Now there is a school of thought that says everything seems bigger when your young but I am sure I remember coconuts being bigger.
I always enjoy a bit of blacksmithing, but don’t often get a chance. There is something very elemental about working with fire and hot steel, bashing away with a hammer to create what you want and then cooling it with a great hiss in a bucket of water. Great fun.
I remember seeing “A Blacksmith” at work at one of England’s Great House’s recreating tudor crafts. This particular smith would heat up a piece of steel until it was red hot, take it out of the fire, hold it up so everyone could see it, and then down on the anvil where he would tap it with his hammer sufficient to get the ringing anvil noise, brush it with a wire brush and the quench it in water with a great hiss, and then start all over again. Those watching thought he was marvellous, but all he did was heat up the steel and cool it down again albeit with some theatrics. Several years ago I used to do public demonstrations. I had a little 15 minute project which took a piece of plain steel and with a few heats and a bit of noise turned it onto a bird feeder hook, complete with a running commentary and several jokes. I did it so often I didn’t need to concentrate so it became an entertainment and jolly good it was if I say so myself. As part of the spiel I used to say I don’t make swords or knives so don’t bother asking, and you could guarantee that someone would come round afterwards and ask me to make a sword, and then there were those who wanted manacles and handcuffs……
I digress. I have a customer who sells fairground games http://www.fitzrobbie.co.uk and I had been asked to look at making the posts for a coconut shy. In blacksmithing terms a very simple project, heat up the end, form a ring, and then turn through 90 degrees to a flat top , all I need is a dimension for the coconut. Now I remember coconuts from when I was a lad, I wont pretend it was an everyday occurrence but I do remember getting several as I grew up. Whilst not exactly rugby ball size I am convinced they were considerably bigger than the sorry size specimens I was able to purchase from my local supermarket. I checked several emporiums and they all had the same size coconuts. Is it me or where they really bigger years ago.
Having made them we of course had to try it. If I was the coconut shy operator I would say that the supporting ring this was the ideal size, it presented the coconut well it was effectively impossible to knock them off. If I was a customer I would shout “foul”. Whose side am I on. My sense of fair play says I should make the rings smaller so the coconut is more likely to topple off, however my customer, the person who buys them from me is the shy operator who wants to control their costs, giving the appearance of giving coconuts away without actually doing it. Its a dilemma . Certainly my dearly beloved who managed to hit a coconut twice made her feelings very plain.