Dave Moulton

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« The Annoyance Factor | Main | Building Bridges »

My to do list

My former father-in-law was a coal miner all his life. I use the word former because he was the father of my ex-wife and he has been dead a number of years. His name was Bill, he was a wonderful man.

After he retired he more or less spent his whole time gardening; he grew flowers and vegetables that he would enter into competitions and win prizes. He once told me after his retirement, “I don’t know how I found time to go down’t pit.”

The “Pit” was of course the coal mine, and to explain the nuances of his North Nottingham/Yorkshire accent, the word “the” is dispensed with; the “t” gets added to the end of the word preceding “the.”

So it is “Down’t Pit,” rather than “Down the pit.” Incidentally if a word following “the” starts with a vowel, the “th” is added to that word; as in, “When I was in th’army.” Or if a girl is pregnant, she has, “A bun in th’oven.”

Today I know exactly what Bill meant; I don’t know how I ever found time to build bicycle frames. My “To do” list just gets longer and longer. I sometimes feel overwhelmed.

There is writing on this blog, which I am doing right now, but in 2 or 3 days I will be searching for something new to write about.

Having blog is like having a child, conceiving it is the easy part, but as it grows the hungry little bastard needs constant feeding. If I don’t feed it at least twice a week it will fade and die. However, on the upside, like a child it does make me proud once in a while.

My website “Prodigal Child.net” has broken links, but fixing them is not easy. The site is nine years old and was built with MicroSoft Front Page software, which is pretty much obsolete now. It is like a car that has been fixed and patched up so many times that the only real fix is a replacement.

I am doing just that, building a new website, but it is a monumental time consuming task. I work on it a little at a time when I can. My other Bike Registry site needs constant updating, and I need to add pictures of owner’s bikes, otherwise it will be nothing more than a boring list of bike serial numbers.

Another project that I keep telling people will happen soon is the reproduction of decals for my frames. I have art work completed but now have to purchase materials and equipment to make it happen. Oh, and of course not forgetting, find the time to do it.


(Above.) is a music box I made 50 years ago in 1961. It was a Christmas gift for my mother, built with spent matchsticks; I took me a year to build and I got it back after my mother died almost 30 years ago. Now I see this as a family heirloom that I will one day pass on to my daughters.

The musical movement inside is broken and I am in the process of replacing it; not easy because it will involve tearing it apart, and rebuilding part of it.

Of course all these projects are mainly just important to me; no one is forcing me to do anything. But what is the alternative; give up and do nothing?

I am reminded of a story of an old craftsman carving a large pair of oak doors. The design was extremely intricate, with scrolls, oak leaves and a coat of arms with a motto in Latin.

Someone asked him, “How do you know when it’s finished?” His reply, “It’s never finished, I just keep working on it 'til they come and take it away from me.”

I have come to realize I will always have a “To do” list, and conventional wisdom dictates that I should prioritize and finish one project before starting another. But all these projects are important, and each is dependent on the other.

Without the blog and the registry there would be less interest in the bikes I have built. Without that interest there would be no need for replacement decals. Then there is finding time to ride my own bike.

Here I do prioritize, because if I don’t maintain my own health and fitness I will not have the ability or the energy to do everything else. 

At the back of my mind is always the nagging thought that one day it will be simply taken away from me.


Reader Comments (6)

My Grandfather was also a coal miner in Yorkshire- Barnsley to be precise- who became a gardener in his retirement, and he too possessed that wonderful accent. My mother has lost hers from 25 years of living in the US, but she can turn it on whenever she wants and I love it! I feel like you don't hear or hear of Northern accents too often here so I'm always happy to be reminded of that bit of my heritage!

June 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPeter Safonov

My Great-Grandfather Old Charlie Comstock was a hard-rock miner in North Wales, I think, before he somehow found his way to Kentucky.

Myself, after years of working in fine homes, penthouses, churches and restaurants turning out the best woodwork I could I find myself in a Trailer Park in Florida, tearing apart decrepit old mobile homes and putting them back together, always trying to make them better than they were before they came under my care...I am finished when some new person moves in, and they take my keys away. And yeah, they are never finished. But if I work quickly and without mistakes, things get done. Today was a good post, Dave. Thanks TJC

June 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTim Joe Comstock

nice post today. Thanks for analogies and accents. Stay healthy and keep the child growing.

I am impressed that you are able to maintain web sites at 75 yrs old (guessing, so sorry if not quite right). I came across a reference recently for a spoke length, gear chart and frame geometry program that was on a disk for Apple Ile, IIc, or IBM compatable computers. Maybe that's when you started using a personal computer; maybe not.

June 8, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterjeff simmons

Great post Dave,

I have been refurbishing road bikes for a Veteran's hospital. I spent probably 20 hours getting a midrange velo going again so some kid will make it through college.

But it's been worth the toil. I notice more and more drop- bars on the road here. I also found a 1973 Raleigh Super Course frame at a co-op in the ghetto. Score.

Had been bombed with blue Krylon paint. I stripped that off with Citric paint remover (Stripping Gel, home Depot, great stuff )

I rode with a guy who is 73 about a month ago, the guy hauls ass, has JT Weigel bikes. He looks like a skinny version of Charleton Heston.

Consider meeting Ray La Hood, I think you guys would hit it off.

June 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRobert Graves

Great words Dave. I am far from retirement but it is always good to know what others have found to be a blessing in their time! Enjoy Sir!

June 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBill

Well I hope you ride your bike because it's fun first and healthy second...

June 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJenni

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