Repair Café Lights Things Up      

         by Paula Johanson

Zero Waste Sooke hosted a Repair Café on October 16 that went really well in our new location at Sooke Library! This appears to have been the LAMP Repair Café, as everybody helped with lamps.

Many thanks to Carol and Dave who greeted arrivals, set up coffee and homemade snacks, and kept contact info for anyone wanting to be part of future activities. Nineteen repairs were made, advice was offered on how to make a zipper work for a while longer, and many conversations took place.

A new arrival to Sooke introduced himself as Rick. All his tools are boxed up in his new garage, so he just came to say hi — but before long he was helping me with a blinky bike light. Of course he had a Swiss Army pocket knife with tweezers. Suddenly, Rick became one of our fixers! He made several repairs, borrowing tools from Jeremy while chatting knowledgeably about the Right to Repair movement.

We had a welcome visit from Susan McDonald who runs Repair Cafés in North Saanich, and another person visiting from California who had checked the Sooke Library’s website and brought her clock from home to take it to our Repair Café. These visitors came because they were planning TWO activities for their trips and had found word of our Repair Café on the Library’s website; others came for the first time after seeing the terrific poster made by Library worker April Ripley.

Bernie worked on at least two electric kettles, and some lamps. The final repair he made was to a toaster that had to have its lever held down for it to toast bread. The owner waited her turn, polishing the toaster and then explained to Bernie how the lever just wouldn’t stay down on its own.

“Bad toaster!” said Bernie, and he smacked it. “Bad toaster!”

And then the toaster worked properly.

The toaster owner was mystified and delighted.

“If it gives you any more trouble, just bring it around again,” said Bernie.

Meanwhile, our final repair was taking place: it was a vacuum cleaner. Before the vacuum reached Jeremy, I’d already quizzed the owner and agreed the problem wasn’t any of the things she or I knew how to fix; it was a switch. This took half an hour to successfully fix!

All in all, a wonderful success, with new people planning to come to the Zero Waste Sooke meeting on Thursday Nov 17 at 7pm at the Library.

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