Repairing the Flagpole

Thursday June 24, 2010

Watching the video is a little unnerving.  However, Scott Morrison sent some of the shots he’d promised of the hatching gulls he discovered on the Cobblestone Beach Trail so he probably isn’t preparing any legal action.  According to Ethan when I spoke with him Wednesday morning when he came for us in the fog at 7, the two couples from Popham Campground were in good spirits on the way home and joked about the mishap.

I couldn’t stand the thought that we weren’t flying the flag when I awoke on Tuesday, especially since I’d hoped to enlist the help of Matthew, our young guest who will be spending the night on Friday with his mother and grandmother, fulfilling his wish through Make a Wish Foundation to stay in a lighthouse.  Was there some way I could make the repair?

After consulting Dave about the difficulty in lowering the pole, which he said takes a minimum of four people, I thought about the two PVC pipes I’d seen under the porch.  Maybe we could do a real fix during the upcoming work weekend but perhaps I could put up something temporary in the meantime.  They were each ten feet long.  Could I put them together?

There I stood in the middle of the Whistle House, which is an amazing shop space, flashing back to industrial arts class in junior high school.  How long ago was that?  But I’d built a loft bed in my apartment; I’d built sets in theater and worked a few construction jobs.  I should be able to come up with something, given what I had to work with.

I’ll cut to the chase and say that eventually I came up with a jury rig that is holding although it makes the flag look as though I’m flying it at three quarters.  Standing on top of the tallest A-framed ladder on the island I was not able to attach the PVC pipe high enough up to get the flag all the way to the top.  But the piece that fell off fit nicely over the PVC pipe and still housed the pulley and rope, and I found a foot long metal pipe that was just a little bigger in diameter for the joint where the two pipes came together.  A plastic insert held it on the ground but I had to figure out a way to strengthen the seam and keep it rigid.  First the concrete had to come out of the metal pipe.  Then I decided if I drilled through the ends of the metal pipe and the PVC and inserted a bolt, it should hold nicely.  For the longest time I tried several bits to no avail trying to drill through the metal until I realized I had the drill set for reverse.  Oops!  Changing direction makes all the difference and I’m proud to say the flag was again flying by the time our morning visitors were ready to leave.  Dave had this to write about the fix:  Hi Michael….great job! Let’s just leave it. We can hacksaw off the old part!  Kidding about the hacksaw. Dave

Tom and his two boys, Chase and Wyeth found me on a ladder with two pieces of PVC pipe on the ground and a wad of gray plastic tape after plan A had failed.  They hiked on the North Trail for a short time and returned to a tour of the lighthouse guided by France.  She said that young Wyeth had lots of stories to tell about their adventure and about the patterns he saw on the ground from thirty feet up.  The North Trail he described as The Evil Gull Territory where the gulls had tried to poop on them.  Another area where we mow around a rock was a camel back and other spots were birds and snakes.  He has a vivid imagination and we were indeed entertained.  He had a firm handshake and so did his big brother.

The day was productive in town.  France got her new glasses, I got a haircut and I found four doorknobs for the doors in the guest quarters that match the ones on the bedroom and closet doors in the Keepers’ Quarters.  They are the brown porcelain kind which are speckled.  The woman at the antique store had a name for them but I can’t remember it.  She was amazed I’d found four.  Four doors, four knobs; I thought I’d made a real find.  When I got back to the house I looked at the doors and said oops:  four doors, eight knobs.  There are other antique shops.  That will be a project for a rainy day.

Dave Cleaveland, the photographer who appeared before 5AM on Monday, sent some of his photos and they are very interesting.  I’m hoping he’ll give me permission to post some of them.  After he left I watched him motor around through the binoculars.  Later he sent an e-mail saying that the photos he’d taken with his telephoto lens from the water were good but there was someone on the porch watching him with a pair of…  Oops!  I thought he was going fishing.  Meanwhile, here are nests Scott photographed and e-mailed and two I took of the temporary flag pole.

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2 Responses to Repairing the Flagpole

  1. debbie says:

    wonderful job on the flag poles michael!

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