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Tuesday
Sep182018

Let it Rain!

In a Melbourne spring, one must be prepared for rain at all times. Melburnians are famous for vigilantly checking the weather forecast no matter what the season, and many of us keep a tiny folding umbrella in our totes, or in our drawers at work against sudden need. I am no exception to this rule, and I own a formidable array of vintage umbrellas in different colours so that I can match my outfits.

This vintage 60s frilled umbrella is one of my favourites. I have owned it for a long time. I love vintage brollies for they are generally sturdier than their modern counterparts because their skeletons have more ribs, made from steel unlike the flimsy aluminium contraptions manufactured today. They are therefore much stronger in a high wind. However, mishaps can still occur, and last year they did.

I felt a bit dreadful about this, like a vintage murderer …

First of all, I lost the tip of one spoke, which meant that the covering pulled away. There are no umbrella repairers these days, so I came up with my own solution: find another vintage umbrella in an op shop and cannibalise it for parts! I felt a bit dreadful about this, like a vintage murderer, but I managed to find one – in a vivacious shade of lime green – that was already broken: it was unable to be opened. This made me feel better about hacking off its limbs. (It annoyed me that the op shop was still charging $5 for it, the same price as a functional umbrella, but I supposed it possessed, after all, what I required.)

Naturally, while I was doing this photoshoot and after amputating the silver tips, the umbrella suddenly operated normally! Typical. However, it must have been aggravating for the original owner if the umbrella was randomly becoming stuck – most inconvenient at the sudden onset of a shower. But I had what I needed and repaired the blue brolly, squirreling the remaining tips away.

… some time later another freak accident tragically occurred.

After all these misadventures, some time later another freak accident tragically occurred. One day, when I was walking along the street with the blue umbrella dangling from my wrist by its tassel, an aforementioned high wind suddenly gusted along and bizarrely caught the umbrella against my own limbs and snapped off the handle! Who would even expect such a thing to happen? I was quite indignant.

Fortunately I work at a theatre that has a Props department, and I paid a visit to its manager. He is an amiable man, and was happy to be of assistance. A few days later, my umbrella appeared on my desk, and when I saw him, he told me he had reinforced the shaft with a length of steel, and then had glued the plastic handle back on. What a miracle worker! He warned me to treat it gently henceforth, but it certainly seems very sturdy again – not that I plan a bout of play sword-fighting or anything anytime soon.

Hurrah! LET IT RAIN.

Photos: March 2017, September 2018

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