You may – or may not – have noticed that the blog has been rather quiet over the last week or so. It’s not that I’ve been away, suffered paralysing writer’s block, or couldn’t be bothered – I’ve actually been doing something I should probably do more often: Almost every evening for the past week, I’ve removed myself from the butt-shaped depression in my fake leather chair, walked away from the computer screen, and out into the summer sun, to do ‘Other Things’!
OK, maybe not scary, but certainly a bit of a change from my usual activities which invariably involve the use of a mouse, keyboard and hours gazing at a monitor with a glazed expression and the odd glass of refeshing beverage.
What I’ve been up to is a little project that I’ve managed to put off for the last year or so, but now the wilderness outside my back door is starting – at last – to look something like a garden, rather than somewhere you’d expect to find David Attenborough and a BBC film crew doing a documentary on endangered wilderness species, my attention turned to the pile of aluminium that has spent the last 12 months generally getting in the way and being a remarkably efficient trip hazard. This pile of what was essentially scrap metal was the mortal remains of a greenhouse that a helpful friend offloaded on to me with the intention that I might one day ressurect it and give it a new lease of life.
I have indeed, on numerous occasions, picked up various pieces of dead greenhouse, toyed with the idea of having a go, then given up. The whole thing resembled a Meccano set you might come across at a jumble sale – a random pile of metal, with no instructions as to how any of it might fit together; a number of clearly missing parts; and – thanks to a rather unsympathetic and enthusiastic dismantling team – some rather nasty looking, terminally broken bits. Now, I’m never one to take the easy road, but if things weren’t going to be challenging enough, the space into which the greenhouse would be going required that the end result would need to be about a third shorter than its original size… Fun huh? But I’m not one to balk at a challenge, although maybe on this occasion, I should have considered throwing in the towel even before I started.
So this past week, every evening, I’ve been labouring away in the unseasonably tropical heat with hacksaws, hammers, spanners and cursing. It’s been an interesting time, especially towards the end when I realised that the pile of glass that came with it, comprised of much which was broken, missing or simply the wrong size and shape for what I needed to do with it. So I’ve also had to teach myself how to cut and shape glass! However, it’s all been worthwhile, and the first plants have gone into their new home today, reposing happily on the staging I built from all the leftover pieces.
I wouldn’t say that it’s not a project I wouldn’t have had a bash at previously and would have succeeded at – coming from a background, (although quite some time ago now), in technical stage craft, I’m well-used to coming up with solutions to solve novel and tricky puzzles, but it’s been a while and I thought I was out of practice. However, it seems that SL has stepped into the breach to assist with keeping my hand in. Many a time I’ve found myself having to innovate inworld to make up for the deficiencies of the building tools, environment and materials I have to hand. Often, I’ve experimented to find the most efficient and effective way of modelling prims to fit a specific purpose, frequently in ways they were never intended to be used or utilised. And, of course – inevitably – I’ve had to work within the constraints of limited and finite resources, again requiring lateral thinking and some creative problem solving. I’ve also had to teach myself new skills when I’ve had no other option other than to knuckle down and learn how to do something in order to achieve the end result I want.
These are all skills that tend to get rusty without practice, and unless we use them regularly, we do lose our capacity to problem-solve and think outside the box. So it’s been a rather pleasant realisation that I’ve come to this week to find that some of the challenges I’ve faced inworld have ensured the continued resilience of that particular skillset. It’s certainly paid dividends in the real world, evidenced by the rather impressive, custom-designed greenhouse now gracing my garden, made from the broken bones of of a predecessor that, by all accounts, should never have seen the light of day again.
I’m very happy with the results.
And, now it’s finished, maybe I can get back to some blogging, before I forget how to do that!
Once upon a time there was a garden on a high hill
Green and blossomin’ round against the sea
And there the sun came and the rain pourin’ down
Garden grew and flourished and splattered bits of color on the ground
The Byrds – Mind Gardens