Tuesday, 2 December 2014

A Spitfire Flying Dray to Ferry Beer to France

This Spitfire was adapted to carry beer to France for the comfort of British troops serving in Normandy after D-Day:

Here's a close-up of the unusual jettison tanks:

The load was reportedly known as the Model XXX Depth Charge. Very witty.

Details of the aircraft and the reason for its modification can be read at Zythophile, here.


More photographs of this stylish, if rather heavily overworked (I don't like the polyurethane epoxy finish on the unpainted wood, or the chromed hull and deck fittings.) launch, at the Daily Mail.

Madelvic Horseless Carriage

This is another early electric vehicle, The Madelvic Horseless Carriage:

You can read about it here.

A Heilmann Horseless Carriage

This unusual machine consisted of an electric tractor unit coupled to a conventional horse drawn carriage. The electric tractor unit was designed by J. J. Heilmann, who also designed a very promising steam electric railway locomotive that used high speed steam reciprocating engines to power a generator but had the disadvantage that it required a crew of four, making it commercialy unviable.

The photograph was taken from Just a car guy (who found it at Philippe Boursin's French website HISTOIRE DE LA VOITURE ELECTRIQUE), which I found via Hemmings Daily.

A Nice Gaff

I could be very comfortable here.  I would have to live alone, of course, as a woman is highly unlikely to keep the place tidy or to resist the temptation to fill those shelves with glittery trash.

The picture was taken from here, as was this:

The house would benefit immeasurably from the more inspiring surroundings of a relatively unspoiled landscape.

The same images can be viewed at this site.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

French Army Kites for Reconnaissance

The kites were also capable of lifting a man in a wicker basket. They were, apparently, flown when windspeed reached ten metres per second, which, at thirty six kilometres per hour, or approximately twenty two and a half miles per hour, was too high for balloons. The idea of man lifting kites was conceived and developed by the American aviation pioneer Samuel Cody (see here) (1), who was employed by the War Office from 1894 onwards and who patented a design in 1901 with which he was towed across the channel by rowing boat in 1903. The British army began using man lifting kites for observation in 1906. However, according to this web site (Carnet de Vol), his attempt to interest the powers that were in powered aeroplanes was unsuccessful as the Imperial Defence Committee (Aerial Navigation) decided that such craft were of no military value.

The device looks like fun and a scale model of that rig might be an interesting project.

This is the aeroplane Cody presented to the Imperial Defence Committee in 1908:


1 Correction: I've discovered that Cody simply modified the kite designed by Lawrence Hargrave (see here, here and elsewhere) almost twenty years earlier, after emigrating to Australia. I think another post, about Hargrave, is necessary.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

A Spokeless and Hubless Wheeled Bicycle

I like it and would happily ride it.

Monday, 22 September 2014

Baby Bootlegger

The original:

and a copy (Turn off your sound unless you like whipped butter and double dipped lard with your lowest common denominator Country and Western.):

Part 1

Part 2

'To be continued.'

Saturday, 26 July 2014


I like the musical accompaniment to this:

Dieselpunk Jazz Music - Dieselfunk

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Vodafone: Bloody Awful - No Thanks

I've been an Orange customer for years, from the time Orange actually provided decent service, and have noted its steady decline over the years. However, things weren't bad enough to prompt a change of provider until EE took the company over. I'm not a mobile phone junkie - I can go for months without using my phone for anything more than checking the time - so being without a phone doesn't bother me but not unreasonably I consider that I should be able to use it when I need to, so I decided some time ago to change provider. I decided to try Vodafone and last night, on impulse, bought a SIM card, which I've just tried to use, which is far easier said, or written, than done. I can't do so without a network key, which is not provided with the SIM card, and obtaining it seems to be impossible. The web site - at which I cannot register without my phone number, which I cannot obtain until I can call a certain number, which I cannot do until I have topped up my account, which I cannot do without the network key - is useless.

The obvious solution was to call the Customer Service desk on our land line, which I did but Vodafone's automatic call router, or whatever it's called, stumped me. After listening to an irritating female voice, with a nearly hysterical edge, I began the interminable process of pressing buttons and listening to further useless messages, eventually coming to 'please enter your phone number now (or words to that effect). Press 'hash' if you do not have a number.' I pressed #, only to hear again 'please enter your phone number now. Press 'hash' if you do not have a number.' I pressed #, only to hear again 'please enter your phone number now. Press 'hash' if you do not have a number.' I pressed #, only to hear again 'please enter your phone number now. Press 'hash' if you do not have a number.' I pressed #, only to hear again 'please enter your phone number now. Press 'hash' if you do not have a number.' I pressed # and then I gave up.

The solution to my problem is of course to write off the £0.99 cost of the Vodafone SIM card as yet another of life's myriad small annoyances and move on, choosing another SIM card from another provider, although not Orange (now EE), whose lousy non-service prompted the abortive switch to Vodafone. That's the joy of the 'free market', isn't it: dissatisfied with product, service or provider A one can move on to product, service or provider B, although one can never recover the numerous wasted small sums nor obtain even a penny in compensation for the fruitless telephone calls, the frustration, stress and time wasted trying to use seriously flawed products and services. A more accurate term to describe what is laughably called the 'free market' is the spiv economy, in which customers are merely mugs to be swindled by wide-boys. I'll have a look at some forums before wasting another quid.

Saturday, 5 April 2014

The Mustangs: Leskiaidin Tyttaret

I've no idea what the bimbos think they are doing in the photographs, however, the tune is very nice:

Jim and The Beatmakers: My Only One

A little dated, musically , by 1965 but catchy none the less:

What Men Know that Women Don't

So much that is said about women in this video strikes a chord with my experiences:

Friday, 4 April 2014

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Tom Waites: 'Hold On'

This still sends shivers up and down my spine, and back and forth and round and round each and every rib:

Some years ago, when TMG and I lived in Berwick-upon-Tweed, I played this while consuming a considerable quantity of neat Plymouth gin, probably tinted with Angosturra Bitters - for years we were never without a bottle (those were the days), and, as is my habit still when in my cups, I put the track on endless play and worked my way doggedly towards oblivion. I recall, clearly, before I passed out, replying in like kind to the neighbour angrily banging on the wall, though which one in that jumbled mediaeval close I knew not. At some point TMG, perceiving that I had subsided into blissful unconsciousness and determined to succumb to the sleep spirits that tormented her, broke in to switch off the music. Had she not asked the following morning I might still be completely unaware that in pushing, with difficulty, the door open she twisted my neck through perhaps one hundred and twenty degrees, making frightening grinding and cracking sounds as she did so. It says something for her resolve, and that of most women, that she left me senseless there and went back to bed, there subsequently to enjoy an undisturbed night.

Eadweard Muybridge

By Edward Rose:

Movement One:

Movement Three:

Movement Four:

Movement Five:

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Who'd've Thought It? or What's In a Name?

Apart from stating that I do not recall Gene Vincent and The Bluecaps ever being described as a Rockabilly band, and observing that the term 'Rockabilly' seems these days to be thrown about indiscriminately, I'd offer my layman's opinion that the songs performed in this video sound as good as the originals.

If what was once called 'Rock 'n' Roll' (a term I have always disliked) is now to be habitually misnamed I may, as a long, long, long time Rockabilly afficianado, just get 'into' what I once disliked as 'Rock 'n' Roll'.

Thursday, 13 March 2014

A Picket Fence of Mirrors

I like that sort of thing. The picture was lifted without permission from Colossal. It can be found here.