Monday, 31 December 2012


End of another year and time for reflection. Every time my quack prescribes yet another drug to keep me shuffling along it reminds me of just how frail is the human body. So it is no surprise that my annual blood test for sugar is to be repeated - I'm not worried though as it's nice to know that if the second test proves positive it will confirm that I am a sweet old man! My lovely wife consoles me by predicting that I am suffering from "old mans diabetes". I love her dearly.

 As the New Year is rung in this eve I have a cunning plan to avoid my early "snuff".  When we buy our pre-packed meat from the supermarket you will have noticed that inside the pack is a small piece of padding. This is an anti bacterial pad to stop the meat from "going home" to soon. I have found a supplier and intend ordering a job lot. I reckon if I strap a couple to my carcass every morning they should give me another ten or twenty years. Also - and taking a leaf out of the undertakers manual (from the chapter titled "Embalming Fluid") I intend increasing my whisky consumption in order to enhance the overall ethos of preservation.

In the event that my cunning plan goes belly up I will not despair - I have just read in Wikipedia that a well tried method of preserving meat is by burying it in a hole in the ground. No worries then!

Happy New Year

Friday, 21 December 2012


The end of the world is due in just over two hours this morning -  so they say. Most  folk round here have taken sensible precautions by either going to work, going to the pub or like us, going to Morrisons for our Christmas shopping. In the event that a bloody great meteorite lands on my head at 11.11 am, thank you for being a reader and I hope we meet in the next world. Merry Christmas!

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Post antediluvian

We are both grateful that we have the house back to normal since the flood in July. Since then we have been at serious risk of being flooded again on three separate occasions - today included. I have one of these long telescopic rods normally used for cleaning windows and the like. It came in very handy this morning following continuous rain over several days when I used it to hook free the rubbish that was obstructing the flow of the brook outside the house. The water level dropped immediately.

As I write this it is dark and early evening, the rain is still falling relentlessly and the big worry is that the house may flood again during the night. We'll just have to cross our fingers and hope it doesn't. I hate water, I have even taken to omitting the filthy stuff from my glass of scotch in the evening. Filthy? Think ducks and fish!

We always look forward to Christmas and this year is no exception - if you are reading this (of course they are reading it dope!) a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.



Sunday, 15 July 2012


I have sometimes wondered if we would ever get an emergency call while we were away in our caravan. Well yesterday it happened. Our friend and home watcher rang us with the news that our home had been flooded. We vacated the caravan in record time and hit the road.

The flood had been as a result of an adjacent brook bursting its banks. The brook runs through a culvert under the road out front. Some years ago MK council had fixed a steel grille at the entrance to the culvert but had not bothered to keep it clear of obstructions. Torrential rain early yesterday morning could not flow through the blocked grille and the water began to rise.

We arrived home after the water level had dropped to find that we had been flooded up to the top of the skirting boards. What a mess and so much water damage to furniture, fabric and fittings.

Lots of work needed to put things right over the coming months but fortunately we are properly insured. However, sitting here typing this in the conservatory 24hrs later with sodden filthy smelly carpets etc.  waiting for the loss accessor to condemn is not my perfect way of spending a Sunday afternoon.

So I’d like to take this opportunity of imagining I could gather the individuals at MK council together who share collective responsibility for this happening and handcuff the lot to the grille just prior to the next heavy showers. That should dampen their spirits eh?

Many thanks to Christine and Doug who alerted us and mopped up whilst we travelled home. It’s nice to have good friends.

End of rant!!!

Friday, 13 July 2012


I photographed this yesterday (between downpours). It had climbed up and was hanging over the top of a six foot fence. An unusual but pretty shrub with the stem of the flower growing out of the middle of the leaf. Posted here in case anyone knows what its name is.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

060612 Moreton

A couple of days ago we revisited one of our favourite places, the lovely little Church of St.Nicholas at Moreton, Dorset. The church was celebrating its annual flower festival and the various floral displays were, as ever, beautiful and a credit to the skills of their creators.

On a previous visit we were delighted to hear a young lady singing accompanied by the organ and I managed to capture a short movie. Unfortunately the sound quality was very poor. This time and with a lot of wishful thinking I took along a different camera.

We were amazed to find the young lady and the organist in the church again rehearsing. Haley England has the voice of an angel and hearing this piece in this setting was a most moving experience. Well done Haley.

Listen to an angel here:

Tuesday, 17 April 2012


I have just spotted an item up for auction on Ebay described as a steam boiler made by Gower of Bedford which has brought back some memories of my distant past.

Back in the 60’s I was employed for a while repairing plant machinery with a construction company – Lindum Lincoln. We had a request to attend a sick JCB digger which had been digging up the road in Bedford. When we arrived we found the “eye” on the end of one of the main hydraulic rams had broken away. Alf Richardson the welder (and landlord of The Swan pub at Astwood) who was with me remarked that he felt unable to repair the thing but knew a man that would.

Busted ram duly stowed in the back of our van, Alf drove us both to the ram repairer whose yard turned out to be between the new County Hall (or Black Diamond corner as it was then) and St. Johns railway station..

We pulled up outside a corrugated iron fenced compound in which I could see all sorts of archaic machinery, old tractors, steam engines, boilers et al. Going to the back doors of the van to pull out the ram Alf warned me “ Whatever you do, don’t swear, or we’ll be chucked of the premises”. Turns out that the proprietors were very, very religious. It also turned out that they were very skilled at engineering repairs that other business’s shied away from.

We were greeted by two men dressed mostly in leather with leather scull caps in a workshop that was straight out of the 17th century. Hard packed earth floor and machinery driven by lay shafts.

They took the ailing patient from us and two hours later we picked it up, healed, welded and whole again.

I had met the Gower brothers. They don't make 'em like that any more!!

Thursday, 15 March 2012


I needed to find a way to touch up my carbide lathe tools. I worked as a tool and cutter grinder for a while (in another life many years ago) so I knew that using a green grit wheel would not give me the best results. So, I bought an 80mm diameter diamond cup wheel from fleabay and lashed up a grinder around it.

I was not overly concerned at how it should look so long as it would do the job. I have uploaded a short film clip to YouTube and if anybody is interested you can find it here:

The base is a bit of my son’s old bookcase, motor from car boot sale – couple of quid. All of the chunky aluminium hacked from a large jig, 50p – car boot again! Guard is a bit of our old milk saucepan and the grinding spindle is a stainless steel door handle running in two new ball races – both from the boot again and costing pence.

The drive belt hurt. I had to have it made up and they stung me for £13.66. Not to worry though, I have ended up with a very handy device which does a “proper job”.

Incidentally, the clamp holding the tool in the film has been in my possession for some time now (I’m sure you can guess where it came from) but I have never known what its original purpose was but I DO know what a previous owner has been using it for – how do I know?

After I had shot the footage I was sitting at my desk turning the clamp over in my hands and for the first time, I noticed it was rattling slightly. I was puzzled as there was nothing visible that could rattle. And why would the manufacturer machine a groove around the handle like that? I grasped the handle and twisted the end and surprise, surprise it started to turn and unscrew.

The handle was hollow and the mystery rattling things fell out of their hiding place and onto my desk. Three small pieces of shaped steel each of which could be gripped in the jaws of the clamp. I know a lock pickers kit when I see one and that is what I was looking at here………………