Turtle Time

I was servicing Maple Cottage recently when I saw someone had dropped a hat outside on the grass 10m in front of the kitchen window.  I really don’t need any more hats.  Closer inspection showed it to be a turtle apparently trying to dig a hole, but it froze and regarded me suspiciously as I had a look.  I have lived at Possum Valley for 42 years now and this is the first time I have ever seen a turtle. 

Unknown Turtle

I knew they should be here in the rainforest creeks and have seen pics from guests to confirm their presence (thanks Martin & Marco), but have never laid eyes on one till now.  I would like to tell you the species, but there are many and I’m no expert.  I did a bit of web searching and discovered that freshwater turtles go nest-building in November and also there is a web site TurtleSat to report sightings which I duly did and uploaded the pic here to aid identification.  So I may yet learn what species it is.  You can see some damage to the top of it’s shell.  That would have taken considerable force.  I also learned on TurtleSat that many species are under threat from habitat loss and foxes.  The foxes can find and completely consume all the eggs in the nest.  I have seen dingos, but never a fox at Possum Valley.  

I was also on the web recently to find spare parts for my gas stove at the homestead as the larger front burners were well …… burnt out.  Totally crumbling away so the lazy yellow flame burnt inefficiently and curled round the saucepan to burn the handle.  First thing I found was that I needed model numbers and serial numbers long and complicated enough to describe the position of every subatomic particle in the known universe, let alone a gas stove.  ‘Simpson Super-Nova’ wasn’t going to get me anywhere near my target.  There were any number of hits, but they all had only the small back burners in stock.  Of course the back burners are much cooler and less used, so why didn’t they keep the burners people would actually need?  Then I came across a site that helpfully added “model out of production”.  Ah! that explains it, I was chasing remnant spares already exhausted, so I had only two chances and one of those was ‘Buckley’s’.  I wasn’t impressed with the exorbitant prices asked for these scraps of metal anyway. 

new stove burners

So out to the workshop and my teetering mountains of junk to find a thick metal tube outside diameter 59mm to fit the stove aperture, that abruptly increased to about 70mm for the burner.  I turned over half a ton of assorted junk before finding a 2 inch BSP nipple.  For those of you not initiated into the arcane language of plumbers, a nipple is a pipe joiner with 2 male threads.  Writing this, I contemplate why plumbing has such gender specific jargon, and just how does two male threads make a nipple?  Or how I can, and have, gone into a hardware store asking for a ‘ball cock’.  “How big?”  Oh, 3/4 inch will be enough for me.  I think I would get an entirely different product in an adult shop.  So I chopped up the nipple with a hacksaw, and cut slots with a thin cut-off blade in an angle grinder, and Bob’s your uncle, I had 2 new burners.  Bodging, and world affairs generally, would be much enhanced if everyone had an uncle called Bob.  In the picture upper left is the nipple alongside the discarded bits (I had several nipples). Middle, the new burners, and bottom the crumbling remains  of the 20 year old burners.  It took me no money and less time than I spent searching the web to produce the required items.  Two obtained from 1 nipple.  They burn with neat blue efficient flames.  I will also have a little glow of satisfaction each time I light them up.  Which I will do right now to cook some fish and vegies , perhaps with a cheese/curry sauce.  See you later.


  1. Peter says:

    To add to the Mech Eng degree, you neglect to mention the Master’s in Bucolic Engineering, earned in countries you’ve visited where they’re good at fettling up the unfettlable.

  2. Ingrid says:

    Hi Paul.Thanks for the laugh! And good job with the stove top repairs.
    The burners look great. Hope the turtle will be ok. Poor fella.


  3. John Ogden says:

    This would be a source of enormous satisfaction to me. I sometimes do similar things, though usually with bits off wood or plastic as dealing with metal requires more than my old hack-saw. Plumbing is basically simple (First law: water doesn’t naturally flow uphill) but has been made complicated by a plethora of “fittings” which rarely fit the thing you want them to fit, and by a an in-group jargon which makes it difficult to find the stuff you want without appearing like a total idiot. Also – you allude to ball-cocks – those toilet things have been made incredibly complicated and require three hands to putt back together again. But I’ve always found plumbers to be good value amusing people. Hope you’ve not blown the place up.

    • Hi John, I know what you mean about the toilet ball cock thingy. I recently had a problem with a part not seating properly so leaking continuously into the bowl. I have an honours degree in mechanical engineering, but for the life of me I couldn’t figure out how all those floppy interconnected bits of plastic were supposed to work. I fiddled for a long time until it worked and I didn’t know what I had done to fix it, so just quickly put the lid back on before I stuffed it up again.

  4. You can fiber glass for her shell, if you think its going to cause a problem.

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