Friday, 19 December 2014

Around the world Laser

No this isn't about the latest record attempt, the laser in question most probably sailed in some exotic locations when it traveled around the world aboard HMS Illustrious.

It's certainly well traveled and even if it wasn't under it's own sails most of the time it's a boat with a unique history.

Looking a bit sad and neglected it's up for sale, I have the phone number of the seller if anyone's interested.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

London Lights

We took Joseph up to London to see a few of the Christmas sights and lights. Joseph was very determined to see Big Ben and the House of Parliament, back in November at school they'd been learning about Guy Fawkes and the gunpowder plot, the sort of history subject that fascinates five year olds.

The organised queue outside Westminster Abbey was just too much so we went into the adjacent and delightful St Margaret's Church where and there was an organ recital. I reluctantly complied with the no photography signs, but if you visit, the stained glass windows on the east side depict the funeral of Admiral Robert Blake 1657 with the most detailed and exquisite depiction of the Thames and Westminster Abbey.

A little later in Trafalgar Square, Joseph was showing no interest in the giant blue chicken,  rather he was treating our most famous monument as a playground along with the other kids.

The winter market in the South bank was great and Joseph watched fascinated as a street performer lay on a bed of nails in Covent Garden.

As it stared to get dark we walked up through Leicester Square and Piccadilly Circus to see the lights in Regent Street. It was very, very crowded and the lights were really underwhelming. The most disappointing visit was Hamley's the world famous toy shop which was manically crowded, run down and had five floors of mostly tat, I know it's been about 50 years since I went there as a child but I remember it being very different, even Joseph wasn't that interested.

On the way back we got off the tube (another exciting first for Joseph) at Embankment and walked across the bridge to see a terrific view of the lights on the South bank, where we stopped off for a glass of mulled wine before catching the train home

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Cold Bursledon morning

By the time it got light and I dragged myself out of the house it was after 8.00 AM so not an especially early morning run, but with clear skies all night the ground was covered in a white frost.

Light rain was predicted and sure enough as I write this back at home with my morning coffee it's just started a light drizzle which is washing the frost away.

The past few weeks at work have been crazy, 16 hour days and even two all night'ers, so the opportunity to get out, slow down and feel in touch with the surroundings is wonderful, I think in Zen it's called mindfulness, taking time to experience and appreciate all the things around  you, family , our home, the changing river, winter wildlife, the pale lemon yellow winter sun starting to show through the trees, the hot warming coffee after the exertion of the run: a continuous, clear awareness of the present moment.

Saturday, 13 December 2014

Did we get weather bombed?

It was windy through Thursday night and Friday morning, rain was lashing the windows and rattling the slates on the roof, even though we're tucked in the lee of a hill and a row of majestic chestnut trees for protection.

Gusts were consistently 50knots and above, it was definitely a nigh for staying in and the last place I'd want to be is out at sea. But weather bomb? Where did that phrase come from? More like the sort of winter weather you expect on the coast when a big winter depression comes through.

Friday, 12 December 2014

Bursledon brick works - winter open day

The heritage museum which is the old Bursledon brick works  site had a pre Christmas winter open day, the weather was fine and surprisingly warm hitting 12 degrees in the midday sunshine.

It's been 2 years since we visited and the program of open day events has clearly become popular judging by the visitor numbers. There was a good turn out of steam engines, stream rollers and traction engines including the lovely Katrina above.

The Hampshire Narrow Gauge trust were running Wendy their full size narrow gauge steam engine on the "main line" and hauling packed trips on the miniature 7.5" gauge with live steam.

There was a selection of immaculately restored stationary engines, including this one running the "magic tap".

The museum is very much work in progress, recording the local industrial archaeology, there's lots of interesting rescued equipment waiting to be restored. One of my favorites is the Kibbler, there was no explanation as to it's purpose, but it's clearly powerful and what a great name.

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Norwalk Island Shaprie - Bella

I've been intrigued by the Norwalk island Sharpies for a long time, designed by Bruce Kirby perhaps better known for his Laser design. Apparently the Norwalk Islands Sharpies are evolved from  American east coast working boats which needed to be fast, safe, economical, and easily handled,
 could go out in all weathers gathering oysters and then run breaking bars to get the catches to market as early as possible. The boats were all more or less flat bottomed, vee sided and unstayed cat ketch rigged.

The modern epoxy ply boats are lightly built and some are fitted with carbon fiber masts.while the type evolved for speed in shallow water there have been some remarkable deep water voyages most famously Robert Ayliffe's crossing of the Bass Straight in his NIS 23 Charlie Fisher.

Fast, easy to handle and shoal draft, sounds like a great cruising boat for the waters of the Solent especially if you want to get away from the crowds with their deep keels.

Norwalk Island Sharies are few and far between in the UK, but Bella has been on the river for a two or three years. If the owners are readers I'd love the opportunity to see how one sails, if you need a crew one afternoon drop me an email.

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Blogger Challenge

A box arrived by carrier, it's dimensions 9" tall, 7" wide and 4" deep, neither of us could think what we had ordered online that would fit those dimensions, what could it be?

Can you guess or maybe you have already received one?