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  • Sara Vian (Coffield)

Make-Do and Mend


I recently spent the evening at the pop-up "Repair Cafe" over at the Edventure Hub in Welshmill.

The room felt buzzy when I arrived, with a couple of tables filled with mainly men fixing the electronic goods and bikes, and women in the sewing area; although there was one young man in a hoody learning how to fix his jeans on the sewing machine! I was also delighted to see a table with cake, strawberries and teas on it, asking for donations to be put in the teapot, which made it feel really homely.

And it was really homely; having your neighbours fix your stuff for free feels like family and for those of us not lucky enough to have our siblings, parents and grandparents around to help us out, this really does fill the gap!

Shortly after arriving, I was greeted by Helen, one of the Share Shop managers, who checked my booking (you book on-line in advance) and then guided me over to Ray who was luckily free immediately to take a look at my toaster for me.

Feeling I should probably leave Ray to get on with it, I wandered over to talk to Aliss, the other Share Shop manager who’s a whizz with the sewing machine, and sat next to the Mayor, Sheila, who was fixing a dress she’d made.

We had a bit of a chat about the issues in Palestine and the American Revolution (like you do!) and then I thought to ask the bike man, Alex, if he had time to fix the squeaky breaks on my bike? Luckily he had and it progressed into raising my seat and handle-bars, turning my front wheel round the right way(!) and loosening my breaks – what a star! The old banger had even come up a sort of golden brown after Alex’s TLC!

The light on my cycle helmet had also fallen apart so I asked Ray and another guy Chris, who was helping out, to have a look at it for me, and Chris worked out that it was my obscure batteries that had run out and Ray told me where I could get buy them.

Unfortunately Ray then relayed that the toaster was a right-off but at least we’d tried before chucking it out! It seems that Russell Hobbs don’t make toasters that you can fix these days and Dualit are the best “lifetime” investment apparently; I also discovered that we should clean out the crumbs from our toasters regularly because they could catch fire!

So anyway, I was so filled up with this warm and fuzzy good-neighbourlyness that I wanted to pay it back, so when I came across Doug, a regular volunteer at the Share Shop, who was having trouble saving a number to his mobile phone, I was able to guide him through the process before popping a generous donation into the teapot and washing a few mugs before leaving…


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