Water Water Everwhere


On Friday we were supposed to be going to play crazy golf with my granddaughter Abi but we were having monsoon-like weather. So we opted to travel over to Whitely, a retail and outlet centre at Segensworth. So, after some retail therapy and a spot of lunch at Wagamamas, we returned home.

After a cup of tea I decided to pop out to our freezer for a loaf. The freezer is housed in our garage, as is our central heating boiler. It was at this point,  much to my dismay, I discovered a large pool of water on the garage floor, with more pouring down from the central heating boiler.

I immediately removed the boiler cover and discovered a jet of water emanating, under pressure, from what appeared to be a blanking plug.

Sprung A Leak

Obviously, looking at the corrosion around the nut, the boiler had been leaking for a while.

With the head of water, from the tank in the loft, the jet was spraying quite hard and splashing back over other bits of the boiler. Including the electrics.

Splash Back

Water splashing back over the electrics.

As a general rule, electrics and water don’t do too well together. Needless to say I spared no time in isolating the boiler electrics. I then took some photos and texted them to my plumber.

Good as gold, my plumber was there within the hour. I had turned off the water to the header tank so eventually the flow of water via the leak subsided.

The plumber set about removing the nut, which proved to be a stubborn SOB. The corrosion was preventing any turns on the nut and eventually a hacksaw was brought into play. When it was sawn almost halfway through it finally submitted.

With the nut removed we were able see what had failed…

Plastic Blank

Plastic Blank – Why wasn’t it brass ?

This plastic disc was the only thing keeping the water inside our heating system. Given the nature of a boiler, heating up then cooling down, on a repeat cycle, it is hardly surprising that this failed.

My plumber replaced this with a brass version. Question, why wasn’t brass used for the original installation ?

However, that wasn’t the end of the story as the boiler refused to fire up. Some of that water had found its way into the electrics. Luckily, some judicious drying with pressurised air and my wifes hair dryer coaxed the boiler back into operation.

Several days have passed, my garage floor and wooden steps are still trying out. But it could have been so much worse.

We are currently away, just for a few days, with potential for this to have been undiscovered for six days. Worse, if this had happened at the end of the month when we go to France, then it would have been a whole month and I dread to think how many gallons of water would have been spilt.

We have been, relatively, lucky.

Classic Car Sunday – Goodwood


Last Sunday, the Goodwood Motor Racing Circuit held the latest episode of their popular Breakfast Club series. These meets, as mentioned in a previous post, are held on the first Sunday of every month. And best of all, entry is ticketed, but free.

Once again, thanks to the prolonged dry spell that the UK is experiencing, the weather was perfect. Blue cloudless skies allowing the bright sunshine to show of the varied paint finishes and, in some cases, the imperfections.

Here are just some of the photos I captured. First up a selection of vehicles, presented by the Amberley Museum & Heritage Centre.

Southdown Motor Services ran bus and coach services throughout East and West Sussex. The company was formed in 1915.

I guess there may be a slight delay while the “great British workman” has a tea break.

If my memory serves me right, the Austin A40 was the first British hatchback.

One of the most iconic of British marques is the Aston Martin. To be honest, there were so many Astons on display, I became a little blasé so I chose to post just this example, because of the fabulous colour.

The same was to become true for the number Jaguar E-types. Don’t get me wrong, I love to see them and I am really pleased to see so many classic cars being lovingly looked after.

But ever onwards, so much more to see and not all high end or high performance. For example…

As I said above, not all of the vehicles on display are of the performance variety. Many, like the Ford Anglia “danglebox” below, were the cars that youngsters of my era started out in. And just like the young of today, we were not averse to “pimping” our rides. Fat tyres, lowered suspension, flared wheel arches etc. etc.

The Austin Healy 3000, was my favourite “sports car” of all time. As a teenager, living in Battle, back in the mid-sixties, I used to see an aubergine 3000 with fat tyres, roll bars and bonnet straps. I really thought it was the business. And it has stuck with me right thru to my mid-sixties.

Sometimes, when the mood, light, atmosphere is just right a car will grab you. This, for me was the car of the day although the folks that were judging todays entries thought otherwise. What do they know ?

This car has presence, poise, curves, is simply put, just beautiful.

 

Who remembers Barracuda by Heart , well here is the car. And, yes, I know it is also a fish with very sharp teeth. Looking under the “hood” I’m pretty sure this car has the automotive equivalent of teeth.

We had arrived at around 07:30 and the number of display cars kept on growing. From a photo stand point we aren’t even half way round. It’s interesting as we stroll along, how often we are saying stuff like “my Dad had one of those” or “that was my first car” or “we had one of those in blue” etc. etc. etc. A real nostalgia trip.

I should point out that Goodwood is an active airfield, so an unexpected bonus was a number of planes flying in and out. Including these …

But, hey, this post is about automobiles, so back to the main event …

As you can see from the photos, the variety of vehicles on display was vast. The selection that I am posting here is just a fraction of the shots I took and is really only a taster of the caliber of this event.

And that is it folks. I hope I haven’t bored you with number of images. I am just amazed and the quality of the vehicles on display. The condition and finish is just a surface visual indication of the love that their owners lavish on them. We musn’t forget the mechanics underneath that classic bodywork.

I thank the owners for bringing their pride and joy along for my pleasure and I also thank the folks that organise these breakfast meets.

The next breakfast meet is Japanese Sunday, on October 7th. I hope to be there, let’s hope the weather is kind again.

 

Staunton Country Park Farm


A few days ago we spent a cracking day with some of our grand children. We visited Staunton Country Park Farm, a calm oasis just a short distance out-of-town. Calm that is, if you ignore the general hubbub of the excited children feeding the animals or in the play park.

From the Staunton website ….

Our farm, based on the 1830s style ferme ormeé (ornamental farm), is home to many different animals. Ranging from the everyday farm animal, like pigs, sheep, Shetland ponies, and chickens, to a selection of other animals such as llamas, a Poitou donkey and alpacas.

Here are just a few snaps that I took between pushing grandchildren on swings or carrying the youngest. Operating a Canon EOS 7D Mk II single-handed is no mean feat, weighing, as it does, nearly as much as my great-grandson.

So, for your delectation and delight ….

All in all a great place to take young children.

The farm is just part of the greater country park which has walking and cycling trails as well as three permanent orienteering courses. In the past we have hired bikes and explored the park. Sadly they no longer do the bike hire.

Staunton Country Park is a real gem and right on my doorstep.

Weald and Downland Living Museum


I am the eldest of three siblings and have two younger sisters. Years ago, due to job seeking, I moved away from the family home, in Sussex, eventually settling in Hampshire. Only 90 miles or so away, but far enough that our get togethers are irregular at best. We all have busy lives and trying to coordinate a gathering around our diaries is like herding cats. What we tend to do is pick a place of interest, somewhere between our respective homes, then meet up for the day. The main criteria being that there are nice walks in the grounds, interesting stately homes to explore and so forth. Also key is that there is a decent cafe / tea room or pub. Past venues for these family gatherings have been:

  1. Chartwell –  Family home and garden of Sir Winston Churchill. Chartwell was the much-loved Churchill family home from 1922 and the place from which Sir Winston drew inspiration until the end of his life
  2. Nymans – A garden lovers’ home for all seasons, with an extensive yet intimate garden set around a romantic house and ruins. Nymans was a country retreat for the creative Messel family, and has views stretching out across the Sussex Weald
  3. Wakehurst Place. Part of the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, this wild botanic garden on the High Weald of West Sussex has over 500 acres of beautiful ornamental gardens, woodlands and a nature reserve. Wakehurst is also home to the Millennium Seed Bank, the largest wild seed conservation project in the world.
  4. Bodiam Castle – Archetypal 14th century moated castle with ruined interior – a glimpse of medieval splendour. Set in the heart of an historic landscape, with spiral staircases, battlements and a portcullis, 14th century Bodiam Castle is one of Britain’s most picturesque and romantic ancient monuments.

And so we come to our latest gathering.

The venue of choice on this occasion was The Weald and Downland Living Museum. In their own words

Come and discover rescued rural homes and buildings set in a beautiful landscape, which tell the stories of the people who lived and worked in them over 1,000 years.

Enjoy our family friendly 40-acre site and visit our collection of historic buildings – we have more than 50 to explore from a replica Anglo-Saxon hall house to an Edwardian tin tabernacle church. There is a regular programme of demonstrations, including milling in our 17th century watermill; cooking in our Tudor kitchen; blacksmithing in our Victorian smithy; plus seasonal demonstrations. Take a walk in the woods, bring the dog (we are dog-friendly), visit our waterside café (also dog-friendly) or enjoy your own picnic.

Weald1

North Cray Medieval House & Lavant Building

As is our normal practice, we met in the cafe, and set about orienting ourselves while downing a cuppa.

Weald3

Lakeside Cafe

The nice thing about this location, is the fact that it is constantly growing. Gerry and I have visited on several previous occasions and it is always different, there is always something new.

A prime example of the new is the dairy building below. Still under construction / restoration, this building dates from c1807 and originates from Eastwick Park, Surrey.

As stated above, there are over 40 acres of grounds with buildings spread all over. From my memory, one of the earliest buildings that we have visited is the mill.

The Weald and Downland Museum regularly appears on TV and there is a current series being broadcast. As they were filming something for that series part of the site was off-limits. Didn’t stop me taking a couple of pictures though.

My grandfather worked the land, using horses, in the county of Sussex around Lancing, Worthing and Sompting. It is entirely possible that he may have visited this Victorian Smithy, from Southwater, during his working years.

We should consider ourselves very lucky, with all the technology and heavy machinery at our disposal. Back in the day things were very different, the work hard and often back-breaking. For example, does anyone fancy working a saw-pit ?

Weald18

Saw-Pit from Sheffield Park

At least the workers would have had shelter from the rain or sun. The building here is 19th century and provided cover over a permanent saw-pit on the Sheffield Park estate.

Some of the hard labour was delegated to animals. Here is an example of a 19th century  “horse-gin” from Patching, Sussex.

Weald19

19th Century “horse-gin” from Patching, Sussex

“gin” appears to be a contraction of the word “engine”. Such devices were used to drive threshers or churns, but could also be used to pump water or raise coal or miners from  mines. The example below was used to mix the “pug” for making bricks.

Weald20

Redford Pug Mill

Not all the buildings here are industrial or agricultural. After all that physical labour the spiritual needs of the workers would have to be catered for.

Many trades are reflected in the various buildings here, plumbing ….

shop-keeping ….

Weald26

To the left is Horsham Medieval Shop, Front and centre is Titchfield Market Hall

Also on display are a number of residential buildings. The following pictures are of  Whittakers Cottages, built in Ashtead during the mid 1860s.

Also on display are various wagons, animal boxes and so forth….

This house was removed and resurrected from Walderton, Sussex. The flint and brick exterior date from early to mid 17th century. However, the insides are what remains of a medieval timber-framed building.

 

Below is a 19th century Stable from West Wittering, currently be used as a Potting Shed …

The following building was originally a cart shed but it was converted into a schoolhouse.

For some years up to 1851 it was used as a school for “six poor children from the parish of West Wittering”.

The museum is also home for a number of animals including horses, oxen, chickens and ducks.

This is the proud Percheron mother of a foal, just two and a half weeks old.

By the time we arrived at the foals enclosure a storm was moving in. Thunder rumbling and lightening flashing. The foal didn’t seem to be fazed by the noise but mum was obviously aware. When the rain started, the foal was frolicking around, galloping and leaping in the air. Considering that the foal had never experienced rain this was a joyful moment.

With the rain looking like it was in for the remainder of the day we headed along the high path back to the cafe. We were presented with the following views through the rain …

Back at the cafe we had a nice cuppa and a slice of flapjack before saying our good-byes and heading home.

It was a good day and I for one am looking forward to the next visit.

 

 

 

 

 

A Doer Upper ?


For some time now, I’ve been considering getting myself a boat. Partly as a project to fill my time and also so that I can have some fun and go fishing.

So, I sort of stumbled on this beauty and thought that it would be an ideal “doer upper”.

DoerUpper

I’ve already thought of some names, Mud Skipper, Kelpie or maybe Slick.

What do you think, should I go for it ?

Flaming June


The month of June is quite often referred to as “Flaming June”. Depending on the weather this can be either a positive description or a negative one. This year I believe this description would be delivered as a positive.

The weather has been predominantly good, much to the benefit of the roses. Here are a few from my garden.