And here I’m pouring the melted lead into the moulds.
In all my years of shaving, there’s one aftershave which I particularly like. Safari by Ralph Loren. Very apt name too; on my previous visit to South Africa we visited one private game farm which had a tame young giraffe. This giraffe took a particular liking to me, so much so that I had to retreat to the safety of the bungalow whenever it was around.
But I digress. I ran out of aftershave and went to get some more. No luck. Every department store I visited had none in stock. Even looking on the Internet did not yield results; apart from a couple of half-empty bottles up for auction on Ebay. I eventually went on to Ralph Loren’s main website. Nope, not even available on there.
So I emailed their customer services asking them why they had stopped manufacturing it. I received a fairly prompt reply saying they still stocked it – all I had to do was visit one of their main stores (link to website containing their addresses provided).
So today I went into the Mayfair shop at No. 1 New Bond Street. After wandering around the shop for a bit I asked one of the senior sales staff. “Oooh, no, sir. We haven’t stocked that for ages. I think it’s been discontinued. Try a department store.”
Back at my desk I emailed Ralph Loren customer services, pointing out that either they had been misinformed, or the salesman’s information was incorrect. I asked if there was any way I could order the stuff from one of their stores in the States as I can’t buy it in this country and it’s not available from their website. Will have to see if they respond.
I may have to put a post on a US forum to which I belong asking if someone would buy it for me and post it over…
Customer Services did respond. No, it’s not discontinued. Please contact our Madison Avenue store in New York and they’ll be able to help.
So I called both stores in New York. Both of them informed me that they no longer manufactured this aftershave. Oh well, I’ll just have to find something else.
Growing up in Namibia (South West Africa as it was then), I did quite a bit of fishing. Every school holidays we’d head to the Skeleton Coast for a week. Aptly named; there were always skeletons on the beach. Seals, whales… by the way, there’s nothing quite like the whiff of a dead seal to make you hurriedly change from your preferred fishing spot.
We always caught quite a few fish – either what my Dad called “Salmon” (generic name Kabeljou, Argyrosomus coronus) or Steenbras (Lithognathus lithognathus). The occasional Galjoen (Coracinus capensis) made an appearance on the menu as well.
So I thought it was time I started fishing again. An exploratory trip to Selsey Bill revealed that I needed a better rod (the one I have is more suited to freshwater fishing) as well as more lead weights or sinkers. I attempted to mail-order a rod from www.aandifishingtackle.co.uk but after waiting nearly a month I cancelled the order. Their customer service leaves much to be desired. If you are thinking about buying from these people, don’t.
I eventually successfully ordered a new rod from www.fishingtackle.co.za – at least their customer service was excellent (and the rod worked out cheaper even with the postage! The sinkers proved to be a bit more difficult. I can’t find my favourite type anywhere. They’re sort of pear-shaped but with a flat bottom; ideal for fishing where there is a load of weed. So I’ll just have to make my own!
After a bit of research (I couldn’t find a ready-made mould either) I came across the website www.tomps.com and a quick email to them confirmed that for pouring lead, their high temperature RTV Silicone would do the job. I’ve just finished casting the first moulds; I’m making 4 oz and 5 oz sinkers, the 5 oz for me and the 4 oz for the Mrs! (she’s keen on fishing as well, one of the reasons I married her!)
The moulds have just set, and I’m now tempering the silicone by baking it in the oven. An hour at 50 degrees, then an hour at 100, then an hour at 150, then a final hour at 200. Once that’s done I’ll be ready to melt some lead! I have a portable Coleman stove (left over from my University camping days) which should do the trick – I purchased a £3 stainless steel milk saucepan in which to melt the lead.
I think once I’ve cast a few sinkers I will make a couple of triple moulds so I can cast 3 sinkers at once. I just need to wait for the post to arrive on Monday – I ordered a cast-iron pouring ladle off an Ebay seller.
(Update: I later managed to find the exact mould I wanted from www.fishingtackle.co.za).