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Repair Café stories

Many of the repairs carried out by the Thirsk Repair Café team come with interesting  backstories. Here’s a selection from recent Repair Cafés.

Wooden jewellery box.. Gillian's uncle brought this old hardwood jewellery box back from Burma or India after the Second World War. The top is inlaid with bone or ivory. Repair Café expert Cliff thinks it may be made of arabacha wood. Thousands of boxes like this were made by local craftworkers and sold to British (and other) soldiers stationed in the country. We've ordered a vintage hasp lock to replace the missing part next time.

Mantle clock..After an expert diagnosis (overwound spring, pendulum issues and mechanism in need of cleaning and lubrication), Cliff performed some intricate adjustments to this old mantle  clock - made with a bakelite casing by Smiths Enfield (possibly 1950s) - to restore it to working condition. 

Child’s toy scooter. Ten-year old Dhalia’s dad brought this little pink toy scooter in for repair today. Dad explained that it needed repairing as Dhalia’s toy rabbit Fuzzface uses it to get to work. Apparently he/she works as a teacher! Dad, if you see this, we’d love to see a photo of Fuzzface back on his/her wheels! Fixed by repair team member Julian. 😊 

Almost antique food mixer. Juliet brought in this Kenwood Mini, bought with wedding present money over 40 years go for around £25. Since then it’s been used to make decades’ worth of meringues, whipped cream, sorbets and cakes. Recently, it’s been making a griding noise, but after cleaning and regreasing by Thirsk Repair Café Team member Gary, the mixer was spinning like new. 😊

Musical box. Pauline came all the way from Knaresborough to bring us an old wind-up musical box that she was given as a 40th birthday present over 30 years ago. A delicate job, but Thirsk Repair Café’s Doug managed to glue the figures and lamppost back on, so we hope the musical box will go on giving pleasure for years to come. 😊

Blue Vespa. Three-year old Alexander’s Vespa was a Christmas present just a year ago, but dad Luke explained that the recharger has stopped working. With the help of his trusty voltmeter, Thirsk Repair Team member Richard tracked down the problem to the slot where the recharger jack is inserted. As long as the jack is pushed down, the recharger now works, so Alexander can ride around the kitchen again at home. 😊

A pig’s ear! Judith is very attached to her salt and pepper pigs, but the salty porker recently met with an accident that led to the loss of an ear. Pig and ear were successfully reunited at today’s Repair Café by Doug.😊

Topsy's story. Joanne's doll Topsy was a third birthday present. Over the years she has travelled widely with Joanne - as far as Hong Kong and Singapore! Now 66, Topsy was showing her age, but after a bit of TLC from Julian and Mary at the Repair Café she can move her arms and legs again like a young 'un. Unfortunately, we couldn't restore her voice (she used to say "Mama, Mama"), but she has got a smart outfit with a matching bonnet!  

Willow pattern cloth. Janet embroidered this willow pattern cloth when she was 18 back in the 1950s after learning the skill from her mother. But it's been lying unfinished in a drawer for years. So Janet decided to bring it in to the Repair Café, where Mary provided the finishing touches. Looking as good as new!   

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