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Author Topic: Cars, Trains, Guns and things  (Read 7354 times)

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Offline filmer01

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Re: Cars, Trains, Guns and things
« Reply #51 on: March 02, 2018, 17:21:24 »
Another picture found, this is the range at Rochester Airport, taken from a pistol firing point. The upper target level and sand trap is for the 50m rifle range behind and above. The range is still clearly visible on Google satellite immediately behind the main hanger, and parallel to it.
Illegitimus nil carborundum

Offline filmer01

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Re: Cars, Trains, Guns and things
« Reply #50 on: March 02, 2018, 16:38:34 »
While "tidying" some old photos away, I found a few interesting ones, among which was this of my four pistols.

Clockwise from bottom left:

Unique model DES69 .22LR target pistol, with high grade commercial rimfire lead ammunition. The front of the barrel has an optional weight attached, this minimises the effect of recoil during the timed series of the U.I.T. Standard Pistol Competition for which this gun was designed. The adjustable palm rest enables you to almost lock the gun onto your hand, while ensuring a consistent grip every time.

Colt Gold Cup .45ACP, with reloaded jacketed round nosed ammunition. This is based on the standard military weapon, but is made to far tighter tolerances, better materials and with target sights and trigger.

Smith and Wesson Model 52, with reloaded .38Special wadcutter target ammunition. This is a dedicated target weapon, only firing the flat nosed wadcutter ammunition that is designed to give clear holes in cardboard targets.

Smith and Wesson Model 19 revolver, with reloaded .357 Magnum semi jacketed ammunition. A development of a Police weapon, but to better tolerances and with wide spur target hammer and trigger.

The last three all have rubber Pachmayr grips to replace the standard, slippery wooden ones for better control.
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Offline Sentinel S4

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Re: Cars, Trains, Guns and things
« Reply #49 on: January 28, 2018, 09:26:16 »
Well thank you kind sir, but there is no chance of me writing a book, I found this hard enough.

There may be another instalment of all those things that I forgot to mention, but I have yet to remember them :)


Well put Sir. I also have the problem that many of those I should include are still very much alive and there could be trouble for some. Not legal but social trouble along the lines of the Navy Toast 'To our Wives and Girlfriends, may they never meet....'.

Sentinel S4.

A day without learning something is a day lost and my brain is hungry. Feed me please.

Offline JohnWalker

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Re: Cars, Trains, Guns and things
« Reply #48 on: January 27, 2018, 18:08:57 »
Thank you Filmer01.  I've thoroughly enjoyed your writings much of which I can identify with.

JW

Offline filmer01

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Re: Cars, Trains, Guns and things
« Reply #47 on: January 27, 2018, 13:51:02 »
Well thank you kind sir, but there is no chance of me writing a book, I found this hard enough.

There may be another instalment of all those things that I forgot to mention, but I have yet to remember them :)
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Offline lordraglan

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Re: Cars, Trains, Guns and things
« Reply #46 on: January 26, 2018, 23:25:37 »
Filmer01, Your style of writing is beautiful - Keep doing this and seriously consider writing a book about your adventures - I would buy it.

Offline filmer01

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Re: Cars, Trains, Guns and things
« Reply #45 on: January 19, 2018, 17:45:11 »
Other Things

Music

I have a vague memory of an early music lesson (aged 6ish) where we had a large sheet of symbols on the wall in the Hall of the Camp School in Rainham, and the appropriate drum, cymbal, triangle or other noise making thing to bang or shake were meant to be hit at the moment indicated. I always got the triangle, but really, really, wanted the drum. I have great sympathy for Baldrick in the opening credits of Blackadder 4.

My mother was a competent pianist and there was always a piano in the house, only superseded by an electronic organ when she moved back to Rainham to a small bungalow. Although I never learned to play I knew the keys.

At Barrow Grove school I learnt to play the recorder, and although I only ever played the descant recorder, once we had progressed other pupils were playing ones with lower registers. My first introduction to playing in harmony. I learnt to read music crudely, but I could get by.

I joined the Church Choir at Newington, and although not a particularly strong voice, I could sing quite well. I went to a couple of RSCM (Royal School of Church Music) day courses in Canterbury, then on a week long residential course at their then headquarters at Addington Palace in Croydon. This took place during the first week of January 1963, so leisure activities consisted mainly of digging our way out to the road and snowball fights.

I went to another in the summer, that I remember best for a group of us sight-reading (singing something without any practice) the Hallelujah Chorus, just for fun.

Weddings were a useful source of income. Half a crown a time, sometimes twice some Saturdays, was very welcome boost to my pocket money.

Fashions in church matters in the 60s were best demonstrated by the binding of the couples hands in the wedding service (as in Princess Margaret's service) and, of course, the dropping of the "obey" promise. At Christmas the service of carols and lessons from Kings College was on the radio, then TV and copied everywhere. Inevitably this meant the unaccompanied singing of the first verse of  "Once in Royal David's City" by a single voice, from the back of the church before the whole choir began singing, now with the organ, as they walked in procession slowly up the aisle to their places.

Lance did the solos, but on the day he had flu. I get really nervous and self conscious, so not me then. However there was nobody else that I could con into doing it, so after a rather faltering start it was, as they say, alright on the night.

I occasionally played the recorder both as part of the choir, and soloist.

Because our choir was regularly involved in courses we were invited to send two choristers to the RSCM Festival. This was held at St Paul's Cathedral, and as I was now Head Chorister, I went with Lance, my Second. It was very inspiring, and not a little daunting, but with nearly 300 voices it was impressive, especially the echo! I still have my Order of Service and all the music.

Shortly afterwards my voice began to break and my choristers career as a treble was over.

When I first joined the choir, the organ was located in the South Chapel, which meant that the organist could see the choir through a mirror and even then only through some tracery, very unsatisfactory. Shortly after that the organ was rebuilt, and this time the console was sited remotely between the pews and the choir. Much better as the organist could then see directly what was happening in the chancel and could conduct the choir better. I made a scale model of this part of the organ that did well in both the school model competition and one in Rainham.

While the organ was in bits across the pews we all tried blowing the large wooden bass pipes and generally being a nuisance. I cannot recall the company of organ builders, but they must have been asked to remove the Sheerness Dockyard Church organ, and the choir went to "help" by carrying pipes out to the van. To us it was just a day out with sandwiches and lemonade.

I kept in touch with the organist and choirmaster as he was the builder of the steam locos, and who was teaching me basic metalwork to maintain his and then start to build my own. After a dispute with the then Vicar, he had resigned from Newington and was now organist at St Bartholomew's at Herne Bay. The catch was there was no proper organ.

An old tracker action (purely mechanical) organ was dismantled and removed from Hollingbourne church by professional organ builders, we were simply the labourers. Although the bellows had long ago been fed from an electric blower, the wooden hand pump lever was still in situ and could be used. On the panelling next to it was a carefully carved image of a WW2 fighter.

The organ was taken to Herne Bay and its rebuilding was started into the organ loft above the chancel of this 20th Century church. The plan was to rebuild it as an electro-mechanical instrument. Every Saturday I picked Graham up in my Morris Minor and we went and spent the day working on the organ. Some pieces he could work on at home such as building pneumatic servos to operate the stops (ranks of pipes, each with a different sound). Some old wooden parts had paper gaskets between them with copperplate handwriting on it, recycling is not new!

There was now a basic organ that could be used. I was merrily sitting on top of the thing inserting pipes, wearing a boiler suit, hat, scarf and gloves because of the dust, when I glanced down the church. People! In response to my question as why they were there, Graham replied that there was a wedding at 3pm, but that was ages yet. No, his watch had stopped, it was five to three, so I took a bow off the top of the organ, and positioned myself next to the instrument. What we had not refitted were the servos for the stops, so I became them for the day. With an agreed code, I worked the few available stops (sliding boards that opened up that rank of pipes to air from the bellows if the key was pressed) while Graham played. It all seemed to go alright, he got paid, and I got a work out.

Tuning the beast was boring but very satisfying at the same time. The older pipes were tuned by expanding (belling out) their mouths to effectively shorten them, or closing them to make them longer. With soft lead alloy pipes this is relatively easy but also easy to crack the lead. Later pipes have sliding end pieces, much simpler. As the pipes had been moved, stored in the church, then moved up into the organ loft, atmospherics meant many were out of tune when first assembled. The first rank had been tuned from a single pipe, that was itself tuned to a tuning fork. Once that rank was stable it became easier. When two identical notes are not quite correctly tuned there will be beats (pulses of sound as the two frequencies clash), and tuning by ear is to remove these beats. Very time consuming.

I left him to it when I went off to University, I have not been back, I really must.

I continued singing in the school choir, some major works were attempted, but by far the most enjoyable (on many levels) were the Gilbert & Sullivan operas that we did with the nearby Girls school. The great attraction was that all the rehearsals and performances were at the Girls school. Rehearsals started in the autumn term, then soloists were chosen who did even more rehearsal. By mid way through the spring term we could sing it all, from memory. By Easter we were on stage and starting to get the theatrical bits sorted. Once exams were passed in the summer much time was spent just getting it right, again and again.

The sets were designed and painted by the girls art classes. A couple of all day run throughs during the summer holidays, then at the start of the autumn term it was performed. The costumes were hired, we did a full dress rehearsal. after a few minor checks, then performed to a paying audience for three or four nights. I did four productions. The Mikado (chorus), Ruddigore (Old Adam), Iolanthe (Lord Mount Ararat) and Pirates of Penzance (Sergeant of Police). The last one meant me missing a couple of days of the University Freshers Week to come back and perform.

I have not sung in public since.

Music is still important, but I listen when the fancy takes me, to what I fancy listening to at the time. This could be Bach Toccata and Fugue in d minor on an organ, or the Sky version. Glenn Miller, some serious opera or Rock Music and any and everything in between.

Odds and Sods (various memories)

Going to our neighbours to watch a flickering little TV set with a magnifying glass device over the screen, and having to draw the heavy curtains at my Grandparent's house so we could watch Bill and Ben. 

The joy when walking back home from school and realising that there was a TV aerial on the chimney of OUR house 1957?

My Grandfather telling me about Trojan cars with solid tyres getting stuck in the tram lines mind you he told me about quite a few things that Mr Google leads me to disbelieve!

Pre school age, sitting on the back doorstep with my mother sharing a pomegranate as the daughter of a greengrocer she had eaten them as a special treat.

Waiting for "Listen with Mother" to come on the radio, with its distinctive "pinky-pong, pinky-pong" theme.

Watching the moon landing with my grandfather who was born 19years before the Wright Brothers hopped along in a biplane, and not expecting anything like that sort of advance in my lifetime, what else would we do?

The two most popular shows in the Students Union TV room (circa1970) The Magic Roundabout, and Star Trek, the latter to various (mostly amusing) comments, especially to the line "lock onto his co-ordinates".

Working on my Morris Minor one sunny day and hearing the roar of aero engines, looked up to see many Spitfires and Hurricanes as the filming of The Battle of Britain went on overhead. Followed by going indoors to tell my mother, when the noise started again, "they're back" I cried, and a very solemn mother replied, "those aren't ours". A quick dash outside, and no they were not.

Later living near Headcorn we saw many historic aircraft, I think that we must have been under some flight path that they used. We were also treated to the annual visit by a WW2 fighter to display over the old Headcorn airfield (Egerton Forstal) in their tribute to the fallen. They would sometimes turn over us to return for another pass that spine tingling engine noise...

I was frequently mocked for running out into the garden because of some aero engine noise, especially if I thought it was a Merlin. I rushed out because there was more than one and was rewarded by my only glimpse of a flying Mosquito, possibly my favourite aeroplane.

We went to Duxford as a family, I had my 35mm camera, and used a whole 36exposures, hoping to relive the visit with my sons once the pictures were developed. I had spent the whole day snapping away and the film had never engaged, not a single picture. I do love digital!

Watching the Lancaster from the Battle of Britain flight heave itself around at very (to me) low level over the field behind our house as it turned for another run at Headcorn was impressive, even to my eldest son who is not really a plane person.

I am not good at heights (or boats for that matter) but gladly followed as a chase vehicle while my wife and her friend went up in a small hot air balloon from Headcorn, following them over past Staplehurst, and watching in awe of his control while the pilot kept it just a few feet off the ground while they got the farmer's permission to land.

This was not a commercial flight, the two brothers (both very practical farmers) who owned the balloon were well known to Sally's friend and they liked to have three or four people with them as ballast. A few weeks later and late on a Saturday Sally had a phone call, did she want to go up again tomorrow? And would I go as well, as the friend was otherwise busy. With some bravado I said yes, then spent a sleepless night regretting it. 6am at Headcorn and we took off in the misty dawn. Very impressive and enjoyable, and home for a late breakfast. Our pilot had heavily annotated maps (where to avoid because of angry farmers, livestock and temporary hazards such as cranes, spring to mind) a GPS to confirm his position, radio to the chase car with trailer, and another to the aerodrome.

We often saw the larger balloons, some even landed in the field behind us, but I was never tempted again.
Illegitimus nil carborundum

Offline Mike S

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Re: Cars, Trains, Guns and things
« Reply #44 on: December 29, 2017, 23:00:47 »
I can remember when I lived in Rochester 1956 -1961 seeing the Night Ferry passing through at approximately 7 am when I was doing my paper round. BB or WC piloted by an L1. Just loved to see this with the Wagon Lits Coaches. It was just so different to the normal Electric Suburban Units or the Steam  hauled Express trains.

Offline Sentinel S4

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Re: Cars, Trains, Guns and things
« Reply #43 on: December 29, 2017, 22:43:50 »
The Night Ferry certainly had the Wagon Lit cars, also a big head board as well. I think the Arrow left Victoria at 10am for Dover, hence my question. If you saw the train in the morning it was probably the Night Ferry, almost always hauled by a Bullied in later years (even when the `Britannias' were on the Arrow). The Merchant Navy class did not often need a pilot (extra loco at the front) but they normally put an L or L1 on the front of a West Country/Battle of Britain class.

Very much enjoying your writing, and stopping on a down grade with slippery rail is certainly a black art. I am a regular Driver on a very private line (a little bigger than the 31/2" but not by a huge amount) and have got used to stopping with only the tender brakes. One of our locos has a six wheel tender the other a bogie tender. However a third loco that visits has a steam brake and oh the luxury of that. I believe that next season we should have the steam brake working on one of ours and the vacuum brake on the other. I know well the gut churning feeling when the brakes bite and the wheels pick up and slide....... We have a turntable and pit at the end of the line, ground level...... 'nuff said... For the last runs this year we were visited by a society and we managed to get the steam brake working for the day, makes one hell of a difference.

S4.
A day without learning something is a day lost and my brain is hungry. Feed me please.

Offline filmer01

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Re: Cars, Trains, Guns and things
« Reply #42 on: December 29, 2017, 17:43:44 »
S4, I have had no contact with Bantam Cock's builder for over 40years. When I last knew him he was building a 5inch GWR 0-6-0 saddle tank to the Speedy design. I never saw it finished. There was a brake on the front bogie of the passenger truck, which had the driver's weight over it, but precious little effect! Stopping distances at Mote Park coming down the bank with a couple of loaded carriages, were a black art. Because of my age I only drove on quiet days, but on busy days there were many others leaving oil and water all over the track, just where you needed to stop.

I think that the Golden Arrow must have used the north line for a while, although possibly not daily, it was certainly kitted out with the insignia, and being on a high embankment only 150feet away, clearly visible. Unfortunately I cannot remember exactly when this was, but I would think early 1960s. Were there any major trackworks on the SER line then, there certainly had been on "our" line, that might have needed a reroute?

On the other hand the ageing brain may be confusing the occasional appearance of the Golden Arrow with the regular Night Ferry. Would that be hauling blue(?) "Wagon Lit" coaches?

Peterchall pedantic? Heaven forbid - merely a seeker of truth and accuracy  :)
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Offline Sentinel S4

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Re: Cars, Trains, Guns and things
« Reply #41 on: December 27, 2017, 21:22:06 »
Very interesting Filmer01. What happened to Bantam Cock? Looks like it was a good loco, good fun stopping small stuff sans brakes, try it on the 9 inch gauge with a four cylinder King (almost my favourite) or a four cylinder Lord Nelson (my favourite) five cars on a down grade with only a tender hand brake... You soon learn loco handling and stopping distances. Would that have been the Night Ferry rather than the Arrow on the Up first thing? The Arrow was mainly routed via the former SER main through Ashford, whilst the Night Ferry was almost always routed over the former LCDR main, often the Bullied would be piloted by either an L or L1 4-4-0 (very occasionally a D1 or an E1 if Dover were short).

Damn, I'm becoming Peterchall! Sorry for being a bit pedantic, I have thoroughly enjoyed your writing so far.

Regards, S4.
A day without learning something is a day lost and my brain is hungry. Feed me please.

Offline filmer01

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Re: Cars, Trains, Guns and things
« Reply #40 on: December 27, 2017, 17:56:59 »
Conan, we felled our only pear tree for the same reason. However the huge cherry plum tree that importantly had my tree house in it (actually not a house, just a platform) produced a couple of hundredweight every other year. Squashed fruit under the tree attracted wasps for miles around. I still cannot face a cherry plum, we had them every way a 1950s cook could think of, and some.
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Offline filmer01

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Re: Cars, Trains, Guns and things
« Reply #39 on: December 27, 2017, 17:50:57 »
filmer01. It strikes me that whatever you did for a living was wasted when you could have been a horticulturist. Talk about GREEN fingers; 100 cu's from one plant, etc., etc. A lot of people would have given their eye teeth for that sort of success.

But what I didn't say was how many times they all died! But seriously, we lived opposite a garden centre and these were the plants (in pots, never had any success with seed) that we picked up from the display. I found a photo of a whiteboard that I kept score on the next year (I had forgotten that) - only 98!

After that it all went downhill, very fast.
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Offline conan

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Re: Cars, Trains, Guns and things
« Reply #38 on: December 26, 2017, 19:58:03 »
Ahh, that took me back to my childhood. My parents also had a large garden and small orchard and I can remember harvesting the apples, pears and plums in the autumn, the apples being individually wrapped in newspaper and stored in wooden crates, the plums were bottled in Kilner Jars and the pears (only one tree) were eaten, given away or made into wine as they wouldn't keep. Lord, I hated picking pears, they were full of drunken wasps :)
To remain ignorant of what happened before you were born is to remain a child......Cicero

Offline Dave Smith

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Re: Cars, Trains, Guns and things
« Reply #37 on: December 26, 2017, 18:00:21 »
filmer01. It strikes me that whatever you did for a living was wasted when you could have been a horticulturist. Talk about GREEN fingers; 100 cu's from one plant, etc., etc. A lot of people would have given their eye teeth for that sort of success.

 

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