quinta-feira, 22 de maio de 2008

Big Willow Event

The day before yesterday Michael mentioned that a chap had phoned about the making of some chairs, good I thought I will have some nice chairs to make, for the man had seen four chairs I had made for Michael and I had assumed that the job was the same, well he turned up yesterday with a modern oak kitchen chair that could be less value than my possible bill, it only had been chewed by their dogs, left on their own for four hours locked in the kitchen. Can I please say to any one thinking of doing the same, do not leave more than one dog shut into a room that as anything of value in it, its crazy, I have seen the doors and surrouding mouldings, eaten and scratched to a point were they have to be replaced, one dog on its own may well sulk and chew its blanket but two or more dogs together have different ideas.

I have not got a fully equipped workshop at Monkton and do not have supplies like I once had, so the repair to the wood is no problem, I have repaired it, it is the problem now of buying in rush to do the four chairs, an expensive business, a local firm here charges £165 per seat in rush. I have now spent time on the internet trying to locate rush localaly.
Any one with spare land may think about the profitability in growing rush, bamboo, cane and willow as they all are sort after and have good value which I can only see increasing rather than deminishing in value. There are now many sculptors using natural materials as well as the traditional basket ware and chair seating.

quarta-feira, 21 de maio de 2008

laser guided

On entering Michael's small cavern workshop in the basement of Monkton I heard a story on his radio about a Second World War exploit with American bombers, flying over and from British soil. I remarked that it seemed a bit much that there had been a cover up for dubious reasons, Michael replied that it was all a case of laser guided missiles and that I should follow him into the other vaulted store to see more of the story, duly following he said that the story was about early use of TV technology to act as a means for guiding an aircraft without pilots, the pilots were needed solely to get the aircraft air born and at a safe height, after which they would bail out and let the following aircraft do the work using TV as its eyes. The point that he then made was that he has got the full system that was used, early technology you see and thats what he sells. This is not so uncommon with Michael, his interests are so varied that it is often a case of 'o I've got one of those' or ' that’s wrong here take a look at this'.

Joe Kennedy saw his chance to become a hero. He was eager to go, and was a very experienced pilot. The system to be used was to load a B-24 with explosives, using two pilots, and the installation of an arming pin to prevent accidental ignition of the explosives. The target was Mimoyecques, France. A P-38 weather plane reported acceptable conditions, it was a go. Kennedy and his co-pilot Bud Willy took off at 5:55PM. The safety pin had been properly installed in the arming unit. Fourteen other aircraft gathered in formation with the "flying bomb". The lead plane was a B-17. There were two P-38s to accomplish aerial photography over the target. Also included were two Mosquito bombers, one to monitor weather, the other flown by Elliot Roosevelt, the son of the President of the United States. Another B-17 acted as a signal relay over the channel, with six P-51s as escort. The flying bomb was followed by two Lockheed Venturas which are believed to have been the "mother" guidance planes. This armada after hooking up in formation flew from Fersfield to Framingham, England, then to Beccles testing their RC equipment. Final test would be made with the B-24 flying alone on Radio Control. They flew from Beccles to Clacton, then took the final turn to head for the target. Both pilots were scheduled to bail out near Dover after preparing the plane to continue to the launch target guided by the mother plane. The actual flight plan called for a flyover Beccles but went further east than intended and flew over Blytheburgh. Kennedy made final preparations to set the plane on remote control. He removed the safety pin, and signaled O.K. with the code phrase "Stay Flush". These would be his last words as the plane exploded at 6:20PM over Blytheburgh.

Joseph Patrick Kennedy (pictured above) was the elder brother of President John F. Kennedy, and was born on the 28th July 1915. He completed his flight training at Jacksonville U.S.A. in 1942. As a volunteer U.S. Navy pilot he flew Mariner flying boats from Puerto Rico, Central America, before converting to the B24 Liberator and serving in England at Dunkeswell, Devon, with squadron VB110. After completing his normal combat tour of 30 missions, he volunteered for an extra 10 - somehow managing to talk his crew in to flying with him. Just before his last mission Lt Kennedy volunteered for one further final mission which involved low level flying and a parachute jump. This mission was to be Top Secret as part of project Anvil, the target being the German V3 Super gun site at Mimoyecques, France. The details of this mission remained secret until 1966, although the identity of the crew was not released until 1970.

terça-feira, 20 de maio de 2008

3 wheeling

My grand father must of been the image of a racer with is flat cap turned around, peak to the rear, mind you everyone does the same now with base ball caps, zooming down Hockley hill bank and trying hard not to get the bicycle wheels of his 3 wheeler Morgan, stuck in the tram lines, it is clear Edinburgh Council will have forgotten the problems of bicycles and trams, only the older members can have this pleasure. This vision of the Pimpernel, normally green and not red, was my idea of heaven and at college I only had the loan of my brothers Lambretta,
which to be frank was good for getting around but did not assist in the conquest of women, however after marrying Jacky in June 1970 I got to hear about an old chap that had a Morgan 3 wheeler in his garage in Exeter, went to see him and got on famously with the dear fellow, too much as it tured out because I found myself going to see him every week as a social service operator and not having any chance of getting my hands on the car, I abandoned the idea after numerous trips and a friend sold me his 1949 BSA, with this I was able to join the convoys of Hell's Angels without getting skinned alive and later I bought a 1973 Norton Commando, ex TT so that was me for speed.
In 1981 I sold my last motor bike, 1000 cc BMW tourer, it gave my mother a rest from worrying, since my brothers, well two of them had bad accidents in the past on bikes, although I was free from the same accident prone keeping my time for 1986, 4th July,Independence Day when I managed to cut off a thumb and index finger on my right hand. I only told my mother two years later when she was threatening to make some gloves for me and it seemed a good time to kill two birds with the single stone, better than David did, strangley enough she said o Stuart and then said it ran in the family withseveral uncles doing the same.

Scotland and Swallows

I am sorry to anyone for my absence but am somewhat tied up with work now that I have arrived back in Scotland, it is also perishingly cold, I am so used to the warm climate in the North of Brazil that it proves a shock to the system when stepping off the plane at Edinburgh airport. Took me three days to get my bag that Air France had lost, well lost I do not know, the bag had been opened and my eye medication no longer is there so I guess they assumed it was Nitro Glycerine or plastic explosive, fat chance of compensation for that I reckon.
The bad side of leaving Brazil, other than the weather taking a nose dive, is that my fiance and I are seperated for at least four months and the phone , email, Skype, MSN or whatever is just no substitute for the pleasure of being with a loved one. I sent Graca an email yesterday commenting that most years I simply arrive in Scotland around the first of May, its mean't to be Summer and the joy is that the same day I arrive the Swallows arrive too, they chirp away and keep me company, for I work in the garages of Michael's house at Monkton, they were once the stables and we still keep the side shed door open for the birds to enter and nest, I had the same thing in Shotley Field, Northumberland, these little birds that seem to have no weight, hover and dive, picking up insects at lightning speed.
Well Graca is tickled by the comparison of these love birds travelling so far to Africa and returning as couples to continue part of their life here as we are seperated we shall be reunited so there is always a joy after the sadness of parting.


Swallow perched on overhead cable
Migration is a hazardous time and many birds die from starvation, exhaustion and in storms.

European swallows spend the winter in Africa south of the Sahara, in Arabia and in the Indian sub-continent.

British swallows spend their winter in South Africa: they travel through western France, across the Pyrenees, down eastern Spain into Morocco, and across the Sahara. Some birds follow the west coast of Africa avoiding the Sahara, and other European swallows travel further east and down the Nile Valley. Swallows put on little weight before migrating.

They migrate by day at low altitudes and find food on the way. Despite accumulating some fat reserves before crossing large areas such as the Sahara Desert, they are vulnerable to starvation during these crossings. Migration is a hazardous time and many birds die from starvation, exhaustion and in storms.

Migrating swallows cover 200 miles a day, mainly during daylight, at speeds of 17-22 miles per hour. The maximum flight speed is 35 mph.

In their wintering areas swallows feed in small flocks, which join together to form roosting flocks of thousands of birds. Swallows arrive in the UK in April and May, returning to their wintering grounds in September and October.

If you are keen to support a cause for birds here is one such cause