Handy Allen

Let me tell you something about my sidekick, Allen. He’s the kind of man you can have a love/hate relationship with if he happens to be your next door neighbor.

He’s amazingly handy — the kind of man who’s always pottering around his house and yard taking care of things — cleaning out gutters; flushing and filling the car’s radiator; sealing the driveway — you know the routine. And he’s into preemptive maintenance — such as replacing the drive belt on the tumble dryer BEFORE it actually breaks — and saving the old one for use as an emergency spare — which he will invariably install in YOUR tumble dryer when the belt breaks on a day your wife has a ton of laundry to dry. As much you as you like him for fixing your stuff — you end up resenting him after you’ve had to listen to your wife going on about what a blessing it is to have a real handy man living next door. Tell me you know how that feels!

Well, with wives out of the picture down here at the bottom of the world, I’m happy to let Allen be as handy as he wants! We don’t have a tumble dryer, and we probably don’t need one as it’s so bloody windy most of the time, that clothes dry well outside as long as its not raining. Allen has rigged up a washing line on which we can hang out clothes. We didn’t think to bring clothes pins, but he happened to come across a box of office stuff that had been left behind in the storage building — and in there were a few dozen of those large clips that you use to hold together stacks of paper. They make great clothes pins.

In the storage building is also a mangle-like contraption that flattens empty cans so that they are easier to store and take up less space. It’s operated by hand and is hard to get moving, but Allen spent a morning playing with it and lubricating moving parts so that it operates much more smoothly. Then he enjoyed flattening cans and cartons for a while.

We’ve been here just three weeks, but I reckon he’s already tightened every hose clamp to be found! I think I brought the right person with me!

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