Tuesday, July 06, 2010

The (other) Look

I'm sick. I'm hacking up chunks.

I'm going to blog about that more later, after I've finished watching Little Dorrit on iView, but I'm not allowing myself to watch it until I've blogged about Sunday.

Sunday was one of those days that you HAVE to do, because it's been planned and cancelled and planned and postponed and planned and planned until even though you're hacking up your lung linings and running a fever, you just have to go through with it.

It was also one of those days where you have to depend upon the goodwill of your loved ones. Halfway through days like Sunday, they look at you as if to say 'you'd better do something good with this' and you know that if you squander your life on playing the pokies or watching crap television, you'll never be forgiven. Anyone whose chosen path through life involves heavy, dirty machinery and equipment and doesn't have a big company or institution looking after them knows this look well.

So. Best Beloved, Bumblebee and I went to Braidwood to FINALLY pick up the four cabinets of type that I bought from the sadly extinguished Finlay Press. And to help my friend Andrew move the Arab platen press that he'd bought from them. We'd decided to share moving costs, and that meant putting in the hard work too.

A photo essay:

moving type

Julian (with his back to camera) and BB moving a type cabinet from the back of the house to the front. You can't move the cases with the type in them, because the type is so heavy and the vintage cabinets are so fragile that it would all fall apart... so you have to remove every case, one by one, move the cabinet, put it on the truck, reload the cases, move the truck, unload all the cases, move the cabinet... and so forth. Halfway through this you get The Look.

blue type

Doesn't the Polaroid setting make the type look jolly?

Arab press

This is Andrew with his press. All external bits have been removed, and the central spindle will also have to come out, because when stripped, this press is 76cm wide, and the door we will eventually have to go through at his house is 76cm wide. Ahem. yes, but first we have to get it out of this house, where there is no back ramp or step, just a half-made deck and lots of rustic things like stones and weeds and a well.

door and rails

Andrew and his (very practical, luckily) friend Alan had a lot of fun devising wedges of wood and rollers of metal pipe and taking glass doors off their hinges, while we moved trays of type.

rails & poles

It all got a bit hairy at times, and I kept getting flashes of The Look, but we persisted, because we had to. The alternative was another press being scrapped, and I say Not on My Watch.


And then along came Glen 'Moonman' Moon, blacksmith and crane operator, and my knight in greasy King Gees. He saved the day with his sensitive cranework, practical bossiness and excellent sense of humour. I love these men. I will never be out of parts for my press while he is in the world.


...and onto the truck. Sighs of relief all around... but they didn't know, like Andrew and I did, that the hardest bit was yet to come.


I volunteered to drive with Glen in the truck, to show him the way. That was lots of fun.

There's a whole chunk missing now, when we got to ANCA and had to pack and unpack all my type cabinets and then load some of the cabinets I didn't want to take to Andrew's place. My head was about to burst in pain but as we got started, who should appear but Bernice, who was visiting with her son, and Byrd, who'd dropped by to say hello, and who both rolled up their sleeves and helped, to my utter gratitude. It didn't stop them from giving me a variation of The Look, but I've had worse. Lovely peoples.


OK. So here we are, in Campbell, at Andrew's house on the hill, getting the truck to back down the steep slope so that we can get the press into its cubbyhole. See the nice cubbyhole, on the right? Eek! We'd whittled down now... everyone had gone home except Andrew, Glen and I. I wasn't fit to operate heavy machinery, but that was just a small concern.


I'd hoped to be finished and back in bed by mid-afternoon, but as you can see, as we were wrangling the press, dark had fallen. This is the press halfway in the doorway. I'm omitting a lot of running about grabbing bits of plank and brick, and unable to relate exactly how skillful and graceful Glen's cranework is.


Here is the money shot. The lovely Arab press, in it's new home, awaiting all the bits & pieces to be restored. I was very happy to pay my half of the cash and then get home to a hot bath, roast chicken and the boys.

Studio Duck, 100706

Here is the happy ending: four cabinets of gorgeous metal type, installed in my studio.

I now officially have ENOUGH TYPE. And yes, dears, I will try to do something good with it. Once I've recovered my health.

And now, for part two of Little Dorrit.


ThirdCat said...

gotta love a bossy person with a crane

genevieve said...

All these shots are awesome, but the shot of the crane in front of the van is the awesomest.

You are very kind to do all this before Little D. Hope you're feeling better soon, I am very excited at the sight of all that type.

birdmonkey said...

Fabulous! looking forward to inspecting your new type! I thought you would be in Dunedin by now?

ronnie said...

wow whee - lovely cabinets.... I'm imagining the riches within (sigh)

I don't need to do much to imagine the big move - having moved a monster C&P ...... without a crane (we pulled up to a dirt bank and shoved the press onto the back of our flat bed landcruiser), but with the excitement of a +40 degree gravel road to navigate out of..... I will remember THAT trip for a LONG time (I couldn't manage to get my poor old corolla outta there without assistance!)

hope you're feeling better soon