Forgive me if I appear to complain. My wife Dorothea is the most charming of women and exceptionally skilled, not only at running a household and entertaining our guests, but also as a highly accomplished parasol duellist. However I do not feel that she fully understands the struggles of an inventor.
Why, she has just entered my workspace once again and remarked – quite harshly, I felt – on the quantity of litter strewn across the floor. Does she expect that every design will result in a successful invention? Applying for patents is a most costly and time-consuming process, so I restrict it to only the most promising designs.
If (as I have explained to her on many occasions) she would permit me to create my prototypes in this room, I could adjust them as I go along and the drawings would be far more productive. Alas, she insists that any tinkering must be restricted to the cellar! She complains that the smells, dust and general mess involved are unacceptable within the main body of the house.
So why, I can imagine you asking, do I not do my drawings down there as well? The answer, dear reader, is that the cellar of this house is particularly damp and cold. That hardly matters when I am actively sawing, soldering or otherwise constructing my machines and gadgets, but it is not an atmosphere conducive to long hours sitting at a desk engaged in meticulous draughtsmanship.
Thus it comes to pass that many of my designs, so painstakingly drawn, end their days screwed up on the floor, from whence (as I explained to Dorothea) it is but a moment or two’s travail for the maid to sweep up and dispose of them.
Nonetheless, I feel I am making great progress, notwithstanding my perplexing situation. The Swanopede (patents pending) which I am currently working on is of such ingenuity and obvious charm that it will almost certainly bring me the fame and fortune I so earnestly seek.
In the meantime, my first book (Gadgets for Life by Icabod Cogbottle – available at all good booksellers) is bringing in modest royalties and allowing me to continue to pursue my life’s work.