Thursday, 31 January 2008

Hot Air & Maize

I first got excited about lighter than air flight, reading Stephen Wilkinson (Lighter Than Air). Just in case you don't have a copy you need to get onto ABE and sort that out. This pic was taken from a "borrowed" HAB we took on a two week expedition around France a few yers ago. The joy of this sort of holiday is in the completely random nature of the itinery, arrived at by morning and evening flights that take you where the wind blows. We actually landed in a Chateau garden, interupting a splendid wedding party, just as the last light was fading, late in to the evening - Louis Roderer Cristal, I recall. Another day we made ourselves surprise breakfast guests at a remote farmstead in the Auvergne and took the 87 year old retainer for a brief tethered flight, he insisted on taking a sheep with him and had previously never left his village let alone the ground. The site of another world he saw from a few hundred feet brought him to tears. Any how, check out Stephen Wilkinson:(30 Oct 1918 Gas Baloon Record Attempt) ... and the only way to keep height and speed was to drop a passenger. To do this at the speed we were travelling seemed an impossibility, but I determined to try it, and one of the "Grand Fleet" was only too glad to make the attempt and, if possible, keep a "date" he had in London that night............ we found a suitable place, and I managed to take the basket through a stiff hedge and the sailor dropped off the edge in a field near Stamford in Lincolnshire. This was most beautifully done, and the jump was made at a height of about three feet during a slight stoppage after passing through the hedge. The "Grand Fleet" rolled over on his back and, recovering waved a cheery farewell as we shot up to 6,000 feet as a result of this loss of "ballast". Frankly, I should imagine the "Fleets" were queuing up to bale out - Wilko was obviously barking. This flight ended in a quarry near Whitby after dragging an "anchor" for several miles in an attempt to avoid being blown out into The North Sea ! They managed 210 miles in a little over 4 hours !!!!!!!!

Friday, 25 January 2008

Gold Strike

I was listening with interest to the ex Canadian Mounty who's been struck by lightening SIX times. I remember seeing him interviewed on the box about twenty years ago recovering from the sixth one, he looked a little startled and was proudly holding his hat, his finger poking through the blackened hole like a shocked young Glen Campbell in a scene from True Grit. He didn't mention ever being struck by a rainbow but judging by the state of these two hedgerow oaks it could be equally stimulating.

Thursday, 24 January 2008

Meccanica Verghera

I found these pics taken on a ride out a few years ago. This was very much an Italian day and must have caused the residents of most of Leicestershire and South Lincolnshire to wonder at the noise - if you've never heard an Augusta 750-4 at full chat you need to sort that out soon. Giacomo Agostini couldn't resist it and after a few years r&r at Yamaha returned to the fold. This outing of about twelve of us included the MV Augusta 750 Sport and 750 America above, two more MVs, two Laverda Jota 180s, a 120, a Mirage, two 900 SS Ducatis, an 855 SP3 and a Moto Guzzi Le Mans Mk1. Obviously such a tremendous noise would not be permitted today, but the echo can still be heard between Tilton and Dalby

Wednesday, 16 January 2008

Fork 'andles

Ouch ! Unlike many a four wheel whoopsie these do tend to hurt a bit. Lack of power in dodgy overtaking manoeuvre resulted in a big off, I think the major front end damage occurred after most of the speed was scrubbed off, down to about 80, and contact was made with the verge, ditch, hedge, telegraph pole and ploughed field. Regular strides give us around 60 metres from initial bale out to rest. The solution to this sluggish overtaking performance came in the form of a GSXR 1100, with around 125 horse straight out of the showroom these buggers wiped the floor at IOM proddy races the year the bike came out, unfortunately the GSXR bit the dust too, high speed tank slapper (to which the steering geometry left them a bit prone). I'm off to rummage the archive for more bike stuff.

Tuesday, 15 January 2008

Tempest Fugit

Well, not yet. Following the taster in the form of Centaurus engine parts posted last month (Roll Out The Barrel), I have failed to find any Tempest action in the archive apart from this. The top pic is not my 'plane but has to be shown because i love the shape. The MkII was in fact finally sorted after the war had ended and in my opinion is a much prettier machine than the Napier Sabre powered MkV which did see action. The Tempest was conceived by Hawkers as a successor to the Typhoon in its ground attack role, with a thinner wing chord and a lot more power it was considerably faster, I think the MkII was the fastest propeller airplane to see service with the RAF. The second pic is of two of the ex Indian Air Force MkIIs prior to being squished into containers and shipped back to blighty, the right hand one ended up in the Diplo workshop, sadly no longer on the fleet and believed to be in France. 2500 hp @ 2500 rpm. MORE POWER

Fallow Lands

Taken about this time of year - fairly grim sky - i rather like this little group munching on the "set-aside". This particular field, outside the back door, is awash with wildlife, the problem is they all want to tuck into our veg patch. I have seen a fallow deer clear a 6 foot fence from standing without even thinking about it, on the run they'll happily dive headlong into the thickest blackthorn hedge and emerge like rockets, unscathed the other side without breaking stride. They also have a very wholesome diet which, combined with the outdoor life and a little winter fat, make them very tasty indeed. 30-30 Win 150 grain HI-SHOCK soft point flat nose from 100 metres'll do the trick. One for the freezer ! MORE KINETIC ENERGY

Sunday, 13 January 2008

Fake Tan Man

I was lucky enough to be invited to a demonstration of this prototype tanning machine. As you can see, in the interest of reliability, the manufacturer has opted for an Atlas Copco compressor to power the unit. I suspect the equivalent Ingersoll Rand vane-type machine was rejected on cost grounds as well. The gentleman providing the demonstration has just got back from his lunch break and is checking air-flow and the oil cooling system temperature guages. I believe he had a chicken liver salad and a glass of beer.

Wednesday, 9 January 2008

One Flue Over

Been busy with the annual chimney cleaning task, worked up quite a thirst I can tell you. Burning coal to keep warm in the eighteenth century must have produced some beautiful sights. The thought of this lot all chuffing away together gets me very excited - you'd have been able to smell your way home from the pub with ease. I'm rather pleased with the way this chap sits so snuggly in the trees.

Monday, 7 January 2008

Ready Rubbed ....

..... me thinks. Now I have been known to smoke a pipe myself but I can tell you I'm not a golfer. I'm also rather taken with the high waisted trouser idea, she seems to have the same thing going on with her shorts which is obviously what tempted him onto the fairway in the first place. Don't be fooled by the lack of smoke, I suspect he's chuffing a hot burning aromatic. This image was intended to tempt you to fly away to a Maine of the late '50s and enjoy their lovely golf courses. This period of American commercial art is my home town and I feel the urge to explore, I think my enthusiasm was aroused whilst flicking through countless old National Geographics in my youth - the car adverts were quite stunning and I'm building up a collection. I just thought this picture sums up the naive directness of that genre so well.

Plant Hungry Plant

Annual tidy up around the yard revealed this chap lurking in the undergrowth. I parked this screening plant up about nine or ten years ago in the belief that I would one day get around to making a few repairs. Powered by the ever reliable Lister HR3 this machine has seen many years service screening aggregates. I felt this picture reflected the New Year atmosphere quite well - optimistically it looks like the dinosaur is pulling itself free of last year's brambles - alternatively, and more realistically, it seems well and truly static and vulnerable to the hungry vegetation.

Saturday, 5 January 2008

Series On The Move

Winter update. Few days off over the Christmas spell has seen a bit of progress on the old Series 2A. Seen here on the move 'twixt 'shops on board the slightly dodgy transporter, the floor is in fact completely rotten hence the skilfull application of a couple of scaffold boards. All's well that doesn't fall off the trailer and the series is now mobile under her own steam and ready for mot test next month. In point of fact I have very rarely lost items from trailers - complete trailers is a different kettle of squirrels, twice that would be, oh and I did run over a caravan once but somebody else was towing it so that probably doesn't count.

Thursday, 3 January 2008

All Steamed Up

An exercise in reduction gearing. As a seasonal pass-time, Meccano construction takes some beating. The Britains Defender County is altogether too modern for my taste but was to hand for a test run. We managed to get up to 16 lb lift to the accompaniment of hissing and gurgling noises from the SE 2, before belt slippage became an issue. Off to e-bay in search of chain & sprockets for a more positive drive. Also in the process of building a reversing, two speed gearbox from a job lot of gears and pinions wrestled off said auction site. Choo choo. MORE TORQUE.