Southerly by David Haywood

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Southerly: I Fell Down

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  • David Haywood,

    On re-reading this piece (written a few days ago) I find it to be somewhat more gloomy than intended. I should point out that plenty of people in Canterbury still have unrepaired and falling-down homes – and, of course, that nowadays there are a lot of people throughout Canterbury and New Zealand with no home at all. I’m up early (a time of day that I greatly enjoy) and the sun is shining; my life certainly isn’t bad in any way – I didn’t mean this blog to come across as a complaint.

    Dunsandel • Since Nov 2006 • 1156 posts Report Reply

  • Deborah,

    What a wretched few years for you, David. I've been wondering how you are. Not so good, as it turns out.

    I sometimes go back and read one of your old posts, because something somewhere reminds me of it, and it is a great pleasure to go back and enjoy your writing, your turn of phrase and your wry sense of humour, and the sense of a smart, quirky mind reflecting on and finding delight in the world.

    Reading some more of your writing will be a great delight, if and when you're ready.

    New Lynn • Since Nov 2006 • 1445 posts Report Reply

  • David Haywood, in reply to Deborah,

    Thank you so much for your very kind message, Deborah! I do consider myself lucky – an extremely lovely wife, children, extended family, and friends. But the last few years have certainly been difficult it has to be said, and it's very frustrating that I've been unable to do the writing (and other more intellectually satisfying activities) that I’d like. I did have a very enjoyable day off recently when the Lovely Ian Dalziel (TM) came out to visit the wilds of Dunsandel – quite the treat & some very interesting discussions were had.

    I think much of my worn-downness stems from the fact that I don’t get any psychological payoff from actually finishing anything – I just fire-fight the current emergency job & then move onto the next. The most I seem to manage is mild relief that an expensive disaster had been avoided.

    Plenty of people are employed in jobs for years with no job satisfaction whatsoever (I was myself), so I certainly can’t complain…

    Dunsandel • Since Nov 2006 • 1156 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford,

    Thrown into this mix is my son Bob’s ongoing difficulties with the educational system, which has resulted in home-schooling him one day per week. We call this our Engineering Day—the theory being that Bob learns arithmetic, basic physics, problem-solving, and design via a series of small engineering projects (admittedly there might not be any actual educational evidence to support this as a theory of learning).

    That's what I do. Today's job involves trying to get a 1500 steel hollow ball winched into place ready for a sculpturing project (photos to arrive here in a day or two).

    I wouldn't say your writing comes across as complaining, it's just telling it like it is. And I get it. My main source of dissatisfaction lately comes from computers not talking to machines. I am juggling Windows 2000, xp, 7 and Ubuntu plus the latest Mac OS systems so I can run verios bits of software to try and run old second hand robots. This is not my default, I have to use my tenacity skills I picked up during " engineering day" I have just recently managed to get a Roland mdx 20 to listen to an Ubuntu computer over a serial cable, and now it's milled something with an 0.4 end mill. (photos on there way).

    Atlantis • Since Nov 2006 • 4316 posts Report Reply

  • David Haywood,

    Crikey, that certainly puts any current difficulties of my own into perspective -- using Windows OS to run software for controlling robots [once did this myself and still recovering psychologically (mind you, it finally convinced me to fully move to linux)]. Sounds like some bloody interesting projects there, Steven...

    Dunsandel • Since Nov 2006 • 1156 posts Report Reply

  • Raymond A Francis,

    David, I have missed your posts and this explains all.
    You don't come over as complaining but things have not been going your way.
    My wife is believer in bad things coming in threes ( personally I think it depends on when you start counting) so count your blessings and look on the bright side of life.
    Oh and the aforementioned wife ( teacher, Principal, clever clogs etc) says you are doing a great job "as parents as first teachers".
    All the best.

    45' South • Since Nov 2006 • 576 posts Report Reply

  • David Haywood,

    Thank you so much, Raymond -- and very reassuring that an actual qualified person thinks that our Engineering Day has some merit!

    Dunsandel • Since Nov 2006 • 1156 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Haywood,

    Yes, it is bloody gloomy. Cheer us all up by writing about holidaying in Hawaii.

    Since Jun 2011 • 7 posts Report Reply

  • Brent Jackson,

    I see you have the support of your family...

    Great to hear from you again David. Looking forward to your having more time available to bless us with some more of your writing.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 615 posts Report Reply

  • David Haywood, in reply to Graeme Haywood,

    Yes, it is bloody gloomy.

    My (hopefully) next piece has the title “Høstens Vemod”, which Norwegian speakers will recognize as promising much more cheerfulness & bonhomie…

    P.S. Thanks for your kind thoughts, Brent…

    Dunsandel • Since Nov 2006 • 1156 posts Report Reply

  • Jolisa,

    Welcome back dear good Dr Haywood! Write anything, whenever you can, and we will read it. It really is that simple. With love from another errant-blogger-in-the-wilderness.

    Also:

    As I type I can hear him saying that a funeral isn’t really what he wanted as a birthday present.

    You've still got it.

    Auckland, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 1472 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Hosking,

    David, glad to hear that despite your troubles you're still around and sticking fingers to keyboard, however sporadically. I had wondered how you were going .

    In other words, your writing has had an impact in the past, one which has remained on the memory. And no doubt what you've got to come will do so as well.

    South Roseneath • Since Nov 2006 • 830 posts Report Reply

  • pohutukawa tree,

    Inspiring. Glad I followed RB's tweet, arrived at this post and had time to read it. As you know, things have a way of working out. Best wishes for what happens next…

    Since Jul 2014 • 11 posts Report Reply

  • bob daktari,

    I firmly believe you could write about paint drying and make it heartfelt and funny David, thank you!

    auckland • Since Dec 2006 • 538 posts Report Reply

  • Moz, in reply to Graeme Haywood,

    I dunno, some people can write about paint drying and it sounds interesting. Literally about paint drying. Well done, David.

    Cheer us all up by writing about holidaying in Hawaii.

    I have a friend who's taken time off cancer treatment to visit Melbourne (complete with wig that vaguely resembles her usual hair). I get the impression that one of the big benefits of being away from Christchurch is the lack of reminders that you're in a city still recovering from a series of disasters. The weather is nicer, but mostly it's the "I'm on holiday" vibe. Which I thoroughly recommend.

    Although this may not be the best week to visit Sydney. We had an outburst of weather last weekend.

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 1198 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen,

    You know those friends you have, that move away and it's like years between the times you see them, neither of you are the daily writing to each other types so you have no contact.

    And then you are in the same town and you meet up for coffee and the conversations just pick up where you left off as if there was no gap in the friendship at all.

    Your writing is like that. So don't sweat the gaps, do what you need to do and when you write again I will read it with just as much joy, no matter how long the gap between.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4451 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford, in reply to David Haywood,

    Crikey, that certainly puts any current difficulties of my own into perspective – using Windows OS…

    Thats nothing, I went all the way over to lower hut to buy a spanner, only to discover when I arrived back home that the nut I was planing to use it on was British.

    Hay, it just occurred to me to ask if you and Bob are counting in sixtys on your hands during engineering day? I remember vividly how my school teachers forced me to count in tens when I went to school.

    Atlantis • Since Nov 2006 • 4316 posts Report Reply

  • David Hood,

    We call this our Engineering Day

    I endorse building a linear magnetic accelerator with ones child

    http://miniscience.com/projects/Gauss_Rifle/index.html

    We made the track by taping two rules side by side, and normal magnets will work fine for it (you don't need "super magnets" that some instructions call for).

    Dunedin • Since May 2007 • 1445 posts Report Reply

  • linger, in reply to steven crawford,

    counting in sixtys on your hands during engineering day

    Twos, surely (in binary, as advocated by Asimov -- allows you to count up to 1023).

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1889 posts Report Reply

  • Moz, in reply to linger,

    Nah, the Babylonians make Asimov look like a shirker. The whole point of base 60 is that you can easily count in base 60 on your fingers. Five fingers times 12 joints means you get to 60 on one hand, and by the time you run out of fingers you've probably also run out of daylight. 3600 is quite a large number when you're counting things. I'm sure they also have tricks for multiplication as well as addition.

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 1198 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    I guess I haven't been so deprived as everyone else because Ive been able to visit the Hay-Haywood ranch and observe its impressive transformation.

    But I am VERY VERY happy to see this post :-)

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22754 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    (my brother likened it to someone saying something exceedingly stupid whilst leaving an answer-phone message, who then keeps on talking in the desperate hope of making what he’s said seem somehow less stupid, during which time he manages to say a number of even stupider and more ridiculous things).

    Can I say, in the nicest possible way, that I had no trouble imagining this?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22754 posts Report Reply

  • Tristan,

    I will be writing to your board of trustees about this engineering day! Its not right, its unfair!

    You should take all of the kids in your sons year for one day a week!

    What a wonderful thing your son gets to learn stuff 'on the job' once a week bloody brilliant! can you whip up a bit of a curriculum for my kids school to!

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 221 posts Report Reply

  • Alfie, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    You know those friends you have, that move away and it’s like years between the times you see them, neither of you are the daily writing to each other types so you have no contact.

    And then you are in the same town and you meet up for coffee and the conversations just pick up where you left off as if there was no gap in the friendship at all.

    I’ve had a couple of those experiences recently. The first when I was buying milk from my local farm (which coincidentally, is the one which has just been closed down due to TB). I recognised an old friend I haven’t seen for forty years. That was a joyous occasion.

    The other person was Wayne – he was my best man when we married in London way back in 1986. I’d made numerous attempts to track him down since we returned to Godzone, but he keeps a ridiculously low profile and had all but disappeared into thin air.

    Then last year I remembered he had a brother who worked in computing in Dunedin, so I rang around various IT shops until I finally located Wayne. That meeting was one of those "just like yesterday" experiences Bart described and now we’re best mates again. Life can be wonderful.

    I love your engineering days with Bob. Whoever would have thought an LED light bulb could be so hard to break into?

    It’s great to see you back David.

    Dunedin • Since May 2014 • 1386 posts Report Reply

  • David Haywood,

    Thank you Jolisa, Rob, Pohutukawa, ’Big’ Bob, Moz, Bart & Alfie for your very kind thoughts!

    Steven Crawford wrote:

    it just occurred to me to ask if you and Bob are counting in sixtys on your hands during engineering day

    I’ve asked Bob and he is aware of Base 60, but not the counting on your fingers trick. We shall investigate!

    David Hood wrote:

    I endorse building a linear magnetic accelerator with ones child

    Very cool, David, thanks for the suggestion. That looks like a great idea!

    Russell Brown wrote:

    Can I say, in the nicest possible way, that I had no trouble imagining this?

    Alas, no-one else who knows me has seemed to have been at all surprised by this either (also in the nicest possible way)…

    Tristan wrote:

    You should take all of the kids in your sons year for one day a week!

    That’s a very kind suggestion, Tristan. I have wondered if this approach might also be helpful to other children (essentially extending university Engineering School down into the primers) – it would be interesting to experiment. Safety is probably a difficult issue for some other parents; I’m comfortable with the idea that starting with tools early makes you safer in the long run, but I note that some of Bob’s viewers outside NZ have strongly disagreed with me on this, and indeed one has well-meaningly asserted that I would be prosecuted in the UK for letting an eight-year-old use a drill press, table-saw, bandsaw, table-router, etc, etc. But I was using most of these tools at around Bob’s age – without the modern safety guards – and I still have all my fingers. My only (mildly) serious accident was being knocked unconscious as an adult due to safety glasses fogging up. [Touches every wooden object in sight!]. P.S. You’ll note from the videos that Bob only wears safety equipment when there is an actual hazard, e.g noise, flying particulates, etc. However we’ve lately discovered an anti-fogging spray for our safety glasses that actually works, and so I’m now instituting a policy of always getting Bob to wear safety glasses while in the workshop (just to save anyone the trouble of emailing me about this).

    Dunsandel • Since Nov 2006 • 1156 posts Report Reply

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