FutureTech shows that multi-skilled Popular Mechanics can be Flowers R Us, too

  • Before: Sean Woods gets into flower arranging mode ahead of FutureTech.
  • After: Sean finishes preparing 'metallic' roses. Note the high-tech spray booth and repurposed wooden flower stand.
Date:30 October 2014 Author: Anthony Doman Tags:, ,

The Popular Mechanics team members are nothing if not multi-talented. Without meaning to sound too boastful, I can play a mean guitar, ride a bicycle all day long and – without referring to a recipe – bake a sourdough baguette to die for. If that sounds too easy, let’s try this: I can do them all at the same time.

Well, perhaps not all of them. And perhaps not exactly at the same time. Oh, okay, I can’t do them at the same time. I only said it because it’s a kind of a boy thing.

Besides, it’s not like just trying would make me a Darwin Award candidate. Perhaps just a Highly Commended in the It Made Perfect Sense At The Time category.

Speaking of which, and speaking of multi-skilled individuals, PM’s Sean Woods is a man of many talents. He’s an ace photographer with a formidable pedigree in aviation and newspapers, as well as raking in serial honours for his writing skills and a knack for sniffing out our kinds of stories. He brews his own beer. Likes messing around in boats. Is thinking of going into beekeeping.

He is also, as the accompanying picture shows, a bit of a flower arranger.

To be rather more accurate, our picture shows Sean preparing to create metal flowers for PM FutureTech 2014. Not only did the finished article represent a fine example of how to ruin a perfectly good bunch of fabric roses for fundamentally no good reason, but in its own humble way it demonstrated recycling.

You see, when it came to finding a suitable fabric-rose-stand so they could be held upright for spraying, Sean found what he was looking for right alongside his desk. It was a block of wood with exactly the right amount of holes drilled, in exactly the right size, in exactly the right place. Er… that’s because a while back he had done exactly the same thing.

Resourceful, is our Sean.

So having disposed of the flower arrangement, when we needed to find some other props and exhibits for FutureTech 2014, Sean came up with a brainwave: one of the leading contestants in the just-finished Sasol Solar Challenge. It was being stored fairly close to our offices. All we needed was a trailer.

Well, not quite all we needed. As the two of us realised after manoeuvring the impressive beast (have you any idea how vast the turning circle of these things is?), lifting a couple of hundred kilograms isn’t so hard with half a dozen burly students doing the lifting. When all you have is two not-so-young – let’s be brutally honest, we’re middle-aged – males with bad backs, then it is basically Mission Unaccomplished. Besides, the thing didn’t even fit on the trailer, which by the way was the biggest one we could get at the hiring place.

Before you judge us too harshly, I’d like to point out that another FutureTech exhibitor with a car that he had transported before wound up with a similar problem of bulk, weight and trailer not computing.

In the end, we went with the metallic roses. At least they fitted on the trailer.