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Tuesday June 30th 2015

 

Most days of the week you will catch me running around with a car load of tools doing DIY mostly for friends and family (I hate decorating).  I am thinking of answering those desperate calls from our local streetlife.com feeds for all those ladies out there looking for ‘a handyman’.  Yesterday Melissa wanted ‘Urgent, Man with a big hammer - I am very urgently looking for a gent who could help me knock some rods out which have been hammered into the ground, to support a chicken wire fence, with the ground being so dry I just don't seem to be able to manage with my little hammer. They are not cemented in. Im sure a strong man would manage easily. I would be so grateful for some muscle or an extra helping hand.   I’m thinking of answering the call.

 

Henry the chocolate Labrador came back from his holidays yesterday – he didn’t get sunburnt he just melted a bit.

 

This is really interesting.  All us pensioners with meagre savings have had a bit of a raw deal for some years now with the low interesting rates.  Well about a year ago I invested a few pounds in FundingCircle.com and currently getting a much better return – like 7% after fees, costs and losses?  It’s a highly sophisticated system and you have to keep on top of it but if you are interested have a look at it and if you do want to invest then let me know and they will give me (and you) £50.  Basically you buy ‘loan parts’ and join others in funding farmers who want to buy another cow and all sorts.  I'm not sure which part of the cow I bought.

 

Don’t you hate these ‘pop up’ adverts, you only have to breathe on my tablet and it pops up with ‘amazing grab it now’ offers before it’s too late.  You can blame young Neil Capel for a lot of it (see Thursday June 11th).  You will notice that this site doesn’t have any of that only a discreet link to GRENSON.COM or TIMLITTLE.COM for when you need a decent pair of shoes for your walk to work.  The fact that he’s my son-in-law has nothing to do with it.  Also a discreet link to WWW.TWILDELAW.COM for when you need advice for making your will or a power of attorney.  The fact that he is also my son-in-law has nothing to do with it.

 

Wednesday July 1st 2015

 

In order to tell you about another untapped source of energy, the details of which I sent to Trevor Baylis of ‘wind up radio fame’ but he never replied, I have to tell you a longish story.  I’ll try to pepper it with a few pic’s to make it more palatable.

 

It must have been around the mid 90’s that one of the guys I worked with thought it would be a good idea if I learned to sail.  Against my better judgement I went along to Weirwood Sailing Club (near East Grinstead) jumped in a Topper one man dinghy and immediately capsized – before leaving the pontoon!.  After a few capsizes and mouthfuls of reservoir I came away with a Level 1 Dinghy Sailing certificate, not sure how, as I still didn’t know how it was that yachts could go in many directions in the same wind.  I then spent a week learning the ropes at a Sailing Club in Newton Ferrers (near Plymouth) and came away with a Level 2 Dinghy Sailing Certificate, this time I knew exactly how it was that yachts could go anywhere.

 

I then decided that yachting was the thing for me.  After 6 months of study at Leatherhead Adult Education Centre I came away with a Competent Crew Certificate and a Day Skipper Certificate. All the practical side was completed on a friend’s yacht in Chichester Harbour and at Dream Seekers Sailing School in Falmouth, incidentally on this week long trip out of the five of us on board four of us were called Bob.  Talk about the Keystone Cops – Bob get the bow line will you and Bob get the stern line, Bob you drop the main and you Bob be ready with the fender?

 

My fellow sailing buddies and I then chartered yachts from many ports.  My briefcase has disgorged many hilarious stories of our exploits – boring to some but still hilarious.  The highlight was in the summer of 2008 when we chartered a Bavaria 46 called ‘Ventum’ (with twin steering wheels} from Puerto Pollensa in Majorca.  We sailed around Menorca, calling at Cuidadella, Fornells, Mahon, Binibeca and back to Alcudia.  You can check some of the frantic action HERE.

 

As Captain on that trip I have to report that there was a fracas amongst the crew in Alcudia, the table in the quay side restaurant went flying along with my starter.  Old wrinklies intent on causing havoc is not a pretty sight.  The final leg back to Puerto Pollensa was completed without further incident. Sailing yacht Ventum was visibly relieved.

 

Details of the untapped source of energy should follow tomorrow.

menorca 01 menorca 02 menorca 03 menorca 04 menorca 05 menorca 06

                            ANTICIPATION                                                                 CONFERENCE                                                                          ORDERS

   OLD BOB    YOUNG BOB   JOHN   BILL   MIKE

                  CARRYING OUT ORDERS                                                               TSUNAMI                                                                               RETURN

Thursday July 2nd 2015

 

Untapped Source of Energy?

 

Now we’ve all seen time lapse photography of the tide rushing in and out twice a day.  There’s quite a good one HERE.  Now imagine what would happen if the skipper of that boat tied up at high tide and forgot to loosen the mooring lines.  His boat would be suspended in mid-air - it could of course be your cruise liner moored up in Southampton or your barge tied up in Shepperton Lock.  Probably better to imagine all these boats suspended by a few cranes at high tide.

 

What we have here is something called Potential Energy.  Now imagine all those suspension cables connected to a KERS system (Kinetic Energy Recovery System) the same as the Formula 1 drivers have to harness energy from braking – are you with me?   We now release the boats via the KERS and your boat starts to drop (or should do if you are on planet Earth) this is now something called Kinetic Energy which drives your generator which boils your kettle or charges your phone.  Eureka?  Afraid not.

 

Well I can tell you that the reason why Trevor Baylis didn’t bother to reply is because the amount of Horse Power generated is diddly squat compared with a wind generator. Or is it?

 

As I write there is a Solar Powered Spitfire half way across the Pacific heading for Hawaii, actually they call it Solar Impulse but to me it is a Spitfire.  It has 4 propellers driven by electric motors powered by solar panels by day and batteries at night which have been charged up by solar panels during the day – get it?  It is on an around the world trip.  An incredible engineering feat but for me it doesn't quite fire the imagination.  How much more incredible would it be if those propellers were powered by a ‘Muscle Engine’?  See Tuesday June 23rd blog.

 

Just for the record and for you guys out there in Michigan who I know are reading this blog it is 36 centigrade out there in my back garden at the moment and Henry is lying doggo.

 

Tomorrow I’ll check my dusty old brief case and see what else is lurking.

Friday July 3rd 2015

 

My brief case is a can of worms, too much to record now without boring you to tears.  It tells me that my ‘career’ was a succession of jobs (I stopped counting at 55) from the early days as an apprentice engineer which was a mistake as I intended to join the RAF, through to lecturing DIY to the inmates of a women’s high security prison and everything in between including selling Encyclopaedia Britannica and various other products.  Drawing up bits for the Concorde and the Boeing 747 (and many other Spitfires) including the Fieldmaster Cropsprayer (see below).  Pipes, brackets and all sorts of bits for oil rigs, chemical plant, glass plant, Mars Bars, small bits, big bits and medium size bits for all manner of products.  Water rockets were interesting.  Jobs in the USA, New Zealand, Aberdeen, Bournemouth, Isle of Wight, New Malden and all stations to Waterloo.  All the time searching for something I might enjoy.

 

In the bottom of my brief case was a postcard with 50 words written on it.  It was my entry for a competition organised by the Daily Mail in 1956 when I was 17.  The competition was to write 50 words on ‘The Future of Aviation’ and the prize was a trip round Britain in a Spitfire (it was actually a Bristol Britannia – The Whispering Giant but to me it was a Spitfire) and guess what, I was one of the winners.  I enjoyed the flight but most of all I enjoyed writing it. Q.E.D.

 

I’ll have to stop now, just received another survey questionnaire from the NHS asking a few questions.

 

•Do you have no problems doing your usual activities

•Do you have slight problems doing your usual activities

•Do you have moderate problems doing your usual activities

•Do you have severe problems doing your usual activities

•Are you unable to do your usual activities

 

If I could remember what my usual activities were I might be able to answer!  No wonder they haven't got any money.

fieldmaster

The NDN Fieldmaster

 

If you click HERE and look at the images you will see what it really looked like, you may even see some of my drawings.  I drew up everything forward of the black box including the engine, propellor and nosewheel but it looks like the snails have been at it.

It really did fly.

The black box is the air intake for the PT6A turbine.   In case you didn't know.

stars and stripes

Saturday July 4th 2015 or 'the Fourth of July'

 

Looking back at my time at Boeing in Seattle in the late 60's out of all those 55 plus jobs I had this probably was the most enjoyable.  Mainly because problems were solved with everybody on the same side of the table and not across the table.   Boeing as you know make American Spitfires but they call them 707’s. 727’s, 737’s, 747’s, 757’s, 767’s, 777’s and 787’s (although they call those Dreamliners).  Perhaps I should have stayed.  Although in 1970 Boeing laid off 70,000 people and the phrase ' the last one to leave turn the lights out' was banded about so perhaps the right decision after all.  What none of us knew was that in a garage down the street was a young lad called Bill Gates.

Sunday July 5th 2015

 

The Stars and Stripes remind me of another ‘project’ of mine.  My wife claimed that her family were connected to George Washington but I never believed her.  She has a close relative still with us who has Washington as his middle name so maybe there is something in it?  I already subscribed to Ancestry.co.uk, so, with reference to on line ‘Public Family Trees’  (some of the trees have 50,000 names would you believe) I managed to go back 13 generations  I then looked at George Washington’s family tree, which is in the public domain, and went back 4 generations and guess what?  Yup! It is one and the same person.  So, not a direct link but an ancestral link.

 

That person is The Reverend Lawrence Washington born in 1602 who lived at Sulgrave Manor in Northamptonshire.   A couple of years ago I took my wife there and she was greeted with great reverence by the staff.  The family coat of arms which is above the front door is reputed to have influenced the design for The Stars and Stripes.  If you are really interested you can click HERE. We now have a magnificent framed chart hanging on our wall for all to see.  Henry’s not impressed.  So far I have traced my family tree back 4 generations to William Jones listed in the 1861 census as a 'Scavenger'!  Professional of course!

 

Also today I have finally reached ‘The Age of Irresponsibility’.  I signed something called a Power of Attorney so from now on my children are responsible for everything I do, or don’t do.............no comment.

 

Monday July 6th 2015

 

My Google Analytics tell me that there at least a dozen of you out there reading this, thank you.  Despite having around 3000 pages on this site plus this BLOG I have only used 3Mb out of 500Mb available so room for plenty more rabbit.  There is more but I’ll spare you today……………………………  No I won’t, I’m thinking of serialising my first unfinished book, which is riveting.  It is called ‘The Survival of Species’ not to be confused with ‘On the Origin of Species’ by some guy called Charles Darwin. I’ll mix it up with a few Spitfires to make it more interesting.

LAC Jones 1172 Squadron 1953

LAC Jones 1172 Squadron

Hinchley Wood ATC

1953

Dreaming of flying a Spitfire

IMG_0625

He thinks it's a Spitfire.

Wednesday July 8th 2015

 

Henry has persuaded me to work out where I'm going with it before it gets published.  Bit of a shame but he usually knows best.  Instead I’ll treat you to a story about Bob and Marcia’s trip to Scotland in the spring of 2002 – just unearthed it from my brief case – whose Marcia? – I'll leave you to guess.

 

The references to commercial enterprises may be out of date.

Thursday July 9th 2015

 

'Did you like that?

Monday June 29th 2015

 

I learnt to fly a Spitfire in 1964, well it wasn't a Spitfire it was a Piper Colt (to me it was a Spitfire), no radio, no flaps and no runway - just line up with the windsock and take off on the grass at Fairoaks.  7 hours and 5 minutes later I went solo - not all on the same day though.  After a few cross countries and a few classroom sessions I qualified for a PPL and began taking brave friends and family for a ride over the hills, woods and back gardens of Surrey.  I amassed over 100 hours in another Spitfire (Piper Cherokee) and managed not to bend anything or anybody.  A couple of years ago I tried to pick it up where I had left off but couldn’t hear the radio, couldn’t see the dashboard and forgot the chocks so gave it up.  Why is this relevant? Well we can all dream can’t we?  My instructor was one Wing Commander Cyril Arthur a legend at the time, he was my age when he taught me.  There is hope yet!

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