are planning. Designed, built, painted and erected by Mick, Colin and Brian.
"We recently were put in contact with the Men’s Shed Fareham when we were searching for someone to make us a woodshed to store the logs for our firepit area at school. Chris Nixon visited us one morning at school to discuss our plans - from then we felt that our request was important to the team at The Men’s Shed. A couple of weeks ago we had our new woodshed delivered and installed. The school are overjoyed with the shed and thoroughly enjoyed the service provided. We cannot thank the gentlemen enough for their hard work and craftsmanship. The quality of the shed is fantastic and an absolute perfect fit to our original requirements. We hope to be working with the Men’s Shed in the near future!"
If we are going to take on more projects of this size then we really must find some larger premises.
The Shed has just welcomed a new member who has his own laser cutter/engraver. Something that could well become a useful tool for the future. Apparently it ain't as easy as you might think to put one of these in, water cooling, extraction, .... but it might well be worth thinking about if we can turn items like this out, for now we can piggy-back on John's personal machine.
Orders for X-wings, Millenium Falcons, and other bespoke items can now be supplied, an example is the sign made for 1Community - you can see it in the 1Community shop in Fareham Precinct. (More images to follow).
Stubbington Belles Women's Institute asked us to give them a short presentation on what the Shed actually did. Rod and Chris N managed to get lumbered for it and it was quite a daunting experience standing in front of 45 ladies and trying to explain that the closest analogy that we had found so far was that the Shed was the Men's equivalent of the W.I.
Standing in front of them all, knees acquiver, Chris made his pitch. The ladies seemed to enjoy the talk and slide show (run using a Raspberry Pi, what a clever little box of tricks that is), no eggs or rotten fruit was thrown and all-in-all it was an extremely edifying if somewhat trepaditious experience. We left the chairwoman with one of Oliver's football rattles as they did seem to take an effort to control at times and when it was swung everything suddenly went quiet
Thank you ladies for your attention and I hope that the talk was of use to you - the cake was delicious.
A response from the Belles
"Thank you for making your debut ‘performance’ with a WI audience, to us at Stubbington Belles WI. It was a real fun session and our ladies thoroughly enjoyed your visit. You had prepared a great presentation for us. Many were surprised at the breadth of your activities and you gave an insightful and yet humorous account of what the gentlemen get up to in The Fareham Men’s Shed.
We were fascinated with the products you make and delighted to receive the ‘claker’ to gain our ladies’ attention after tea time! Your enthusiasm for your Shed and also Titchfield Festival Theatre was clear as you spoke with warmth and detail about them. The activities that you participate in for charities were impressive and very interesting. We will be inspired!
We wish you all continued success for the future".
Titchfield Allotment Society Noticeboard (4 images)
Some members of the Shed went to a meeting attended by most of the volunteer groups based in Titchfield. Not too sure how but when we left we found oursleves allied to the local Farmers Market Group and with a request for a strong outside noticeboard for the Allotment Society. As with all of the other activities like this the Society agreed to pay for materials whilst the Shed supplied the labour for nothing.
The last time that I saw it it was looking really good. Fully treated wood so it should last with a Perspex covering.
Breast Cancer Haven in Titchfield offers support for those suffering from breast cancer. We were asked to create a new bra ping-pong board for them as their's was old, tired and too big and heavy. Ken and Mick came up with this folding version. When the Haven has populated it with brasierres as targets for the ping-pong balls I shall add another picture. (Just one quick thought, I wonder whether you get a bigger prize for landing the ball in an A cup as opposed to a double D cup?).
Apparently about 400 men in the UK are diagnosed with breast cancer each year, mainly in men over 60 but not unknown in younger men, nowhere near the nearly 55,000 female victims but needs to be thought about, perhaps we ought to ask the organisation for a presentation on the subject.
What a brickbat of a thankyou
"It was so wonderful to see you all at the tea party at the centre. It was an incredibly busy day, but very successful, raising over £1,800 just on that day!
I am pleased to say that bra pong has been used for the first time! Please find photo attached. It was HUGE success, both with transporting it, putting it up, ease of use, storage, game playing, colour, just about everything!! We honestly can’t thank you all enough for your help with this, it will make a HUGE difference to our work, and enable us to make an awful lot of money".
All we can say is "It was our pleasure to support you"
After repairs to the Fareham Lion's horses Thomo was spotted in the stables working on not one, not two but three rocking horses. The first picture to be captured was when he started to glue the rlevant pieces together.
I shall try and keep an eye on him and bring regular updates as it is quite a project that he has embarked on.
Fareham Lions were having a problem at their stables, the horses kept going lame and we were asked if we had any veterinarians that could look at the problem.
We transported the thoroughbreds to the surgery and found that the way that the hooves (wheels) had been fitted was causing the problem - somebody needs to speak with their farrier. We modified the way that the wheels were fitted and gave them a slight touch up.
Now they are all straining at the bit for their next outing.
Received from our contact at the Lions:
Dear fellow friends at the Fareham Shed.
Many thanks for your work in refurbishing our ‘Horses’ which we use & allow other groups to use to raise funds for many schools, groups and charities. Not only were they picked up but were delivered on completion ready for their next known outing in May.
Thank you gentlemen
On behalf of the President and members of the Lions Club of Fareham.
It sounds almost like a new crime novel but apparently daffodil and tulip garden ornaments are easily found but an 88 year old lady in Portchester wanted a lotus flower to finish off the little Budha corner in her garden and she couldn't find one anywhere, so she contacted us.
Step up Oliver and Bob - A template was drawn up and Oliver brought his plinky-plonk expertise into play. Bob turned up a middle bit (can't think what that bit of a flower is called) and Chris H delivered it.
It was received with delight, a very generous donation to our funds, and a subsequent wish for a small bookshelf to fit into a specific recess in the living room wall.
Chris L very kindly obliged and once again we had a delighted lady who was very happy with the end results. To finish the saga the 3 Chris's (sounds like a music hall turn) turned up to deliver the shelf and to take some pictures.
I always said that our 3D printer was a solution to a problem that we didn't have. Well the other week we found the first two problems - Bob wanted a couple of adaptors for the exhaust systems on a fixed and portable belt sander. Our dust collector wouldn't fit directly so these were designed and printed and they work superbly.
Then Tony said "one of my kitchen appliances has a broken doo-hickey, can you print another one for me?" Oliver wanted some train wheels for a model that he is making. Voila. Faux fans for Geoff's model engines, no problem and the last one in this group (for now) a control knob for a portable plane, that turned a piece of junk into an extremely useful piece of equipment. So it looks as if it could well become a very useful piece of kit.
I wondered why John was polishing a pair of old blowlamps - then he gave me this picture and I thought 'what a good idea for old, unloved tools'. I just hope that he made sure that they were empty before he mounted them but you must admit that they really do look good.
We have received correspondence from the UK Men's Shed Association to the following effect:
Our membership currently entitles us to a 49% discount on hand tools and a 29% discount on power tools from Triton Tools - We will need to set up a Shed account with them before this can be used, once we have done this then members will be able to order through us.