He may be wheelchair bound, but that doesn't diminish Tom Laidlaw's enthusiasim for sundials. In front of his house on Carolina Lane is the Vancouver Heights neighborhood landmark - a sundial garden. And what has he planted?
There is a bright circular equatorial sundial that shows the time from 4am to 8pm (and even an offset for daylight saving time). On the grass is an analemmatic sundial sundial marking time from 6am to 6pm for anyone who wants to stand to the plywood walkway. On a table near the house are a series of globe, equatorial and horizontal sundials as well as other sundial types that he will gladly explain. For example, Tom has turned a skate board into a polar dial by adding a "T" gnomon in the middle. And then there is a model of the Jefferson dial where you swing the gnomon around a globe to cast only a thin line shadow
Katie Gillespie, of the Columbian, reports "The 80-year-old retired electrician has always been a 'do-it-yourself kind of guy,' he said. For a while, it was skateboards he fancied, and bookshelves, and a Benjamin Franklin chair that transforms from a chair into a stepladder. He’s self-taught, he said, researching new projects online, then diving in.... 'It’s fun to watch him talk to people about it,' said Debra Brouhard, Laidlaw’s daughter and neighbor."
His latest obsession is sundials. As a member of the North American Sundial Society, Tom now designs a multitude of sundials. Visitors see his yard dotted with all types of sundials. They come in all sizes: big and small. His analemmatic sundial on the lawn always draws attention. Nearby, a plumb bob dangles from a beam. allowing Tom to tell time solar noon. when the shadow draws a line on the lawn pointing due north.
Gillespie found that, "Laidlaw’s passion for sundials began in 2009, when his grandson, Doug Brouhard, stuck a stick in the ground while they were camping. Doug Brouhard was about 12 at the time, and the dial didn’t quite work, Laidlaw said. It was the right idea, though, and a new hobby was born. 'I still have the stick that started it all,' Doug Brouhard said."
Read more of Katie Gillespie's article and see more photos of Tom Laidlaw and his sundials at http://www.columbian.com/news/2017/aug/30/sundial-garden-shines-in-vancouver-heights/