I work on my harmonicas during the wee small hours, when it is peaceful, quiet , and I can hear myself think, but it doesn't always work out that way. Example.
Go to replace four inside valves, strip the harmonica keeping things tidy, screws collected and placed inside upturned covers, tools, valves and glue at hand, the valves have bunched together in their wee self-seal bag, dump them all out go to pull out a long one and about a dozen go flying up in air like confetti, but eventually recover from unexpected corners, butter dishes etc., well it is the kitchen table i'm using. Second minor accident, I go to blow my nose with a square of paper kitchen towel that was handy on the table, oh no, it was the same one used for wiping excess Super glue gel, now I have Super glue on my nose, panic into the bathroom scrubbing scraping washing, mouthwash worked best but I am left with a raw red beak.
Test the valves , before fully assembling, sound good but they always do at this stage, it is only when fully assembled one is found to be still playing up. Anyway now to prove it , go to assemble mouthpiece... ?... no bumpers... where the heck ? Squint at every square inch of table, feel every millimeter... no bumpers, on the floor now with a torch, head on ceramic tiles peering across its beam for anything roughly 4 by 4 clear millimeters, aha find a valve, a biscuit crumb gives me false hope, but nothing. Maybe they bounced towards the cooker, hands on knees now over by the cooker, a spider comes out to greet me, ' have you spotted two bumpers ' I ask , spider pauses in mid crawl and replies ' spiders don't speak you eejit.'
Now with bad temper I decide to get my own back, get the vacuum cleaner out and if those bumpers are down there, they will be sucked from existence serves them right. But the head of the vacuum cleaner connects with a three quarter full bottle of red wine stuck in a corner, down it goes splits in half and spews dark red fluid under the kitchen table. The vacuum gets thrown into its cupboard, bucket and mop come out , what a mess, clean floor and wipe down splashed chair and table legs, jings I am exhausted and it is nearly three in the morning. Open the windows to help dry the floor and a cloud of moths fly in, a few the size of sparrows, I find these massive moths with huge eyes a bit unnerving, surely they must be blood suckers to attain that size ? Things settle down a bit , sit down back at the job, take my crocks off sweaty feet, only to get sodden socks of the still wet kitchen floor, I give in.
So go to loosely screw mouthpiece down ready to make new bumpers and finish tomorrow..... WHAT !! ??............I find the two bumpers on the mouthpiece screws, I shoved them up the screws so as not to lose them, it's a good tip.
"THE BOXING DAY MEAL"
by Charter member, Jimmy Halfnote
The day after Christmas is traditionally my turn to cook the meal, and so it was. My speciality is a spicy aromatic curry, made from the remainder of the Christmas day fowl, a foul curry if you like. To start , a bottle of good Chardonnay is opened, and a large glass filled, this is a 3 Euro bottle, none of your cheap stuff, a few good sips ( slugs) just to make sure it is not corked, well you never know with these screw tops.
Now meat from the bone is stripped from the fowl, in this case a humble corn fed chicken, sprinkle with salt, pepper, crumbled cinnamon. Take another slug of the wine, light a cigarette. Chop up a large onion and two large cloves of garlic, oops some cigarette ash just fell in, heat large saucepan containing a liberal amount of virgin olive oil, gently now , olive oil has a low burning temperature, pop in the onions and garlic,cook till golden.Now i like to wash up as i go along, so in one hand is a bottle of wine ( for a further ingredient), in the other hand is a bottle of Fairy washing up liquid, oopsy, just dribbled a spot of washing up liquid into the pan instead of wine, no one will notice, in the panic more cigarette ash joined the onions, adds to the flavour. Pour another glass of wine, the first one disappeared on me.
Throw the chicken in to join onions and garlic, add some chilli pepper seeds, chopped up red and green peppers, and cook another five minutes, take another slug of wine, take the chicken stock ( already prepared), add to the pan with cardomman pods , tumeric , a sprinkle of curry powder, and anything else that comes to your now addled brain. Cook very gently for another 30 minutes, adding cream , half a sliced up banana,and the few drops of wine left in the bottle.
Now turn the heat off, and retire to bed for a few hours. Get up , cook the bismati rice, heat up the foul curry, open a bottle of wine and enjoy ! Hope you guys appreciate me giving out this special recipe, it has taken many years to perfect, excuse me; I have to visit the small room.
"Spanish Bicycle Paths"
by Charter member, Jimmy Halfnote
This happened a few years back on a visit to Spain. Our village in Spain is a few miles from the nearest town, there is a cycle path through the orange groves that was once a railway track, straight into the centre of the town, it is a lovely ride, orange groves either side , occasional tall Poplar trees, swaying tall feathered rushes and Pampas grass, the Med' one side mountains the other. One late afternoon my wife suggested taking the few miles cycle ride into town, she fancied a Chinese meal, so off we set, beautiful afternoon, birds singing along the path, the few other cyclists we met looked just as happy.
On reaching the town a bit of dawdling, then to the Chinese Restaurant at about 6.30 p.m. The food was buffet style , eat as much as you like of whatever you fancied, bottle of wine included all for 7 Euros each ! ( We have expensive tastes ). Full as a puggy and content after a few finishing free liqueurs, i stepped outside for a smoke, ah life was good i contemplated, smiled winkingly at every passer by, each one a friend for the moment. Then ... something awful dawned...... it was night time and dark , the cycle path was unlit countryside and would be black as the ace of spades, we had no bicycle lights fitted !
Went back inside '' Audrey we have a problem, look outside, '' gradually it dawned on her also, '' What will we do, i am not getting up on that cycle path in the pitch black.'' Then i remembered there was a 'Cheapie' Chinese anything for a Euro shop round the corner, it might still be open, they might sell bicycle lights, we scampered round. It was open, and wonder of wonders the did have bicycle lights, front and back i will have you know, the cheapest looking things you could imagine, i bought two sets of everything plus batteries, and fixed front and back lamps on each bike ( it was a fiddle and was getting later and later). I had to laugh at the rear red lights, they blinked on and off as on a Christmas tree, Audrey was not amused, temper was rising. '' You wouldn't see the hands in front of your face, with those bloody stupid little lights'' she stormed. I've thought it out i said, let's go before it gets any later, but i knew she wasn't convinced ( like me).
The start of the cycle path wasn't too bad, street lights still giving a glow, but a few hundred yards on, it was black and eerie, bats flittering, crickets chirruping, tall rushes quietly swishing, the Chinese cycle lamps were as good as candles, but i got Audrey to ride her front wheel almost against my back one, and focus her light on it, i lied to her that i could see enough up ahead. The path seemed to get more sinister the longer we slowly pedaled, the crickets stopped chirping , it became strangely silent, just then a voice boomed from the blackness to our right '' Buenos Noches '' ..............!!!? Audrey just behind me screamed the most vicious string of Irish curses, swear words and plagues on the world, then shot past me at an astonishing speed, within a few seconds she had vanished way up ahead of me, all i could see in the distance was a wee red light blinking fainter and fainter. As far as she was concerned there was a Bandido in the long grass.
I eventually caught her up ( nearly home), i got a string of abuse this time, '' Thought you couldn't see by those pathetic Chinese lights '' i cracked, '' Don't you dare speak to me for a week McPherson'' came the reply . Such is love.
Would you believe, two years later and those same 2 Euro Chinese lights, are still working ? On the same batteries !