Having forked out a small fortune for a long overdue new Swarovski scope in the summer of 2013, I pondered whether to buy a stay on case, until I saw the £200 price tag. To my mind the scope is rubber armoured and gas-filled and should look after itself in the field, therefore the purpose of a case is only to protect its exterior and appearance to maintain its value.
I noticed that the bird photographers protected their expensive gear with neoprene tubes typically costing forty quid to cover a 400mm lens.
I’d like to make clear at this point, despite already being labelled (or should it be libel’d) on this website as a tight Yorkshireman. This is merely a matter of not spending brass,’ tha’ dunt need to’and it’s unfounded and unfair to suggest that Yorkshiremen are stereotypically mean for adopting this approach.
Anyway, the discovery of neoprene sheet and the cottage industry that has sprung up from all its applications and money saving opportunities, are keeping me busy. With very little internet research I found over a square meter of 3mm camouflaged patterned neoprene for less than 25 quid (bargain) and black wetsuit repair tape at £1.33 per metre ( same price as half a brown ale). Neoprene strips are simply cut and then joined together by ironing on the tape. The only tools required are a pen, a pair of scissors and the wife’s sewing tape-measure and her iron.
It’s amazing how far the material goes, I’ve loads left and have found myself thinking of what I can make with the offcuts. However, I was a little disappointed that the wife was not as appreciative as I’d hoped when on Christmas morning she opened her present, a pair of handmade camouflage print neoprene slippers. I’m having second thoughts about the hand bag for her birthday!
Below is a series of photographs of my protected equipment and showing just how easy and quick it is to work with.
A cautionary note to finish on for this the first installment of the tight Yorkshireman’s guide to DIY birding kit. I recommend getting permission and indeed tuition on using the iron from its owner. Regrettably I wasted some of the wet-suit tape and burnt myself when steam unexpectedly came out. And in the interest of matrimonial harmony clean off any sticky glue residue before you put the iron back in cupboard.
Look out for my next money-saving idea on how to prevent piles when seawatching