Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Winter 2013 arrives!

With the colder weather arriving, especially with clear evening skies, we have some great sunsets.

Sunset over the marina

I have lit the boatman's cabin stove to give some heat at the back of the boat!

Chimney smoking!
Warm glow from the cabin doors

Early winter also means our Rode Hall Silver Band is fully engaged in practice for the Leicestershire Brass Band Contest.

We have all been practising hard and put in a last, full band, rehearsal at the church in Congleton. Chris came along to listen and thought the piece – Music for a Festival by Philip Sparke – sounded great!


 Front row

Lower band section  

Cornets and Nigel, our Conductor

We set off on the band coach to Leicester on Sunday and took to the contest stage in our 4th Section.

Overall, we came 7th out of the 14 bands entered – a creditable performance for a harder piece of music this year. Nigel our Conductor is to be congratulated for his musicianship and leadership in taking this on – of course we were disappointed that we didn't get a higher placing. However, we did make mistakes! The Adjudicator made many positive comments about our playing which was pleasing.

Proud Rode Hall Silver Bandsman!

Friday, 22 November 2013

RAF Cosford – Museum Visit

Last week, I met up with my brother Mike and we drove down to the RAF Museum, Cosford. The weather was foul so fortunately we were mostly in the hanger areas.

We started in the Restoration Hanger, not usually open, so it was pretty busy with interested and knowledgeable visitor and the Volunteers/Museum Staff doing the restoration work.

Our immediate attention was drawn to the Vickers Wellington Bomber – in pieces – being lovingly restored. The Wellington has a special significance for our family as it was the plane our Father flew towards the end of the war when he was with Coastal Command.

Surprisingly, there are only 2 remaining Wellingtons left – this one is the Mark T.X MF628 which first flew in May 1944 and was later converted in 1948 to a navigation trainer hence the T.X designation.
The aluminium wing section – minus it's fabric covering
The fuselage section with some repairs to the covering
Rear gun turret
Nose gun turret

For those interested, check out this link to a visit by an enthusiast.

To my delight, there was also a boat (!) in the shed.
RAF Range Safety Launch 1667, built in 1956
Timber framing

Twin screws – no engines to be seen though!

Another plane in restoration that caught our eye was the sister WW2 medium bomber to the Vickers, a Handley Page Hampden.

  Hampden P1344 – shot down in Finland in September 1942
Bullet holes still in situ
Part of the tail – shot through
A new section fabricated in aluminium

After a well-earned coffee and buttie, we went onto the War Planes hanger.

The iconic Spitfire
My brother stands next to a Consolidated PBY Catalina Flying Boat. Our Father, having learned to fly in the USA, flew one of these from Newfoundland to Ireland, I think in 1942/3

The amazing Harrier Jump Jet

We also saw the Dornier Bomber that has recently been lifted from the sea and is being washed down in tunnel tents – unfortunately, my camera ran out of battery power!
See this link for interest.

It was a really good day out – albeit wet and cold! It was good to spend time with my brother Mike as well. There is still more to see and hopefully a further visit next year?!

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Mallard and The Great Gathering at York

126mph – Mallard and the A4's

Not many people know this … ?”

On July 3rd 1938, A4 Class Mallard clocked 126mph along the East Coast Main Line and broke the world steam speed record – one that still stands today.

Mallard was the 28th of the 35, A4 Class 4-6-2 express steam locos, designed by Sir Nigel Gresley – completed in March 1938 at a cost of £8,500. It had several design improvements from earlier A4s, particularly the double chimney to aid steaming.

The streamlining was supposedly developed in a wind tunnel, sweeping the smoke exhaust away from the cab windows. Internally, the boiler operated at a higher than normal pressure and careful shaping of the steam pipes ensured the 3 pistons worked more efficiently.

Queueing to get into the NRM
The Great Gathering of the last six A4s in existence
Historic photo – by No.4468 Mallard
Dominion of Canada, in a cosmetic paint job, was brought over from Montreal
Dwight D Eisenhower, also repainted, was brought over from Wisconsin, USA
No.6007, Sir Nigel Gresley is based on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway and is in full running order. Seen here in BR blue livery
Union of South Africa, in BR green livery, runs excursions on the main line (we saw it at Crewe Heritage Centre – see link)
Bittern in BR blue livery – runs on the main line
Bittern with the streamline side valances
The original technical drawings 

Just wonderful!

Monday, 4 November 2013

National Trust – Ham House in Richmond

Ham House - 30th October 2013

As we were down in Staines stopping with our son, Daniel, we took the opportunity to go to the park, walk by the Thames and visit this National Trust Property.

0n the Swings

Chris and Dan catch up!

Lady in black – down by the River

Ham House – built 1610 for Sir Thomas Vavasour, an official in James' I Court

Our granddaughter at the grand front entrance

 In the 'still room' – where they distilled perfumes and potions!


17th Century Formal Garden - Fashionable in Charles II time!