Author Topic: Voluntary work.  (Read 346 times)

Dave

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Voluntary work.
« on: March 06, 2017, 07:15:33 PM »
Today I did more physical activity in one day than I have done in any week in the past two years or more.

With medical and medication probs I spent 9 months lying down most of the tine and over a year with my mobility limited to walking 50 yards max, ironing two shirts at a time, doing less than 5 minutes washing up, getting knackered drying myself after a shower and needing a rest, using an electric scooter to do my shopping etc.

Today I walked started voluntary work in the Gloucester Waterways Museum helping to sort out their archive. Spent 5 hours lifting bundles of maps, sorting them then racking them. Fascinating stuff, some maps dated back to 1799. Also plans of canal construction, steam engines, dredger parts, steam and hydraulic railway engines . . .

The senior archivist, from the HQ up north, is pragmatic, "This is the sort of stuff I want, you can do what you like with the rest." He also did all the lifting and carrying. So we kept all the local stuff, set aside the engineering stuff for the engineering volunteers team, other local maps for the county archive and railway stuff for the train heads.

The other volunteer, Margaret, has been setting the library up for a few months. She was once a librarian and looks like a stereotype of the breed - about 5ft 9 inches, slimmish, grey hair pulled back (though in a pony tail rather than a bun), slight stoop, glasses she oeers over st you and a narrow face.  She was also once a shepherdess, amongst other things. Loves finding old books of (now quaint sounding) rules etc, she can't sit, has to keep poking into piles, boxes and bags. Has a dry sense of humour.

I like her work ethic, first job on arrival is to make a hot drink, then sit and decide what to do with the day. Days and hours are up to me, though they like a day schedule - will probably synch with Margaret. Otherwise it's work until the get-up-and-go turns to go-and-sit-down. Then, when I have just enough energy left to walk to the bus stop that is exactly what I do. With a short break for lunch I kept going from 10am until 3pm - and still managed to shop on the way home (after a half hour rest on the bus)! My feet gave me the buggest problem.

Just the sort of exercise I wanted: walk a little, bend and lift a little, stand for a while, then repeat. Rest as necessary, finish before totally knackered.

Will go back tomorrow if my feet have forgiven me.
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joeactor

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Re: Voluntary work.
« Reply #1 on: March 06, 2017, 09:46:52 PM »
Excellent!

Good exercise without pushing too much. Plus interesting work that helps a good cause.

Hope you get to do more and continue to improve!

Dave

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Re: Voluntary work.
« Reply #2 on: March 08, 2017, 05:41:57 PM »
Day three in the museum. Shelving books and screwing wooden shelving units into rows 'cos they wobble standing alone. Was actually allowed to use the engineer's battery drill without a "Small Tools Certificate" as long as I counted my fingers before and after and did not drip on the carpet.

Margaret, the librarian, is nice but has obviously been beaten down by bureaucracy over the years. When I suggested we asked for a four wheel, at least double deck, trolley for moving books she said it might take months to get. I walked into the office and asked about getting one, someone said, "There's one going spare in the curation workshop." It is a good thing Margaret is fit and strong (more so than I at the moment), she has spent two months carrying all the books down one flight of stairs, down three floors in the lift then along a corridor. Still have to carry them down the top stairs. But I am working on that . . .

Today we moved a load of engineering books in one trip on the (very well loaded) trolley that she admitted would have taken her half a day before. My policy is always, "Prepare a case, especially including any possible health and safety or money saving  factors, then ask with a smile." Usually works.

Nearly forgot, when we introduced some of the volunteer engineering team to the above mentioned books, some from the 1800s, we got the expected reactions, "Ohh, look at that . . . there's one of those on the dredger . . . my dad told me about those, they were still using them in the 1940s . . . oh, that's how it works! . . . etc". Being a technician I know that if you wind engineers up properly they got for hours.

Also introduced Margaret to the joys of voice searches on the Interweb. There was a parts list for a "Dinkum Digger Major", a title which amused both of us.  Speaking that name into Google found text and a video of a restored one. Basically a 1950s-60s tractor with back hoe and front shovel fitted - pick your favourite tractor, so long as it has a rear power take off or hydraulic pump.
« Last Edit: March 08, 2017, 09:39:01 PM by Gloucester »
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joeactor

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Re: Voluntary work.
« Reply #3 on: March 08, 2017, 08:39:46 PM »
 :thumbsup: :bravo: :thumbsup:

Father Bruno

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Re: Voluntary work.
« Reply #4 on: March 08, 2017, 08:57:01 PM »
:thumbsup: :bravo: :thumbsup:

Yes very cool O' Glowchester. Any chance we could see some pictures of the museum, and the stuff you're referring to?


Also, "Dinkum Digger Major"???? You Brits are weird :P
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Dave

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Re: Voluntary work.
« Reply #5 on: March 08, 2017, 09:28:29 PM »
:thumbsup: :bravo: :thumbsup:

Yes very cool O' Glowchester. Any chance we could see some pictures of the museum, and the stuff you're referring to?


Also, "Dinkum Digger Major"???? You Brits are weird :P

 "Dinkum", as in "fair dinkum, cobber" is Australian and "Digger" was a common  nickname of affection for antipodean soldiers in WW1. Thus I thought the machine originated there, but seems not:
Quote
Whitlock Brothers Limited was based at Great Yeldham in Essex and they were founded in early 1899. The firm built the Dinkum Digger under licence from the inventor a Scotsman, Robert Ewan, from Fife. The Dinkum was as backhoe attachment for Fordson and Ferguson tractors. Next was the Dinkum 60 and Dinkum Major built on a Fordson Major base unit. A similar solution being equally adopted by Bray, Weatherhill and several other British construction machinery makes for backhoe loaders and diggers they offered.
http://tractors.wikia.com/wiki/Whitlock_Brothers_Limited

Anyway, I get equally amused at some of your American phrases and uses of words!

Some pictures from the web:

The front of the museum, its one of the several 19thC grain warehouses still standing. The archive is the bit immediately under the right side of the roof. Acres of room on all those floors.

The 19thC dredger being slowly refurbed by volunteers and their female lead engineer. It can be steamed up, just! In the right distance is the Oliver Cromwell paddle ship that runs canal trips in the summer. He has a mate called Bodicea. Should have been renamed Sabrina for the Roman name of the nearby River Severn.

Just for a bonus, a pic ftom the "Tall Ships Festival" Google that + "Gloucester" for more.


« Last Edit: March 08, 2017, 09:47:12 PM by Gloucester »
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Dave

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Re: Voluntary work.
« Reply #6 on: March 08, 2017, 09:42:44 PM »
After a couple of years unable, or unwilling, to get amongst new people, do practical stuff, use your aptitudes for organising etc  this sort of thing really wakes one's brain up.

Kills your bloody feet though!
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Re: Voluntary work.
« Reply #7 on: March 09, 2017, 07:22:53 AM »
Excellent stuff Gloucester.
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Re: Voluntary work.
« Reply #8 on: March 09, 2017, 07:58:46 AM »
.... Google that + "Gloucester" for more.

I did that and it made my shutter release finger itch. I envy you. Wish I could be involved in such a meaningful project. Also congratulations on getting so physical again.

Father Bruno

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Re: Voluntary work.
« Reply #9 on: March 09, 2017, 08:03:36 PM »
Thanks for posting the pictures Glowchester. Quite an impressive museum you've got there, certainly larger than I had thought.

That dredger is something, I imagine it's quite loud when operating, and I can't imagine how dirty the work must of been, not to mention how hard.

I understand they had prisoners working on these at some time as laborers?

Anyway I found the following vintage issustration if anyone is interested in a bit more detail about these dredgers (Courtesy of Detroit local media)


Like the shot of the "tall ships", I try to imagine what it must have looked like back in the days when ships similar to these crowded the wharfs and harbors, must have been something.

Thanks again, that is very interesting, and good for you for getting back out there. Nothing better for mind and body than some good old fashioned volunteer work.


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Dave

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Re: Voluntary work.
« Reply #10 on: March 09, 2017, 08:33:21 PM »
Quote
Quite an impressive museum you've got there, certainly larger than I had thought.

First impressions aren't everything, Bru! The windows are actually very small (they were originally glassless shuttered ventilators) and close together so the builfing is not as big as it looks. The tea room and museum take up the first two floors, then admin on three, the rest empty except the archive at the top.

Also notice that the floors get lower as they go up, all to do with the loading on the forest of cast iron pillars that hold the floors up. The lower pillars, taking the weight of the upper pillars and the floors,  are the largest I think, then get slimmer as the load decreases with height. Wooden supports hold the roof from the top floor. The composite beams supporting the floors between the pillars are about 18" square. Loads of ironwork holding it all together.

The grain was bagged in the hold of the ship, craned up by hand winches (one still extant up in the archive space, above the storage floors), emptied out and spread over the floors and the bags sent back down for refilling - until someone installed grain elevators after WW1. There are a few hand cranked rail cranes still around, plus a steam one. There was an extensive and complex narrow gauge rail system.

Gloucester, Mass., has its own rich boat history, but in fishing mainly.

Will do a photo-feature on the Gloucester Docks sometime - maybe when there is a tall ship in the dry dock.
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