Saturday, May 05, 2007

Simply Green: Repairing Things

Danny Seo’s blog Simply Green is a fantastic resource of green, eco-friendly ideas for the home. I love his premise ‘reduce, reuse, recycle and repair’. Yesterday he blogged about trying to get his ipod repaired and his frustration with the ‘replace, not repair’ culture.

I can recall a number of occasions where items we own have broken and we have been told “it just isn’t worth repairing”. Oddly it always seems to happen to the things we have bought new (rare as that is) rather than the older items we have been given or bought second hand. Electrical items are the worst. But this week we had a good experience. A couple of years ago I was given a Kenwood Chef Food Mixer – not only a design classic but a very efficient kitchen work-horse. It was a 1970’s model, possibly older– these things were built to last a lifetime. Sadly, last week, in the middle of a batch of bread dough, it breathed its last. We looked at the newer models available and I realised that the one that would be best for our family’s needs (and be most like the old one) was not the £150 model but the semi-professional, heavy duty £400 plus one (I might have guessed as much).

Then we discovered that, to our joy, our local, tiny and very quaint, independent electrical shop (a rarity itself) would be able to arrange for a repair. We await an estimate. The shop’s owner (who has run it for over 40 years) looked approvingly when we mentioned it was a Kenwood Chef. The quality of the workmanship and parts in the early models was so good, he told us, that they are well worth repairing if possible – in fact they were designed to be repaired. It seems that so much today, isn’t.

I am blessed with a husband who is very good at fixing things (aside from a Kenwood Chef that is). Our boys love to watch him; in fact they are of the firm opinion that Daddy can fix anything, absolutely anything – household items, toys, broken biscuits. He learnt by watching his father and also had the benefit of woodwork and engineering classes at school. Such practical and useful subjects are rather out of fashion these days in most schools or so I am led to believe, thanks to an emphasis on academic league tables and a fear of lawsuits. I think such practical skills are of huge importance and I’m very happy that we will be able to include the teaching of them in our homeschooling. I think our boys will be too.

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