Make do and mend

I love that WWII expression.  It sums up our wonderful British resilience and determination to succeed against the prevailing odds.  It goes right against the throwaway and upgrade society in which we find ourselves at the present and it’s a sentiment I wholeheartedly support.  I’ve always been a make do and mend person.  I’m of that ration book, dig for victory generation of course so it is in-built into my value set, but over the years I have come to believe it in my heart as well.

Sitting in the lorry in a great park-up in Southsea, on my way to the Isle of Wight for the 40th Anniversary Steam Rally.  It’s the car park of the D-Day memorial museum and they are preparing for a very big do nest week to celebrate the start of the Great War.  Marquees and stages all around, a big fairground on the common and it’s obviously all set for a major event at the weekend with Dizzee Rascal, whoever she is, headlining.  (Showing my age now!) I know the carpark well because it’s home for me in December when I’m at the Victorian Christmas event at the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard.  I think it must have had a historic military purpose because there’s a high brick wall around the car park with gun portholes.  I have a good tv signal here and I arrived late last night, determined to relax for a few hours from a five hour journey before the ferry. 

I pulled out the TV – it’s on one of those tilt and swivel brackets.  The tv came off in my hands.  The bracket had broken and was not going to be possible to use it.  I made a mental note that I would try and replace it from one of the shops in Southsea.  Meanwhile no tellie!

In the morning when I took the bracket down to take it to try and replace it I discovered it could probably be repaired and although it would be a little more wobbly than it was designed to be at least it would still work! So I set to, mended it, added a couple of bungee loops for extra security and now I am making do with a slightly wobbly TV. So make do and mend it is!

24 hours later I’m in Haven Street on the Isle of Wight for the 40th Annual Island Steam Rally and the stage is set up and ready to go.  I am very fond of this event.  Of course I love them all but there’s something special about Haven Street and this Rally. Of course it’s the people. There’s a real warmth and closeness expressed by the people here for Mr Alexander. Setting up takes more than twice as long as I stop and catch up with the many friends I have made here over the years I have been coming.

They’re all make do and mend people at Haven Street.  The dedicated restoration of historic British steam and other vintage engines is make do and mend on a truly epic scale.

Not sure though whether I’ll be here for the event next year.  A while ago the organisers spoke of a three year contract with a strong possibility of a change after that and the three years are up. So maybe it is time for a change. I would be missed I’m sure and I would certainly miss being here. 

I’ve been trying to apply the make do and mend philosophy to this issue and I will certainly talk to the Powers That Be.  Make do and mend would probably say that I should argue strongly, as at Hollowell Steam Rally, to be always here, somewhere on the field.  As I told them this year as the relay truck towed me onto the field just before the event, the only way I wont be at Hollowell is if I’m in a box. And I don’t mean a magic one.

I know there would be many at Haven Street who would support me staying. Many would say the event wouldn’t be the same without Mr Alexander. Probably it would be better! Another part is saying that it is time to move on and for me to take the initiative and declare that he wont be on the bill next year.

I am really torn.  My instinct is saying go, my heart is saying argue for staying.  It’s now the middle of the night before the first day and I feel I have to announce if it’s time to move on in the shows tomorrow and tell people that it is my last year.

Make do and mend or fresh fields and pastures new? I wonder if you can guess what I’ve decided?

All the best from a road near you,

Mr Alexander

Mr Alexander