It’s been a relatively quiet couple of weeks since the big ‘Open Day’, and this last week I’ve especially felt a ‘writers block’ in trying to get various things done. It’s certainly not a lack of jobs to do- I have a several ideas for videos, photos, writing and a laundry-list of tasks both at the distillery and at home but I think because each one has been held up and delayed in some way or another I can’t focus on one single thing to crack on with. The big task that’s stopped me from going too mad has been clearing the new Workshop, and I must say I never thought I’d say it, but it’s almost there. Just compare it before:
And now, after!
I’m pretty damn proud of my work, and Seanair says he never thought he’d see the floor again! This is probably the tidiest it’s ever been in decades, after after I threw out the years of junk, it allowed me to preserve some of the beautiful older pieces in here:
The an interesting distinction I can make with junk. Certain rusty, broken things are a must go and, almost universally, if it’s plastic- its out (not because I hate plastic that much, more because any plastic tends to be cheap, brittle, broken or all three). With the back wall reserved for interesting relics and tools to save, I decided to start adapting the worktop by the door into a proper workspace for my own stuff:
Eventually, I hope to have all my tools and equipment setup in here, although I need to invest in some new storage boxes, shelving units and the like. It also doesn’t help that the wall is plaster and poured concrete, meaning putting in screws and rawlplugs is a bit of an effort! The best addition is definitely Seanair’s great old garage radio, pumping out some classic Cullin FM whenever the time calls for it.
This also gave me a great chance to do something I’ve wanted to do for a while now- save some engines. Since I was wee, I’ve had an obsession with British Seagull outboard engines. They’re these old and very retro-looking outboards that were popular in the UK from the 50s all the way up until the 90s. They were well overtaken by the likes of Yamaha and other more modern, more efficient Japanese offerings, but they have this charm and a reputation for being very ‘back to basic’ unbreakable (but not to say reliable) little engines. Seanair has two, one of which I swear I saw running when I was a child, and with the workshop clear I finally have a space to mount them and possibly work on bringing one back to life in the future:
Something I’d always wanted to do though is save another seagull that has been sitting down the shore found decades now. It was originally surrounded by a wooden shed, but as the shed rotted away and was eventually used as fuel for bonfires the old outboard has sat in the open, exposed to the wind and rain down by the jetty and slowly rusting away. It’s in a sorry state, but should the internals be still untouched there might be a few pieces I could salvage from it. So, I loaded it onto the wheelbarrow, hiked it back up from the jetty and sat it next to the other ‘gulls, ready for the day I ever get around to working on them!
There’s actually a pretty dedicated club for restoring and mainitning old seagulls, and parts and manuals are pretty easy to come by. What really gave me the idea was when I was up on Hoy on 2016 and visiting the amazing Scapa Flow Museum with Mary & Bamse. While exploring the place we stumbled accross a boat club and a whole section dedicated to the restoration of seagull engines! I wish I had gotten a chance to speak to the guys there, but if I ever need help I might have to hike the motors up there!
So yes that’s been the big achievement these past couple of weeks. I now have space to work on engines, the truck, sanding more casks and other art projects in the comfort of my own workspace. The next task will be making a short ramp so I can more easily get vehicles in, as well as putting up some more shelves and general storage space, but I have a workable space to call my own and that’s the important thing. And remember those beautiful old tea chests from a few weeks back? Well I have them back in the shop, and what’s more I turned one of them into something useful- a movable scrap bin!
So yes, very much looking forward to working both on and in this place this year. I already have a few ideas for things to fill it with, but for now I’m just going to enjoy the fact that it’s somewhat empty!