Working in space


A few days ago I put some bird spikes on the aerial at the back of the house. I felt a bit guilty as the starlings had just fledged and it seemed to be a favourite spot of theirs but the mess below was too much to put up with. Our middle-class sensibilities have been sorely tested. I must say that there have been many more starlings this year. It is lovely to see them and I guess this might be due to the lock down.

The good news, for the starlings at least, is that the spikes have not worked and they show the same enthusiasm for sitting on the aerial as they did before.

It was hard work though. I had to stand at the top of a ladder and, while clinging on with my right hand, work away with my left. I have released two things. Firstly I am not good at heights, really I knew this already, and secondly, it is very hard to fix a cable tie with one hand, especially your left one.

There I was then, at the top of my ladder, with a spanner in my hand when my mind wandered to outer space. It often does, especially when I am doing some tricky DIY. I imagine what it would be like to tray and do the job in space. What would happen if I dropped the spanner (nothing much really) or it slipped and I ripped my spacesuit on some jagged metal (I would probably die). More importantly what would I do if I had brought the wrong spanner, a 12mm instead of a 13mm. I could not go back to get it and I had  to make do with what I had brought with me. 

What I had in my tool belt was it and my mental metaphor was a good reminder to plan ahead. When starting a job, get everything you need to hand. Imagine you are on a trip to the moon and work through what you are going to do and what could go wrong in advance.

Having said that, I don’t think there are starlings in space.

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