Monday, 27 July 2009

Young Sagtrouser's admission...

Just this weekend, Sunday to be precise, 'Meccano' Sagtrouser (erstwhile son of Mr Elias Sagtrouser, Conveyor of Building Requisites to the Hard-Working), was in church.

He was there for a special reason was 'Meccano'. (His name comes from a general appreciation of his - er - parts, and it is a well know fact that what can be done with his trunnion supported by a flange and a burst from a Magic Motor*, has brought some surprise and much comfort to many lady customers in the district). Yesterday, Sunday, was the day when a visiting Preacher was going to show off his ability to create religious history.

Meccano was duly called to the rail in the South Chapel, after several local converts were cured of various inflictions such as 'Gripes', and 'Scrotes'. The perspiring evangelist, Fr. Jabez Corncrake, placed his hands on the shoulders of our hero and asked in measured tones, what was required in this place of religion and belief.

Meccano replied, 'Father, I would like you to pray for my hearing'!

Now this came as a bit of a surprise from the assembled congregation, as nobody ever doubted Meccano's ability to hear a pint glass being filled at thirty paces, although he was usually oblivious to some of the afore-mentioned ladies when he was requested to stop...

Anyway, the Evangelist began to pray for Meccano's hearing, invoking his best voices, incantations etc, and eventually ended with a bellowing request to the powers bestowed on him by those on high, for Meccano's ears to be released from their deafness.

After a few moments, chest heaving, and with echoes of the final intonement still rattling around in the organ loft, Fr. Corncrake asked Meccano what his hearing was like now.

Meccano replied, 'I don't know Father, it's not until next Wednesday'!

* For those of an enquiring nature, consult the Meccano Book of Parts, available from all booksellers in 1947.

29 comments:

Thud said...

Driving past the meccano factory as a child always set of a deep acquisitive longing in me.

lilith said...

Hahahahaha

Philipa said...

As you haven't read my previous comment, Scrobs, I shall blog about it.

I didn't have a meccano set but a house building thingy with a base, metal rods and tiles to make the walls and a plastic roof. I had a garage with BP lorries making deliveries and I had a blue spacehopper. Twas brillig.

Don't know what you mean about the 'magic motor' - never encountered one of those and certainly never had a set of instructions.

Mermaid of Moorgate said...

WE have a meccano expert in the office. He is also often required to be on TV demonstrating how he can solve a rubix cube in 30 seconds. He recently spent over £4000 on a specific meccano part in blue and red variations, simply because it was 'rare'. I am sure he would love to meet anyone who enjoys meccano as much as he. Sadly, I was a Lego girl. I still have difficulty picking things up....

Scrobs... said...

Thudders - know what you mean...

In Mozleys in Hastings in the fifties, they had a board with every part displayed on it, and sold each piece 'draught' so to speak!

I had some marvellous gears, and also a damn great motor, all of which I haven't a clue where they went...

Bit late to ask parents now, I think it all went to the fete!

Scrobs... said...

Thanks Lils, the story is undoubtedly true...

Scrobs... said...

Pips, I have, I have, I have, I have done something about it now, sorry...

I remember that kit you're talking about. Didn't you slip the bricks over the vertical wires, and they formed a wall on which you fitted the roof, then waited until an uncle trod on everything and spoilt it?

The Magic Motor is a clockwork motor which just about drives a small set of wheels, or a propellor.

This is not to be confuesd with the one mentioned in the story, which is very rude...

I nearly killed myself on Daughts' spacehopper once, but I was slightly foxed at the time! Like the garage though, did it have a lift at the front?

Scrobs... said...

Afternoon Merms; he sounds like an enthusiast, and I can accept that he might well have to pay that much - some of those paint colours are nearly extinct...

One of my old boy neighbours has the whole damn set, including the wooden chest of drawers to keep the parts in, and when I see him again, he'll still say I can't have it.

I've lent him my book of rare cuttings on the village (he's just published a set of old pics on our patch, and we're in it...), so perhaps I'll do a trade!

Fat chance of winning that one, he used to run a department shop here, and did very well - nice guy too!

Quite understand about Lego. Mrs S and I actually bought some a few years back, (Daughts used to have some too) because it is fine therapy instead of knocking back the Corbieres when we're just sitting and nattering...

Philipa said...

Yup, that's the kit. And the garage did have a lift, with a winding handle. Did yours have a winding handle?

I won't ask about Sagtrouser.

rvi said...

In my esteemed and indeed venerable tool kit, I still have the original little spanner from my 1950s Meccano set. I seem to recall it also fitted exactly some nut or other on my bike, but like you I have no idea what happened to all the green and red bits.

Scrobs... said...

Pips, yes...the Younger Sagtrouser is best left out of these discussions, just don't mention 'wind-up' things to him, he is of volatile disposition...

As for your garage, well, mine had a lever which you depressed and shot the wooden panel up to the top deck.

With practice, you could get a Dinky Toy about three feet off the ground if you pressed the lever hard enough!

My garage had a frontage just like this

Scrobs... said...

Reevers, those little spanners are iconic...

Perfect for bikes too...

I found a wheel from my old set, still used as a steering wheel on an old Fordson tractor, left in Folks' roof long after I'd left home!

Said tractor may be worth a small fortune now, I'll check!

Philipa said...

That's very 1930's, Scrobs. Oh blimey, what's that style called? Can't think. Bertie Wooster comes to mind. Can't think why. Oh yes, his flat, metal windows and... what is that style called?

Scrobs... said...

Pips, it is indeed - 'Art Deco'?

It's the Rootes building in Maidstone, and is locally listed, so nobody can knock it over and build a supermarket there...

Built in the thirties methinks, but will check.

Scrobs... said...

Pips, flat metal windows are flush versions of ordinary standard sections; i.e. all the structure is kept inside, and the glass as near to the front as possible.

Often called ribbon glazing, or if going high as well, patent glazing.

Some nice new examples in the Dev. Secs. buildings just at the bottom of Victoria Street.

Scrobs... said...

Pips, historical note here...

"Today, the Maidstone showroom is a poignant reminder of Rootes at the height of its success in 1938, offering cars for ‘the masses and the millionaires’ and employing over 12,000 people.

The building’s designer was E Souster of Howard & Souster, a commercial London-based firm that specialised in large offices and factories, including plants for Rootes at Coventry, and General Motors and Vauxhall.

Such commissions were frequently practical and plain, but at Maidstone Souster went to town on a bold modern building that showed off the glamour of motoring and the pride of the firm in re-establishing its Kent roots.

The open-plan double-height flagship showrooms—hailed as ‘palatial’ by the local paper, frame a staggered tile tower, bearing the company’s name in huge letters. A petrol station sat at the corner, whilst the east wing was a garage workshop.

At night the tower letters and interior of the showroom were lit, so the upper storeys appeared to float on a glass box. Sadly, the last ‘Rootes’ name was removed from the building in 2007, but the white tiles continue to shine and the building still functions well as a Peugeot showroom.

The concept of a ‘British’ car industry is pretty nominal in the early twenty-first century. This makes it all the more important that we preserve the the Rootes legacy which brought speed, style and freedom of the roads to generations of British drivers."

electro-kevin said...

When you mentioned flange and magic motor in the same sentence I thought you were alluding to something out of an Anne Summers catalogue.

Scrobs... said...

I'm afraid that the devil grasped me in exactly the same way Elecs...

It was not one of my cleverer 'double entendres', but on days like this, any chance to spice up my blog is always welcomed...

Nomad said...

In 1975 I made a brief visit to the UK and hired a bright orange Avenger GLS from this very Rootes garage in readiness for an extended motoring holiday in France. I had had it two days when it just died on me on the M20, just a day before I was to set sail. No matter what I did, the car would not start, so I called the garage and they sent their tow truck out to tow the car back to Maidstone. It turned out that the problem was a blocked fuel line - stuffed full of bits of rust from inside the fuel tank which they had to replace with a new one before I could get on my way again (to a splendid trouble free tour around France). I was impressed with their service, plus they provided a substitute car to tide me over while the repairs were being done.

The Old Tarf said...

Oh, sprocket and gears. I wrenched my nuts too tight.

the word verification is chortle , how fitting.

Scrobs... said...

Nomad, I bought a Peugeot XSi there a few years ago.

It went like a rocket, and I was sorry to see it go after 175,000 miles!

All four of us went down in it to Switzerland on one of the hottest days on record! When we landed at Calais, it was 36 degrees, and went up to 42 for about two hundred miles...

I've got a picture of some of the most hideous insects I've ever seen, plastered all over the bonnet...

That Avenger was actually a great car, didn't the Hunter come afterwards?

Scrobs... said...

Tarfers, the cast mild steel ones did that, the later pressed ones (gold), were much better!

What colour were yours...

Nomad said...

Scrobs: the Hunter amd the early Avengers were contemporaneous. I know this because I had a 1973 automatic Avenger GL (the short stubby one) and my mate had a rather larger Hillman Hunter at the same time. I replaced my Avenger with the new longer more sporty 1978 GLS version after 4 years. In all I have had 3 cars made by Chrysler (a very sporty twin carb Sunbeam and the 2 Avengers) and I was most pleased with all of them. Since then I have had three Peugeots (106, 205 and 406) and all gave reliable and untroubled service.

I now drive something rather more elegant and sedate as my little reward to myself for a life time of grafting....

Philipa said...

Interesting stuff, Scrobs, thanks. Yes 'Art Deco' and that building reminds me of a hotel on an island I saw in an episode of Poirot I think, but the nearest I can get to that style in a hotel is the Midland Hotel in Morecombe. Designed in 1932 by Oliver Hill it's recently been restored, which has been tastefully done. There is a very nice example of the period behind my house which has been slaughtered by cheap and tasteless improvement. The worst of which is replacement plastic windows. However, that is not so bad as a building I've seen which I will revisit and post pictures if I can - ugh! (not art deco tho, diffrent style) I suppose those who live in it don't have to look at it. As for Art Deco then Dudley Zoo is rather sad.

The most amazing restoration i've seen a picture of is Blencowe Hall, Penrith. Blimey!

Mt Mum had a Hillman Minx and I always thought it was very posh and racy - it had reclining seats and was very quick. Perhpas that was just my mums driving tho.

Philipa said...

'plastic replacement windows', obviously.

Scrobs... said...

Pips, I agree with you about the sad condition of Dudley Zoo. It should be demolished as soon as possible because they are trying to prolong a period which was great for self-satisfied architects, but little use for the real world.

Any architect we employ who starts belching on about bringing anything more than commercial relity to our schemes is sent packing, and I'm not talking about putting up loads of supermarkets which are larger than your average village...

I'm afraid I cannot abide designers who just sit alongside the assumed pride of public servants and some business leaders who want much more than a knighthood - at someone else's expense.

Your mum's Hillman Minz sounded great though! We had one and it once did 103 mph somewhere near Bodiam...

Scrobs... said...

...but please don't get me started on plastic windows, it is Sunday after all...

Philipa said...

Scrobs I hope I'm not getting boring but I have to comment on your last comment: I feel real anger with the architects you describe. I suppose the concrete high-rise flats of the sixties were the classic example: some french twit and his thoughtless bullshit - and Mrs soandso can chat over the balcony to Mrs Whatsit, staring her in the face, what could be nicer? Gee I don't know - having a garden your children can play in instead of losing them down piss-stained concrete steps you have to haul your groceries up as the lift never works? Being able to avoid looking at Mrs Whatsit whom you can't stand? How about living in terraced housing which better accomodates the same/more people in the same area? (planning laws for light mean blocks were spaced out).

Some bright spark has done a similar thing recently in Manchester - packed in people in a very small space and sold the idea as a feature based on how chummy it will be. Don't these people realise that the thing we want most is privacy? It's control over our lives such that we are not forced to listen to the neighbours loud love making or 'Take That' collection, or screaming baby when we've just come off night shift. Having owned property I've realised the truth in the saying 'high fences make good neighbours'.

I noticed, when looking around for property, that the more modern the house the smaller the rooms and garden. So the commercial reality is that building businesses are packing ever more people in smaller and smaller spaces. This is why council houses are getting to be silly prices - they were big and well-built. And that public asset was sold off for next to nothing. By the Tories.

Scrobs... said...

Couldn't agree more with you on high rise council flats Pips, they were a disaster and designed by exactly the sort of self-serving individual you describe.

You've actually summed up my feelings on the whole issue too...