Monthly archives: May 2009

Tweets today

23:21 Blog: Tweets today #

23:35 All the best freaks are here. #

23:40 It’s school disco quality in Fab cafe. #

00:00 Tassels! #

00:10 We may have slipped into a parallel fancy dress universe. I’m enjoying it. #

09:36 The banoffee pie is Damian proof! #

11:22 Blog: Transformed and GI Blues prints #

13:55 Remind me to look for apple and bacon pie recipes. #

14:26 There is no such thing as pointless bacon. #

16:20 Blog: We can haz pie? #

16:20 Blog: JOE129 is on Pariser lawn #

20:21 Blog: Alex found a bacon and apple pie recipe #

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Tweets today

23:22 Blog: Tweets today #

23:46 The TV has been unplugged because of the disconcerting smell of ionised air when it was turned on. #

00:14 I shall tell you more tomorrow #Transformers #

13:22 Blog: Levenshulme’s Little Ghost Town #

15:02 First pie for the piecnic is in the oven. Breaking for home made crisps then starting on the banoffee. #

15:21 Blog: La Resistance #

15:41 Dad-dancing around the kitchen to an easy listening version of the Hawaii 5-0 theme. #

16:23 Blog: Kittens! #

16:23 Blog: I know you little libertine #

16:48 Pie 1 may not have worked. Banoffee should be done tomorrow to keep from being soggy. Pie activities for the day are thus ended. #

18:22 Blog: Car with Banksy style stencils #

19:47 They’re stealing all the chairs! #

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Car with Banksy style stencils 1

I doubt they were done by the man himself, I’m sure he’d have covered more of the car. Spotted on Thomas Street.

I know you little libertine

Check check check
One two

Spitting in a wishing well
Blown to hell crash
I’m the last splash

I know you little libertine
I know you’re a real coocoo

Want you coocoo cannonball
Want you coocoo cannonball
In the shade, in the shade
In the shade, in the shade

I know you little libertine
I know you’re a cannonball

I’ll be your whatever you want
The bong in this reggae song

In the shade, in the shade
Want you coocoo cannonball
Want you coocoo cannonball

Spitting in a wishing well
Blown to hell
I’m the last splash

I’ll be your whatever you want
The bong in this reggae song

Want you coocoo cannonball
Want you coocoo cannonball
In the shade, in the shade

Breeders – Cannonball

La Resistance

From the Steam Geek archives-

Not about technology, but interesting. The Covert Side of Reconstructing History.

This work will allow the novice re-enactor of Resistance and Special Operations Executive agents to select clothing and accoutrements appropriately — with historical accuracy. The portrayal of civilians — whether clandestine operatives or real civilians — in World War II reenactment circles has been the topic of hot debate, as some reenactors in the past have been, shall we say, less than exemplary in their chosen impression. We intend to change that. The organisation which sponsors this work reveres historical accuracy. The best way to achieve accuracy is through thorough and often cumbersome research, from which conclusions are drawn and standards adopted. Since this method has been followed, therefore, all the following conclusions may be considered accurate. By no means does this imply that the following are dogma, never to be gainsaid. If new information and research is brought to our attention, we shall at once join the queue to peruse it. If we, after the normal course of debate, find our earlier conclusions to be faulty, we will change them. We (especially Bob, who can barely read) do not pretend to be PhD-level experts on WWII-era fashion, textiles, and such; we just follow the pictures.

In a similar vein- the Churnet Valley Railway 1940s weekend.

Levenshulme’s Little Ghost Town

Little Ghost Town, originally uploaded by spinneyhead.

When I lived in Levenshulme in my second year, oh so long ago, I would regularly pass a model village in the front garden of a local house. It was a jolly little place, well looked after and with lights in the windows at night.

I’d forgotten all about it until I passed it again earlier this year. Like too many places, Little Levy had fallen on hard times. Windows had been smashed, doors were kicked in and the roofs had been stripped or destroyed. It was a sad sight. I took a few pictures and vowed to come back and find out more.

Yesterday I knocked on the door of the house and asked if I could take some pictures. This must happen often because the lady I talked to commented to her son that “It’s about the little villge again.” The house had been empty for a few years, during which time its garden had been vandalised. The current owners have yet to do anything with the ghost town they’ve inherited.

The set of photos I took of the little ghost town is on Flickr.

Tweets today

01:24 Blog: Tweets today #

10:29 @grimnorth For The Win, so I’m told. I had to ask a few months ago. #

10:34 Fuck! My new (second hand) laptop has a shafted cursor jumping all over the screen. I’ve only had it a couple of weeks! #

12:22 Blog: Fairey Rotodyne #

13:22 Blog: The Beach Pneumatic Subway System #

13:22 Blog: Daddy Long Legs #

15:22 Blog: Bizarre Ships of the Nineteenth Century #

17:49 Fundy Royale- we’re going to put all the religious extremists on an island and let them kill each other. #

19:09 Honeymoon in Auschwitz. #

19:30 Caged badger on the top bunk! #

20:08 Chopsticks for anorexics #

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Bizarre Ships of the Nineteenth Century

From the Steam Geek archives-

Round3 Cigar6

A terrible thing happened to me late last year. Whilst walking through the Central Library I passed a shelf with a sign on it saying “All books 50p”.

I bought a lot of them.

Most of the books have subject matter suitable for Steam Geek, so I’m going to start scanning some of the images from them and posting them here.

First up is Bizarre Ships of the Nineteenth Century by John Guthrie. Published by Hutchinson Scientific and Technical in 1970. From the Editor’s Note-

This series of books is primarily intended to be of interest to those professionally concerned with the design, construction and operation of ships and other marine vehicles. Many remarkable changes are now taking place in the size, shape, speed and capability of conventional ships of all types, while hovercraft, hydrofoil ships and other unusual vessels are beginning to have a striking effect on the maritime scene. Technical staff and management increasingly need up-to-date design data and specialist information on a wide range of topics, and it is hoped that most books in the series will be of direct value to them, and to many students at universities and technical colleges.

In addition to specialist monographs and student textbooks, the series also includes books having a broad appeal to all those who want to know more about the fascinating variety of craft which can be seen in ports, on rivers and at sea: this book is one of that group. Its principal purpose is to remind us of some of the odd and highly unorthodox vessels which have played a minor but not inglorious role in the development of the modern ship. This chapter of nautical history is easily overlooked and often decried, but many of the freak ships built a century ago taught a technical lesson which had to be learnt the hard way and which is not always fully understood even to-day. Quite apart from its professional value, this story of the mostly unsuccessful, but always brave, attempts of bold inventors and enthusiastic cranks has a personal appeal which is difficult to resist. It is written simply and directly by a ship surveyor with a lifelong experience of all types of craft and an enduring passion for the telling details which are essential to a real understanding of the way in which ships, large or small, successes or failure, matter to the men who design and build them and then risk their lives to test their belief in something different.

Daddy Long Legs

From the Steam Geek archives-

It’s a good day for steampunk at BoingBoing. As well as the pneumatic underground they also point to the Brighton and Rottingdean Seashore Elecric Railway, which operated between 1896 and 1901. The carriage was mounted on legs so that it stood 24 feet above the submerged rails. At high tide it could manage no more than 2 miles per hour and required a qualified sea captain, life boats and other rescue equipment at all times because it was travelling in the sea.

The Beach Pneumatic Subway System

From the Steam Geek archives-

The Beach Pneumatic Subway System was an early rapid transit plan for New York. For various reasons it failed and only a few hidden mementoes and original documentation remain to remember it by.

Joseph Brennan, the sort of steam geek I want to be when I grow up, has researched the history of the Beach Pneumatic and produced a book about it.

via BoingBoing

Fairey Rotodyne

Steam Geek was a companion to Scale, where I posted about cool old technology, particularly of the “What if?” variety. As it’s been dormant for a while I think it’s time to bring its archives across to Spinneyhead. Some of these links may no longer work.

I won an Airfix model of a Fairey Rotodyne through EBay, so the helicopter/plane hybrid made a good subject for a first post. I was a little lazy and just rounded up data from the Internet-


The Fairey Rotodyne was a compound helicopter of unprecedented size at the time of it’s first flight on 6 Nov. 1957, having originally been ordered by the then British Ministry of Supply, later the ministry of Aviation, in August of 1953.

First Flight : November 6, 1957

Engines: 2 * 2.800 hp Napier Eland NEL7
Cruise Speed: 300 km/h
Range: 700 km
Weight: Max: 14.900 Kgs
Rotor Span: 27.43 m
Length: 17.88 m
Height: 6.76 m
Disc Area: 591 m2


The Rotodyne was extremely large, with a cabin volume of 93m3 cubic feet. The logistical attributes of the machine were considerable with rear clam-shell doors allowing the loading of large motor vehicles. A forward-located door permitted simultaneous entry and exit of passengers, which would have allowed a quick turn-around in a commercial airline operation.

It was estimated that a passenger load of as many as 48 could have been carried by the Rotodyne. That passenger compartment was 14m long, 2.4m wide, and 1.8m in height.

Scale Model Aircraft Kit Reviews has two build articles on the Airfix kit, one in original livery and one in imaginary Qantas colours

Groen Brothers excerpts an article about the role the Rotodyne would have played in cutting intercity congestion

The Fairey Rotodyne originated from an idea for a large compound helicopter by Dr. J. A. J. Bennett and Capt. A. G. Forsyth of Fairey Aviation, whose original study dates back to 1947. Their concept evolved into the “Eland” Rotodyne prototype, which sucessfully completed its maiden flight in November, 1957. Its four-bladed rotor was powered in helicopter mode by tip jets, driven by compressed air. This compressed air was lit with fuel at tip jet combustion chambers to drive the rotor, removing the necessity for an anti-torque tail rotor. The tip jets were extinguished at about 60 mph after a normal helicopter takeoff, converting the aircraft to an autogiro. In autogiro mode the collective pitch of the rotor blades, and hence rotor lift, was reduced with up to about half the weight taken by the wings, allowing much higher speeds than conventional. When approaching to land the tips were relit, converting the aircraft back to helicopter mode for a normal helicopter hover and landing.

And that’s just the first few results from a Google search. I’ll be mining the results for further info as the build approaches.

Tweets today

00:25 Blog: Tweets today #

11:04 2 Wheels Good: Manchester bike shops #

11:55 Girl at the bus stop had Docs with image of bones in the foot on them. Cool. #

12:31 No more minibussing for me. #

14:28 Scale: Toy car chase #

15:35 I have a grappling hook! Bike fishing this weekend? #

22:22 Blog: The Great Garratt Gathering and Roaring Road Rally #

22:24 On Two Wheels- Build a bicycle window box #

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