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The last split straw
Posted by Tony on 18th December 2011 at 15:46:23
Occupiers and others may be familiar with those modern curved, segmented tent poles which are held together by an elastic core. Last summer, one segment split longitudinally. The tent originally came with a spare segment, so I decided I should try to make use of it. First call after it had been up more than a week in the backyard to dry out after our big mid January wet, was to the prominent specialty camping store where I had bought it. They could not offer to repair it for me, sending me away with a length of fishing line to use to pull it through myself.

Having grown up with a plumbing business operating out of our backyard which sometimes enticed me to play with anything from rocketry to water sculptures, I'm far from ignorant of work with mechanical tools, though it is something I have long avoided practicing unnecessarily. So actually fixing the pole was easy to put off, especially while for a fair chunk of the year I had been looking at superseding a vehicle I'm hardly driving (which was originally well justified for its fuel economy) with some kind of camper, still a good plan but unavoidably deferred another year.

My absolute last minute was supposed to be the second last weekend before heading down the coast. The first hurried attempt had me working from the wrong end, with the line snapping not far short of target and leaving me with six unthreaded segments rather than the three I'd started with. That gave me one more excuse for an overdue visit to my brother who treats knots seriously, but in the finish I never got close to hitching some heavier fishing line I'd picked up in the interim to the elastic cord, rather persisting with the sewing needles I'd finally conceded to acquire after finding no sign of any of the many both my late mother and I must have stashed somewhere.

So it took until after the middle of the next week to resume my attempt, still competing with all those seasonal demands on one's time, and until a few hours ago to reach the point where it had to given first priority. Threading line into the male ends of most segments is much easier than threading it through the eye of a needle, but the end segment has a sleeve at both ends, which the curvature of fishing line makes it impossible to feed into the central smaller hole. Looking for inspiration in a junk drawer, I spotted a plastic drinking straw and chopping off 40% quickly solved problem number one.

Having again come unstuck trying to do the whole six segments in one pass, gaining just one in the process, I finally conceded pulling through one at a time might be a sensible move. While the line was threaded into the end of the cord to try to keep them well enough aligned to pull through, after one early success, the end of the cord kept getting stuck. With the line running through all four remaining segments a deterrent to starting over, I risked chopping off a shorter length of drinking straw and split it end to end. The split straw could then be slipped over the end of the cord and lined up by touch/guesstimate with the sleeved hole of each new segment so the line could pull the cord through, albeit with more and more help from tying off sufficient loose cord before starting to thread.

With that now behind me, I don't plan to let anything else get in the way of driving out of here early enough Friday to get the tent up while it is light for my 19 nights (and days between) of annual mind clearing.

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The last split straw - Tony 15:46:23 18-Dec-11
Re: The last split straw - DebK 15:31:50 04-Jan-12
Just home a day early - Tony 00:30:33 11-Jan-12
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