Apollo 11 Moon Landing.

With it being 50 years since the Apollo 11 Moon landing, I thought it might be a good time to enter into the spirit of the event and celebrate by purchasing one of these T shirts.

American Images White T-Shirt Front

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Woodhall Spa Forties Weekend.

I went with my wife to the Woodhall Spa Forties Weekend and what a fabulous time we had, the entire village enters into the spirit of the thing and everyone was extremely friendly.

Here are a few images from the weekend, the first being the wife and I.

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There was an eclectic collection of vintage vehicles on display from cars to motorcycles to military vehicles, I took my 1947 Bentley as it was right for the period. It was parked in the Broadway both days but I seem to have not taken a photo!

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I went inside this rather splendid car and caravan combination and spoke to the owner, I’d love to have one but I’m not sure about towing it with an old car although he said he did.

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A couple more photos of the interesting vehicles on display.

There was a small army of military types including small tanks and other tracked vehicles.

The military parade on the Sunday was rather splendid too.

There were chaps encamped in the woods which looked fabulous but personally we stayed at The Branston Hall Hotel, the house being originally built for Lord Vere Bertie, son of the first Duke of Ancaster, it later passed to the Leslie-Melville family and was a hospital during the war. It was a rather splendid building both outside and inside and I have to admit was considerably more comfortable than the option of sleeping in a damp tent in the wood. You have to admire the commitment of these military re-enacters.

Unfortunately my abilities with my phone to take photos are not up to the job of capturing a decent video image of the splendid Battle of Britain Memorial flight which did us the honour of flying over on both days. The first day it was the turn of the Lancaster and Spitfire and the second, a Hurricane and the Lancaster again. The Lancaster was so low I was expecting the two search lights to come on underneath as it must have been low enough for a run in to the dams in the Ruhr valley.

All in all a bloody brilliant weekend and one we intend to repeat next year.

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The RREC Concours at Burghley House.

I have been very busy since my last trip and have had no time to post anything so this will be a very quick one, at least the post will be very short, however uploading the photos took bloody ages.

As usual the phone or the computer has changed something without asking me, I used to send photos from my phone and they would appear in my in box but now they remain in the sent box. Now call me old fashioned but I would have thought that if I have something appearing in the sent box I would expect it to also appear where I sent it, at least that’s what happens if I send something to myself from my computer, why the phone has a mind of its own I have no idea!

Anyway, getting to the point we went to the Rolls Royce Enthusiasts Club Concours at Burghley House which also includes Bentley’s, here is a photo to prove it.

We had a fabulous weekend meeting friends chatting and generally enjoying ourselves.

Bentley Burghley House 2019

For good measure a photo of Burghley House!

 

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Harrowgate steam railway trip.

Three weeks ago we went on a steam railway trip to Harrowgate but I have been so busy that I have not had the time to post details on this blog.

We took the 1947 Bentley and dressed in forties outfits as it seemed appropriate for an old steam train trip except that it was pouring with rain on the way up and the wipers on the car ceased to work which made for an interesting journey.

On my return I found that the cable that goes from the wiper motor to the wiper gearbox had broken and they are not available any more and having no luck sourcing a second hand one means I am going to have to get it repaired, unless any of my readers are classic Bentley owners and just happen to have a spare cable for a Mk VI stashed away in the back of their garage.

The itinerary was more hectic than expected and involved getting up at the crack of sparrows each day, something the wife and I do not excel at and rushing back to the hotel for dinner at 6pm which then left plenty of time for drinks in the bar afterwards which did nothing to help our early start in the morning.

The Hotel was called The Old Swan and was the hotel which Agatha Christie stayed at when she disappeared for 11 days in  1926, it was a fashionable spa hotel which was called The Harrowgate Hydro and included Turkish baths.

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On our first trip we travelled by rail, unfortunately not by steam to York for a tour of the town and a look round the National Railway Museum which included the wonderful Mallard the fastest ever steam train.

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Our next trip was a coach trip to the North Yorkshire Moors Railway which some of you may have seen currently featuring on television, in fact as we were on the platform a train drew into the station with a well know actor, (I think from Eastenders) on the footplate, I expect footage will appear in a later edition of the TV programme.

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During our train trip we stopped at Goathland the station used in the television programme Heartbeat and we visited the village where the garage used in the programme is now a gift shop which seemed a good opportunity for a photo.

The fellow who was running the shop then proceeded to tell me how the entire village had been used as background artists for the eighteen years of the run of the show which to someone like myself, a card carrying member of Equity the actors union didn’t go down too well as in those days they were only supposed to use Equity members on any television show. I was tempted to tell him where to put his fridge magnets and it wouldn’t have been on the fridge door. The rest of the day was spent in Whitby and then back to the hotel again.

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The following day we went on the Keighley and Worth Valley railway, famous as the place where they shot The Railway Children and included a trip round the engine shed where we saw the actual train used in the film under restoration.

I have to admit it was a complete mistake but it seems I have managed to make a video of our visit to the engine shed and the Bronte Parsonage complete with music but I have absolutely no idea how it happened.

We continued on to Haworth, home of the Bronte Parsonage where the Bronte sisters lived and were most surprised when we arrived to be faced with the view from the top of the hill, having seen it numerous times especially at Christmas and not realising where the image came from.

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I’m very glad we chose to visit the Parsonage rather than walk down the hill through the village  which would have necessitated the climbing of the very steep hill on the way back.

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Back to the hotel for our final night and then home in the morning still without wipers for a well earned rest. I must mention the part played by Robert our tour manager who was pleasant, helpful and informative and was a pleasure to be with.

I am running a little behind with my posts recently as we have since been away for a trip with the Rolls Royce Enthusiast Club but more of that later!

 

 

 

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The D Day Victoria Cross.

I was away when it was D Day so didn’t get the chance to post anything but when I got back I found this amazing story on the Imperial War Museum web site.

 

THE D-DAY VICTORIA CROSS
Stan Hollis performed two acts of heroism that won him the only Victoria Cross awarded on D-Day. 

Hollis was Company Sergeant Major of one of the first battalions to reach Gold Beach on D-Day. He was no stranger to combat. By 1944, he’d fought at Dunkirk, El Alamein and the Battle for Primasole Bridge.

Hollis was thirty-one years old on D-Day. He was in charge of three machine gun and three mortar teams. He was one of the most experienced men in his unit, and many younger soldiers looked up to him.

It was at a house that overlooked the beach where Hollis performed the first of two heroic acts to win him the Victoria Cross.

When the lead platoons passed the house, they came under fire from a machine gun hidden in a pillbox. In response, Hollis charged around thirty yards over open ground, whilst under fire, stuck his sten gun into the pillbox slit and emptied the magazine.

Hollis then lay on top of the pillbox and dropped a grenade inside. He jumped down and entered, and took the surviving occupants prisoner. He then saw a slit trench leading away to a second pillbox in the garden of the house.

He advanced down the trench alone, captured the fortification and all those in it. In all, he captured 30 Germans single-handed.

Commandos of HQ 4th Special Service Brigade, coming ashore from LCI(S) landing craft on Nan Red beach, Juno area, at St Aubin-sur-Mer, 6 June 1944.

Later that day, at around 11am, Hollis performed the second act of heroism which contributed to the D-Day Victoria Cross.

He spotted a German field gun hidden in a hedge, and decided to try and destroy it. Accompanied by two machine-gunners, he crawled through a rhubarb patch to get close enough to the artillery piece.

However, he missed and the gun turned and fired on them. Miraculously, it fired high over their heads. Hollis shouted to the men with him to get back to a farm building they could use for cover.

Unfortunately, the men either hadn’t heard him or were too afraid to run. He felt that it was his responsibility the men were in trouble, and sought to get them to safety.

Hollis took a Bren gun and advanced into the open, firing from the hip in plain sight to attract the attention of the enemy field gun team. His comrades ran back from the rhubarb patch to cover. Astoundingly, even though he was standing in sight of the enemy, Hollis was not hit.

The Victoria Cross recognises acts of extreme bravery carried out under direct enemy fire. Stan Hollis was the only serviceman to be awarded the Victoria Cross on D-Day for his gallantry during the allied invasion of Normandy on 6 June 1944.

Discover more stories in our D-Day interactive.

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When they see us.

I have just watched the film “When they see us,” which is the story of five innocent children who were convicted of a rape in Central Park and spent from 6 to 12 years in prison before being exonerated.

All I can say is watch this very moving and true story, I cannot recommend it highly enough.

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I won’t spoil the story by giving any details except to mention that Linda Fairstein the detective who was head of the Manhattan District sex crimes unit who prosecuted these boys went on to become an award winning mystery fiction writer.

Having said that, she was awarded the Grand Master Award by the Mystery Writers of America in 2018 but the award was rescinded after many members became aware of her involvement in the case of the Central Park Five.

On a personal note I never buy the sort of books that Linda Fairstein writes and I would suggest to all my readers to do likewise.

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I have lost the will to live!

Modern life is conspiring to do me in, I am almost at the point where I have lost the will to live.

Some of you may have read my previous post, Alexa and the Amazon Music saga which took place just over a week ago and I have to admit I had barely recovered from the trauma of dealing with this when modern life struck yet again.

As we live in the countryside we had occasion to have our septic tank emptied yesterday, I shan’t be going into details of this for fear of offending those who may be reading who are of a delicate disposition, but suffice to say it involves a fairly large lorry backing up our drive and emptying the tank.

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The same man and his lorry have been doing this for years, unfortunately this time he managed to take one of our telephone lines with him on his exit, which was indeed unfortunate as this was the line which we use for our broadband and I was in the process of trying to get the phone number of the waterboard on my computer at the time.

Eventually, having found out how to work the internet on my phone I found the number which rather amazingly resulted in a young fellow from the water board coming to have a look at the problem later that afternoon. Bravo Thames Water.

It seems that the septic tank being brick built may have become porous and is taking in water from the ground level water table, although why the ground level water has risen we have no idea.

This could be quite a long post, so I suggest if you are not bored to death yet perhaps this might be the time to go off and make yourself a cup of tea if you’re staying for the long haul.

So, with one problem not solved I then set about getting someone to come and repair the phone line and yet again came upon the problem of not having any internet as it took some time for me to find a document in my computer where I had made a note of the phone number which we use for the broadband to say which line was broken.

That problem solved I phoned Vodafone who unfortunately have a voice recognition computer system which was unable to recognise what my problem was and having tried multiple variations of “broken phone,” “phone not working,” etc I finally stumbled on the phrase “broken landline.” I often wonder why they have a machine which eventually recognises the word “landline,” but is unable to recognise the phrase, “for Gods sake, all I want to do is speak to a human being!”

Eventually I managed to get through to a very pleasant fellow in Egypt who took all the details and promised to have someone to fix it within the next three days which was a step in the right direction. I did rather wonder if they might have found a location somewhat closer to the UK than Egypt which even as the crow flies is 4197 kilometres away, obviously they save money on the wage bill but as virtually everything has to be repeated twice this obviously takes more time and wages, one wonders exactly how cost effective it actually is.

During my conversation I was informed that the engineer would first check the inspection box down the road and then check the line to our house and finally check the line in our house. I tried to inform them that the line was broken at our house and not to waste time elsewhere but they were adamant they would check the box first, I was not lost for words but chose to use them after my telephone conversation had ceased.

I’m not sure that jumping up and down swearing to myself does any good in these circumstances but it is a temporary fix to alleviate high blood pressure I think.

I have placed a map of exactly how far away Egypt is for the benefit of those readers who are not geography scholars, but I suppose I can’t really complain as the next day a telephone engineer from Open Reach phoned me to say he was on the way, although luckily not from Egypt!

He informed me he would go to the inspection box down the road first to ascertain what the problem was which gave me the opportunity to say, “no, please come straight to our house where I can show you the broken wire which is the problem.”   He replied that had he gone to the box he would have wasted ages trying to find the problem and came straight round.

Nothing, it seems in modern life is easy for our phone lines runs from a pole over the road to a pole in our garden and then affixes to the wall of the house, the broken wire being from the house to the pole in the garden.

The garden being somewhat large the hedge and small trees in this corner have grown up making it rather difficult to get to the pole, surely you didn’t think he was going to come and fix it in two minutes and leave, did you?

He protested that he would need the assistance of another fellow with a cherry picker to get to the pole and even then he was doubtful they could do it as the trees were in the way but could mend the wire temporally and run it along the ground should the cherry picker not be available.

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Not one to be defeated I rushed to the garage and grabbed my chain saw and equipped with my health and safety T shirt set about taking down the trees which were barring access to the pole and rubbing on the wire.

Having cleared quite a large area I asked the engineer if he would care to get his ladder and shin up the pole and fix the line which unsurprisingly he declined, insisting that health and safety demanded the use of the cherry picker.

All was not lost, for almost immediately the fellow with the cherry picker arrived and set about fixing a new line which would carry both phone lines in it from the pole and then to the house which he said should have been much higher so that it wouldn’t get caught on the top of lorries. I was delighted to have just the one wire and now fixed much higher on the wall.

There were now three men on site feverishly working as a well oiled team and after some checks the fellow with the cherry picker left whilst the other two did the final checks and found that only one of the phone lines was working.

A quick call to the fellow with the cherry picker and some adjustments to the connection on the post resulted in both phone lines and the broadband working, sometimes I can almost believe there is a God!

By way of celebration I am going to make a cup of tea and have some cake to celebrate and I suggest you do likewise for I haven’t finished yet, this is a marathon moan!

That’s better, lemon curd swiss roll and a cup of tea has enlivened me sufficiently to regal the tale of  the Asda last four digit receipt.

I purchased some Amstel lager in Asda and was delighted to see I could win a weekend in Amsterdam if I were to text the last four digits of the receipt to 81400, what could be easier?

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When in any supermarket I never use the self service checkout so I don’t consider myself as an employee of any of the supermarkets including Asda, this being said I am not aware which of the multiplicity of numbers on the receipt is actually the receipt number.

How hard can it be to find out thought I, surely a quick phone call to the supermarket where I purchased the beer and a member of staff would have the answer in a jiffy.

Once again I was faced with modern life and a telephone selection system, press 1 if you are a customer, 2 if you are staff, 4 for grocery etc but once again no number to speak to a human being.

Now I realise those of you who have remained with me on this marathon post will see were this is going and to put you out of your misery I can confirm that eventually I managed via a foreign call centre to eventually get back to a human being who I believe was actually at a supermarket although I have no Idea where except I think it must have been the UK.

The line was exceptionally bad as I was having trouble hearing them and they asked me to speak up, which by this time I was only too happy to oblige as I was getting a little frayed at the edges by now. Having responded louder, I was then accused of shouting but eventually was told the receipt number was at the bottom by the bar code, or it might be at the top!

My patience having finally run out I stuck the last four numbers that were at the bottom in the text and sent it off, I won’t hold my breath waiting that I will be going to Amsterdam but you never know.

 

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