Friday, July 17, 2015

The Cunning Plan

But first folks, a word from our sponsor...

In our last exciting episode...

We discovered that there may be something more (or less) than we expected that would be needed to save Virginia Woolf, So the old lady was returned to her shelf to await her soon to arrive partner (10 mins and counting...) and out came...

The Remington!

Here she is folks, the Lady who got it all started.

Stumbled upon accidentally in the forgotten corner of a far-away market in the middle of nowhere (well, actually, I think it was Kingaroy), still adorned with the hastily stuck-on remnants of adventures of travels long past (but hopefully not forgotten), was... Remmie.

THE Lady Remington.

MY Lady Remington.

As with so many other fine ladies of her ilk, photos do not do her justice.

There she was, an old, forgotten, unwanted, white-out splotched, industrially grey, slightly grubby, working typewriter. I took one look at the cruise liner stickers on the battered box and the finger-worn key-tops it still dutifully protected inside and realised that this lady had been a traveller - a genuine, dyed-in-the-wool, tossed by the oceans, bygone era adventurer. The word, 'romantic' didn't quite cover it. Neither does the word, 'love' but it will have to do to describe the instant breath-taking, finger itching desire I felt to have this typewriter in my hands. 

Back then, I didn't really think about her very often. She adorned my shelf to remind me that, no matter what life threw at me, I, gosh-darnit, was a writer, and proud of it. 

She inspired me to keep putting pencil to paper and fingertip to laptop time and time again. She reminded me of the stories and words that were once written, and might be found again if she were able to remember them. She made me think of hours and years spent by thousands of people, back straight, eyes focused, fully committed, tapping into the long, dark, nightime hours to write their words, their novel, their poem, their lives, their stories. 

But for some reason, it had never occured to me that she, herself had stories to tell. She was a lady of letters, who wanted, like me, more than anything else...
to write. 

And so, after everything that has happened, I sat down with her one day and we wrote together.

It wasn't very long, or special or particularly interesting. It was just the words that came from me at the time and landed on the paper with her assistance. They were the words that asked to be written. The first ones in a very long time. 

It wasn't long after that that I was cruising through Youtube when I decided to see if anybody else could tell me anything about Lady Remington, just on a whim. That's how I fell into 'the typosphere' with you. I had no idea that it existed but what a wonderful realisation it was to find so many other souls out there in the impersonal electronic void-land who shared an interest in these lovely old writing machines. Are there ever! So many people writing and blogging and sharing and fiddling and collecting. And so many typewriters!

So, I tuned in, and watched, and learned, and discovered, and began to imagine The Lady Remington herself, renewed, rejuivenated, revitalised and shiny. And I knew, somehow, that I could do it.

For me, it was the beginning of a whole new story.


In which the writer remembers what it is like to really WRITE and finds out that screwdrivers do not need fully functioning right-hands to be operated efficiently...

The old lady was sluggish. As I pressed down on each key, I felt resistance and pressure and assumed it was because my fingers were trained and adapted to the feather-light touch of the electronic keyboard. And then I watched a similar typewriter in action after a thorough cleaning and realised that it wasn't that the old girl was heavy and ploddish in nature, she just needed to have her load lightened. 

And so, denatured alcohol on brush, I gently worked my way around every nook and crevice I could reach from the outside. And then, screwdriver in my left hand instead of my usual (but now unreliable) right hand, I removed the old girl's outer skin to reveal the delicate metal bones and joints beneath. 

And everything was going really well, until I tried to put the case back on. 

I was working gently and carefully, all too aware of the tendency of old metal to suddenly snap if stretched too far. I took my time to make sure that all the little protrudances were on the inside of the returning shell and then, just as I felt it was about to click into place I felt a little bit of resistence and so, I pushed back, just a little bit harder...

That's when I heard the 'sproing' sound and discovered (to my genuine deflation) that the space bar no longer worked. 

Not being one who gives up easily, I removed and re-placed the outside case, this time encountering none of the afore-felt resistance. Snapping the case back on and returning the small screws safely home I braced myself once more and pressed down on the spacebar and...


Perhaps removing the shell was a bad idea after all.

I lifted the old girl onto her back to get a better look at the workings and followed the action of the spacebar from connection to connection and there, nestled among the workings, I saw something that I felt wasn't the way it was supposed to be, two separated arms that seemed to need to connect to each other somehow. 

Hours of fiddling and gripping and pulling (and grumbling) later I realised that although I thought I had figured out what needed to be done, I had no idea how to do it.


In which the writer decides on a logical course of action and comes up with a 'cunning plan'.

Sadly, the writer pack up the machine and closed the cover-lid back over it before she felt she could do anymore damage, and returned to her computer screen to try to find a solution to her problem. It was then that Ebay presented a similar machine to her own for sale, all the way from Fort Wayne, Indiana in the United States of America. She didn't hesitate. A few hours later she was the proud owner of a second (but quite similar) Remington Rand Deluxe, this one with glass keytops, and a rather hefty freight bill to pay.

A few weeks later, Remingon number two arrived. But by that time the writer had the 'bug' and had purchased a number of other typewriters from around the world including her now greatly prized 3 Bank Underwood who she lovingly named, Virginia Woolf, which she had already begun the work of restoration upon. 

And so Remington number two, who had no case of its own sat perched atop the closed up case of the long suffering Lady Remingon herself and they waited, patiently, until today...

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