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Author Topic: Cars, Trains, Guns and things  (Read 17197 times)

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Offline filmer01

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Re: Cars, Trains, Guns and things
« Reply #60 on: April 14, 2019, 17:57:04 »
I think that many of us have had cars or bikes that are now worth huge amounts that we either didn't buy, or bought and sold for pennies.

A pre-war Triumph Dolomite saloon, black with yellow wire wheels, that I didn't consider because I didn't know what it was, was just the start. The list is long...
Illegitimus nil carborundum

Offline smiffy

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Re: Cars, Trains, Guns and things
« Reply #59 on: April 14, 2019, 14:14:53 »
When I posed the question I had £5-£10 in mind as the original price :)

My brother in law restores classic British motorbikes as a hobby and the prices they can fetch nowadays are impressive, to say the least. In my teens I was offered an original D1 Bantam for £20. I turned it down of course - I mean, who would want an old thing like that, right?

Offline filmer01

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Re: Cars, Trains, Guns and things
« Reply #58 on: April 14, 2019, 09:07:49 »
As with all old cars, the prices are high, bearing in mind that these will be bought as a hobby/toy and usually their practicality is insignificant to the owner, especially if still using the original 80+ year old braking system - very scary 50years ago!

An abondoned project could be £1500, but with all manner of hidden costs to come. A virtually brand new creation to a high standard more like £20,000. Lots of others fill the gap between. Of course there are famous racing ones that will go for even more.

Mine was my sole form of transport, bought for £10, including spares. Sold (having rebuilt the engine that I blew up) for £25 plus £10 for the spares. Bargain.
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Offline smiffy

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Re: Cars, Trains, Guns and things
« Reply #57 on: April 13, 2019, 21:42:03 »
How much would you have to pay for one of these today in good condition, and how much did you hand over for yours all those years ago?

Offline filmer01

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Re: Cars, Trains, Guns and things
« Reply #56 on: April 13, 2019, 17:13:43 »
More Car stuff - just a short addition to the saga.

I was recently looking through the vast amount of old family photos and odd paperwork that is scattered around my house in search of incriminating documents for a forthcoming school reunion.

I found my original insurance cover note, and then the full documentation for my first car, the 1937 Austin Seven Special. Obviously it had the registration number DHY 715 in it, a detail that I had long ago forgotten.

On a wet afternoon I used Mr Google to help me find out if it survives. The Austin Seven Register spreadsheet knew of it, now re-registered as 805 UXG and now silver (not red) and part of the Devon club.

A couple of emails later and the very helpful Devon membership secretary was able to tell me that the owner is no longer a member, but he could help no more with current data protection.

Old MoT records showed that it was regularly tested, but they stopped as it is no longer required for such an old vehicle.

It is currently taxed, ending in October, so likely to be in use.

Viewing various images connected with Austin Sevens certainly revived my interest and the memories of messing about with my first car – the library sourced manual propped up in front of me as I reassembled the engine. And being very careful not to leave oily fingerprints on it, they would get very grumpy.

An advert for a silver special caught my eye, 1934 not 1937, but worth a look. Quite similar, but in the background poking from a garage, was another silver special – 805 UXG – gotcha!

The ad seems to come from an American website, referencing the ad’s source as eBay-uk, but no dates.

The car has lost its windscreen, and now has twin aero screens, a silver finish, and the radiator surround is a reddish orange. It looks to sit lower than the car being advertised.

Having been re-registered makes it likely to have been separated from its paperwork, (barn find?) and therefore been given an unused age-related number. I think that I would struggle to recognise that car as the one I owned 51years ago, as it has developed “Trigger Broom” syndrome (only 17 new heads and 14 handles) and been restored and remade beyond recognition.

Still it made me happy to find out that it continues, only 82years old, and its twisted and distorted big-end bolt still sits on its plinth where I glued it in 1968, and is on the shelf in front of me now.

There may be more...
Illegitimus nil carborundum

Offline filmer01

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Re: Cars, Trains, Guns and things
« Reply #55 on: August 15, 2018, 10:09:01 »
When I used to prowl the fields and hedgerows with dog and gun, I always carried a decent knife, usually my just-legal sheath knife that now is used to trim vegetables from the garden.

I kept a small tool kit that included a Swiss Army knife in my site survey bag as I found it too bulky to carry in a pocket, but an extremely useful miniature Leatherman multitool is always in my trouser pocket. It is especially useful for getting into parcels sealed with that extremely strong black tape favoured by a certain internet-based delivery organisation.
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Offline MartinR

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Re: Cars, Trains, Guns and things
« Reply #54 on: August 14, 2018, 20:29:41 »
I was at school in Bath, Somerset.  Around 1971/2 I can remember walking off to go camping, rucksack on my back, sheath knife hanging from my belt to the right and hand axe hanging to the left.  We weren't even in scout uniform.  To be allowed to use or wear a knife or axe you had to have passed your "knife & axe" badge, which if memory serves me aright consisted of making a wooden tent peg by chopping and whittling.  I assume if you had all 10 fingers at the end you passed.

To be fair though, context can be important.  About 22 years ago I could be seen wandering around the shore at Lakeside wearing a 7" sheath knife on my leg and with a concealed 3" knife tucked up my left sleeve - but then I was in a wet suit wearing SCUBA gear and carrying a pair of fins.  Would that be allowed now?  Diving in weed without a knife has another name: suicide.

Offline conan

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Re: Cars, Trains, Guns and things
« Reply #53 on: August 14, 2018, 19:37:44 »
Ahh,that brought back some memories of my own, slightly misspent, youth.

The bit about the motorcycle braking test reminded me of a chum of mine who was taking his test in Trowbridge when the examiner stepped out to conduct the emergency stop part he unfortunately stepped in front of the wrong bike and was run over, he told me he was heartily miffed as he had to take the test again due to the examiner being incapacitated.

Regarding the old button B phones, I to remember sometimes getting 4 pence out of them, but also being able to make free local calls by tapping the phone cradle with the number you wanted.
To remain ignorant of what happened before you were born is to remain a child......Cicero

Offline filmer01

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Re: Cars, Trains, Guns and things
« Reply #52 on: August 14, 2018, 14:26:17 »
And another thing….

I have been thinking about some of things that we were allowed, or even encouraged, to do in our past which are no longer available, or even illegal for the later generations. Even little things, like pressing button B every time we went past an old red telephone box, and sometimes you actually got someone’s 4d, so off to the sweet shop!

If reports are to be believed then there could be a reintroduction of the deposit on bottles. It certainly motivated many youngsters to collect them and get the deposits to be spent unwisely, usually in the sweet shop where the bottles had been taken. There were those who also mastered the art of collecting bottles from the rear of the shop then boldly marching round to the front to claim their reward.

In the Scouts we all carried at least a penknife. I still have a WW2 military one that I used to have hanging from the belt hook. However a sheath knife was far more desirable, and there is a photo of me at camp in Bedgebury, aged 11 with a such a knife on my belt.

Lock knives were encouraged as being safer than other folding knives, as they could not fold up without pressing some sort of release catch. They are still advocated as such in gardening circles, but walk out into the big wide world with one in your pocket and in law you have an offensive weapon, no excuses.

I use various axes (the joys of country living and foraging to feed a wood burner) and remember being taught in the Scouts how to carry and use both a hand and felling axe, then left to get on with it with just enough supervision from a more senior scout.

We had, and used, pea shooters and catapults. Most of my rural friends had an air rifle.

Obviously, talking weapons, my pistol shooting days are unrepeatable. I am pleased that I was able to teach both my sons to shoot, as I think that an appreciation of the weapon’s real life potential, rather than the screen portrayal is important. Luckily, in general, my generation has not had to learn this lesson the hard way from the wrong end of the barrel.

Back to the Scouts. The Bedgebury camp was on the private school part, and we went there and back in the back of a dropside lorry, sitting on our kitbags and tents. Seat belts? What seats!

I have always liked models that can do something to fire the imagination, even if it is only to float. I made a balsa wood boat at junior school, thin sheet over a frame to give a classic speedboat outline. This was painted once at home with a pale green gloss found in the garden shed.

After that, at school, I made a glider which successfully flew a couple of times but needed more push into the air. The plans showed two options, a catapult arrangement, or a Jetex motor. Give me a motor any day. A Jetex motor is a metal chamber less than half an inch diameter, with a spout end (like a single hole salt shaker) that unscrews. Mine took two pellets, again about half an inch long, and a piece of Jetex fuse was wound into a spiral, the end taken through a fine metal mesh which covered the pellets. The spout was screwed back on with the fuse protruding. The whole contraption clipped back into its holder on the glider, and the fuse lit, by an adult when at school. The chemical pellets burnt quickly but gave a short powerful push, all very jet-age in 1960.

A couple of landings soon showed up my flimsy workmanship and the glider was scrap.

However, at home I had an elastic band powered plane that didn’t go far. Jetex engine mounted to the top of the high winged monoplane, elastic wound up, fuse lit and it went like a bird. Tried it again to show parents, and the timing went awry, the elastic ran out a bit early and with the nose pointed down the Jetex cut in. The resulting spectacular crash was the undoing of that toy.

Mounted on the back of the speedboat the Jetex was amusing but difficult to deal with in a domestic bath!

The fuse burnt in a satisfying cartoon (think Road Runner) fashion, like a flexible miniature sparkler. It was put to many uses over the years, most involving explosions, some by fireworks, one or three by home made potions.

The fuse and pellets were easily bought at Beaney’s(?) model shop by the bottom of Ufton Lane in Sittingbourne. They probably came under the same regulations as the caps for our toy pistols, also bought from the same place.

Fireworks were eagerly anticipated and were only generally available just before November. My father was a huge fan and there was a ritual going to the shop to choose the display, which we held, every year, in the back garden. A Guy was always made with one of Dad’s old work boiler suits, stuffed gloves for hands, someone’s old shoes tied on and a brightly coloured papier mache mask from the shop over an old pillow case sewn up to form a head. An old hat finished him off.

The actual fireworks would look very tame to modern eyes, as there were no display quality offerings. However, we would have pockets stuffed with penny bangers (or even some 3d ones) and Jumping Jacks, which were usually set off behind either elderly neighbours or sisters.

Popping out from behind a tombstone with a torch pointing up under your face was a fairly common amusement at winter choir practice, but the added hiss of a lit banger, thrown by an accomplice, landing behind the victim was quite satisfying.

While I suspect that private model steam engine driving is still not a problem, I also suspect that the Safe and Elfty brigade would have kittens at the thought of a 12/13yr old spending hours hauling paying passengers as I did.

Three schoolfriends and I went on the Norfolk Broads for a week. We were only 18 and had a wonderful time. I can see why such bookings are now almost impossible.

The huge rate of attrition of young motorcyclists in the 1960s was quite understandable given the optional wearing of helmets, complete lack of formal tuition and a test procedure that I found at best comical. The tester told me to drive around the block (Bower Mount area of Maidstone) and on one of the roads he would step out with his clipboard held up, and I had to make an emergency stop as if a child had run out. I saw his feet under the parked cars, so when he appeared I had already slowed, and stopped so quickly, and so far from him, that he had to wave to me to come forward.

I had the pleasure, when recently punting around for car insurance renewal quotes, to be able to answer the nice young lady’s question of “how long have you held a full licence” with a simple “50years”. I checked, and the number of cars on the road has more than trebled in this time, which also goes a long way to explain the lack of parking. The convenience of pulling up outside the place that you wanted to go and being able to park there is long gone.

Even as a university student only a year or two after passing my test I had learned to parallel park with the best of them, as by then pressure on parking in Birmingham was starting to bite, even if Sittingbourne was a little behind.

I could stop off at my sister’s house near Northampton on my way to and from Birmingham and remember giving her and her three children (all then under 6) a lift back to Kent. The three of them sat on the back seat, gloriously unrestrained, shouting “faster Uncle John” as we came down the M1. My Morris 1000 was unable to comply.

Old cars have always held an attraction, and in the 1970s were mainly valued as usable and entertaining devices and not investments worth silly money. However many of the new vehicles of this period are now “classics”, even if their rarity is likely to be due their ability to rust into oblivion. Drive one now and rather than being transported (pun intended) back to those glorious days, many simply show how far we have come since then. Wipers that don’t lift off the screen at a modest speed, and effective washers rather than a hand held fairy liquid bottle out the open window for starters. Actually starters themselves. The clang of the inertia starter pinion hitting the ring gear on a Ford flywheel was quite distinctive!

Try a set of sealed beam headlamps instead of the halogen or LED ones now in use, they were dire. Of course these had replaced ordinary bulbed headlamps, and the 6volt versions were even worse. My father and grandfather both spoke in favour of the performance of pre-war acetylene lamps against the 1950s offerings.

Drum brakes, that would fade away when hot on a long descent. Servo assistance, well that would be along soon, but in the meantime your average family saloon did not stop well. The stopping distances in the Highway Code are quite long for today’s vehicles, but probably realistic back then. Although the Dunlop Maxaret aircraft anti lock braking system had been adapted for the Jensen Interceptor FF in the mid 60s, such was the cost and complexity that these systems remained out of reach to normal mortals for a couple of decades. When I went for a job interview at Girling in 1972 they were just getting into ABS research and development, obviously without major breakthrough as they were letting a bunch of freshly graduated engineers poke about and look all over their prototypes.

Every car now has power steering. Drive even a small car from the an earlier era and the weight of the steering is so high, normally coupled to an enormous thin rimmed steering wheel. The free play in the steering boxes meant that many wandered about, and were not so much steered, but aimed in a general direction. The early power steering units were often too light and direct giving no “feel” for what was happening to the front wheels. Hence our first year University project was to redesign the early XJ6 steering rack that was notoriously vague, and we were even helped and encouraged by its specialist manufacturers, Adwest.

At the time I really had no idea how lucky I had been in my education. I have previously mentioned that my first school was in the barracks huts of an old anti-aircraft battery at the top of Bettescombe Road Rainham. However they pushed me to high standards despite the rather basic surroundings.

The post war baby boom meant that more children needed to be accommodated into the education system, and to some extent this meant building new schools or extending existing ones, but also quite large class sizes. At least 40 per class throughout my junior school.

I found the 11+ relatively easy, and became one of the 52 pupils admitted to the two first year forms at Borden Grammar School. Whilst I do not wish to get into a political debate on schools, I can merely observe that I found it a system that generally suited me, and with boys from hugely diverse backgrounds.

As with many schools it would seem, there was a lack of useful careers advice. It mainly consisted of a room full of old university prospectuses, military careers booklets and a few “Janet and John” level pamphlets of what was needed for actual job descriptions.

Actual careers advice, rather than what and where to study next, from a teacher who had done nothing other than train then teach, was a little thin. Even the selection of subjects to study, first at O Level, then A Level was a bit hit and miss. Time tabling was the first hurdle, as the core subjects for obvious combinations needed to be available. This also meant that taking some subjects excluded others. You could not do Physics and Art I remember, and I was quite good at Art.

Although I wanted to be an engineer my science subjects curiously meant that I could not do Technical Drawing. Luckily my interest in model engineering had led me to learn how to read drawings, but did not prepare me for actually having to produce them at University. We were taught using free-standing drawing boards, that were angled up towards the rear. No parallel motion systems, just a Tee Square (I still have, and occasionally use, mine) and set squares. Knowing how to correctly sharpen the 2B pencils to get the proper line thickness was a black art. Computer aided design? – the computers were all housed in air-conditioned rooms and were the size of a range of kitchen units. Calculators were slide rules or log tables and a pencil and paper.

We went from using c.g.s. metric measurements where the base units were Centimetre, Gramme, Second, to m.k.s. which use Metre, Kilogramme, Second. Very confusing as certain important constants change magnitude between the two systems.

Just to finish me off, when I got to university it changed over to S.I. (Systeme International) units. Thereafter the metric system and I have had a fairly shaky relationship. I was probably not alone, a large picture of a be-wigged gentleman in a frock coat clutching a Thompson machine gun, posed as the famous photo of Churchill, was displayed in the Mechanical Engineering Students Common Room, captioned as “One Killer Newton”.

[Note - One Kilonewton (one thousand Newtons) is the SI unit of force equivalent to 224.81 pounds force, but you all knew that anyway…]

Housing was simpler for most. I joined a house share near Meopham, and when the leaseholder moved on for a job promotion I simply asked the agents if I could take it over from her. Having done so, as long as the rent was paid and the neighbours didn’t complain, we were left in peace. My sub-tenants came and went over the next four years without the agents having any knowledge of who they were. Now each occupant must be vetted (usually at a cost) before the agents will approve them, and then they will be added to the lease with equal rights and responsibilities as the original tenant.

However, of the two tenants of the house in Gillingham that my sisters and I inherited from our grandfather, one was a Controlled Tenant, the other a Regulated Tenant. In practice this legal protection meant that we received a pittance in rent, which in turn meant that we had no money to make improvements, and because we could apply to have a new rent if we did improve the property, the tenants were quite happy with the status quo.

Lastly, communications. If you have handwriting like mine, when at times even I don’t know what is written, then word processing is a dream. I have used various programs for work since 1984 and to be able to revise what has already been written would have altered my ability to provide legible history essays. This was a subject that fascinated me but because everything was driven by written essay style work I did not do well and lost interest in the subject at school.

I found myself saying “answers on a postcard” the other day. Since when has any programme asked for written replies? It is all now so immediate, go online or text, and vote now…

A photo dated 1924 shows my grandfather at the wheel of his Bull-nosed Morris Oxford. On the back is written “The good old days”. I suspect that the warm glow of nostalgia makes us all think that way from whichever point the perspective is taken.
Illegitimus nil carborundum

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.
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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 :)
Illegitimus nil carborundum

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.

 

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