“I’ve always been a bit of a mad inventor”, says Graham Ravey while cheerfully polishing the shiny face of a robot.
Yes, that’s right, a robot.
In the back garden of an Old Whittington home stand an astounding collection of eccentric androids Graham has immaculately crafted from recycled metal materials.
An oxygen tank, old video players, engine parts and door knobs can all be spotted in his ‘organised junk’ that is wowing the community.
“As a kid I used to take things to bits even though they were new”, said nursing home handyman Graham, 58, who has inspired curious youngsters to make their own robot.
“My dad would ask ‘why have you put an old frame on that new bike”, I’d say but I did it.
“Always the first question about the robots is ‘Does it move?’ and ‘How did you make that? then they start noticing everyday things in them.”
From a family of three, called Billy, Betty and Bertie Bafflebot, to Graham’s favourite based on a TV set with a remote control for a nose, all take weeks to bring to life.
Salvaged scrap and donations provide the bones for Graham to start work using limited tools and knowledge gleaned as a former mechanic.
“There’s hundreds of hours in them, 200 easy. I might be laid in bed then go out to look at my scrap for half an hour.
“Because I spend so many hours with them there is a rapport. I gave a fisherman robot away recently and thought “Oh, one of my kids has gone.”
All the, named, robots are a futuristic memoir to man’s discarded technologies and examples of a practice called Techno-Art.
But they are destined to go far from the rubbish bin... and into a special robot museum that Graham is building Down Under.
And the story gets stranger because Australia is where he is best known, for being Sensei Graham Ravey, appointed the country’s chief karate instructor in 1987.
He hopes to leave, clearing the scrapyard of fridges, taps, keyboards and chains in his understanding mother’s back garden, with wife Cana next month.
Graham said: “I’d like to take the robots to the museum but if Simon Cowell offered me a million...
“It’s really more martial arts that I’m famous for, this might be the next thing.
“I think I can get two more arts in before I die.”
By Ellen Beardmore