View from Oban Bothy

View from Oban Bothy
Showing posts with label What???. Show all posts
Showing posts with label What???. Show all posts

Friday, 17 April 2015

Friday 17th April, Sea King in flight

Whinge warning

Bimbling through the delightful Oxfordshire countryside earlier today, having had a wonderful few days with good friends Daundering in the Chilterns, I heard the quite distinctive sound of a Sea King helicopter.

I knew I wasn’t lost, nor was I in need of rescue so I was quite satisfied it wasn’t looking for me. My emotions were really quite mixed: I’m really miffed that the government has privatised Search and Rescue. It can only be a matter of time before those unfortunate enough to need a helicopter rescue will be invoiced for their folly.

I know the Sea Kings are well past their sell-by date, but in their time they’ve saved many, many lives – military (their prime purpose) and civilian. They’re quite a magnificent machine, crewed by even more magnificent personnel. 

Now I’m not the brightest of people, but I fail to understand why a service that was designed to save military personnel lost in action at sea (and other places) shouldn’t be run by the Ministry of Defence – ie the Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force.

The S.A.R. crews have gained invaluable experience answering calls to rescue those at sea or in the mountains. I can’t see any commercial outfit being anywhere near as dedicated, skilled or experienced – not unless they can turn a decent profit.

Surely our caring government can’t be putting money before saving lives. Can they?


This morning’s Sea King was returning to RAF Benson. I wonder how many more sorties it will fly before being scrapped.

End of whinge. For now.

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

18th March 2015, Blogger: Strange Stats

Silly viewing stats

JJ’s Stuff isn’t the most popular of blogs by any means, but I regularly get around 100 – 120 viewings a day in spite of this.

Just recently I’ve had two ridiculously high daily viewing figures: one day last week I had 400+ viewings at stupid o’clock in the morning, and already today I’ve had 150+ viewings – and that was before 8am.

The odd times of viewings suggest to me that it might be an admirer / stalker / hacker or whatever from foreign lands – although delving deeper into the blogger stats doesn’t confirm this.

Has anyone else out there in Bloggershire had a similar experience?

Right, I’m off to eat Pie’s for a few day’s with one of my mate’s from Pielandshire. Were going to Wale’s.

Friday, 7 November 2014

21st Oct – 5th Nov, America

A few observations

I’ve been here for two weeks and I’m now getting ready to travel home.

It’s been a busy visit, carrying out renovations and repairs to an apartment that my Dad and I own in Florida. It’s a trip that I need to do each year, it’s important to keep an eye on the family assets don’t yer know. Some property-related legal stuff that needs sorting calls for a return trip in the not too distant future.

This trip has seen me decorating, replacing a water heater, repairing a shower, sorting the garden and patio, fettling the air-con….plus all manner of other stuff that goes with owning a property.

The language

It’s a funny old country – to say that the UK and USA are two countries separated by a common language is no understatement. Did you know that a faucet (pr: fosset) is a water tap? There’s loads more.

Americans are often very direct, if they need to deal will a problem they’re not afraid to use unambiguous language:


One phrase / sentence that maddens me is, when in a restaurant ‘a waiter will be with you momentarily’. A momentary visit from a waiter is not what I want or expect, thank you very much. I want a waiter to spend a little time with me (more than a moment) to answer any questions I might have.

Of course the waiter DOES spend time with you, as much as is needed. It’s just a strange use of words.

Whilst on the subject of words, strange-sounding names abound in America:

image That’s the name of a road – in case you were wondering.

American prices vs UK prices

Generally, although not always, the price we pay in UK is the same (very often more) than the American price, just change the $ sign to a £ sign.

A few examples from my direct experience:

Hilleberg Akto tent:              USA: $498 (=£311)          UK: £490

MFJ259 antenna analyser:  USA: $259 (=£162)         UK: £280

Flir Infra-Red camera:        USA: $1800 (=£1125)    UK: £2400 

Petrol, per gallon:               USA: $2.80 (=£1.75)      UK: £4.91*

*adjusted to US Gallon = 0.83 Imperial Gallon


Food is plentiful and cheap in Florida, lots of it looks good, some of it is quite nice….too much of it can cause problems of course.

    P1030236 P1030237

Those puddings were wonderful – so good I went twice. Ask Mick & Gayle about them!


There seem to be eateries everywhere:

P1030257 A steak with chips and broccoli in this restaurant tasted wonderful and cost norralot, BUT…the steak was quite salty, the broccoli was served in a salty garlic butter sauce, and the chips were served ready salted.

The convenience of the car

The car is king here, petrol is cheap. These prices are PER GALLON:

P1030270 $2.79 = £1.75

You don’t even have to get out of your car to go to the bank:


Patriotism / National pride

Americans are seriously proud of their country and it’s flag. Americans do not need an excuse to fly their flag. Stars & Stripes appear everywhere: in shops, fluttering from houses, in gardens, on cars….virtually everywhere you can imagine. By comparison the British appear quite unpatriotic. 

image Last week’s polling day

A UK Polling Station sign, emblazoned with a Union Flag? I’ve not ever seen one - I can’t see it ever happening. It might cause offence to someone….and that would never do.

Property Repairs

It’s been pointed out to me in the past (very frequently and quite recently) that it would be cheaper for me to employ someone in Florida to carry out these tasks. Not so.

I was quoted $1000 to replace a shower that was described as unrepairable: I mended it in a couple of hours.

Replacing the water heater would have cost at least $650, I did it myself for $250.

As for sorting the Air Conditioning unit, it would have been a lot of money. Then move the decimal point to the right. For some reason Air Conditioning units are shrouded in mystery here. This I find surprising – virtually everyone has Air-Con, but hardly anyone understands how they work….so they pay lots of dosh to A Man. It’s always A Man. The only bit I can’t do is recharge the unit with refrigerant. You need a special bit of paper to be able to do that. 

I much prefer to come over here to do the jobs myself, apart from anything else I know that the work has been carried out to a reasonable standard.


Americans do many things differently. This is the electrical bit of the water heater I replaced:

imageWires are joined by twisting them together and covering the connection with a plastic ‘nut’. Not a junction box to be seen. I find this a bit frightening.

Domestic wiring installations are potentially (see what I did there?) bloody dangerous. A house frequently has both 120v AND 240v available. 120v for normal household appliances like kettles, TV etc, but 240v is used for higher current stuff like cookers, water heaters and so on. Get your wiring wrong and……


I go to Florida where it’s currently 80degF. And the sky is blue. At the end of October / beginning of November. A few years ago they had an overnight frost – they still talk about it now.

It’s hi$$ing it down in Timperley, And it’s cold.

Nuff said.

Anyroadup, it’s an interesting place once you understand the language. I’ll be going back fairly soon – more stuff to do.

Friday, 8 August 2014

17th July 2014, Whore’s Hospital, Agden, near Lymm

On a canal towpath walk into Lymm from Timperley, the Long Suffering Rick pointed out an old building at SJ705873 he described as an Old Whore’s Hospital:
He might have said ‘Horse Hospital’ – but who ever heard of a hospital for horses?

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Get yer kit off….!

….or put your hand in your pocket.

My mate Mike is dropping his drawers and risking freezing his wotsits off in a damned good cause – MIND.

MIND’s mission is to “provide advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem. We campaign to improve services, raise awareness and promote understanding.”

The NHS regards the Mental Health Service as very much a poor relation, it’s a Cinderella service.

Fortunately the Mental Health professionals working in the NHS are just that, very professional. And devoted to their work. They get the urine extracted from them with abandon.

It’s a bloody shame that they get shat on from a great height when it comes to funding, staffing levels and so on. Oh, and the amount of paperwork that CPNs (Community Psychiatric Nurses – the ones at the sharp end) have to deal with is just disgraceful.

These dedicated folks are working their nuts off (the ones that have nuts) trying to care for the mental health of their sometimes suicidal patients….and then have hours of paperwork to complete – very often in their own, unpaid time. And they don’t get paid that much.

Believe me, I know these things.

You may think that I feel more than a little strongly about this. You would be quite right.

Soooooo…..At sunrise on Sunday 22nd September hundreds of people will take on a mass skinny dip at Druridge Bay in Northumberland. This event isn’t about looking good. It’s about taking a risk, celebrating our unique bodies, being close to nature, raising money for The National Trust and Mind, and maybe even breaking a world record!

Now I’m not particularly mithered about providing extra funding for the NT – I pay them enough in membership fees, but I’m keen to support MIND….although I draw the line at flashing my rude bits around in the North Sea.

So go and visit Mike’s blog and see what the daft bugger gets up to. If you feel you can, please donate a little….or a lot. And if you can, select ‘Gift Aid’, it doesn’t cost you anything more but it increases the amount the charity gets from your donation.

You can donate here.

The photo up top isn’t Mike and his mates by the way, it an image I found at

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

11th August, Last week was the week that was…

Just some pics:


P1020437 Shame about the focus on this one

Oh dear x2:


A fine example of a flying kettle, aka Suzuki GT750 2 stroke triple:

P1020504 I’m fairly certain that’s a non-standard seat

Lymm Rushbearing:

(Anyone spot the Long Suffering Rick?)
Lymm Morris

Marmalade in Manchester:

And in my spare time…

Saturday, 27 July 2013

Thursday 26th July, to Brereton, Macclesfield and Gawsworth

My mate Mark is currently unable to drive because of a buggered tendon and I offered to transport him to hospital for his bits to be fettled – in return for which he very generously treated me to lunch at Gawsworth’s  Harrington Arms (rather fine Robinson’s). We usually go to The Harrington to play music at the regular Friday evening sessions.
The journey to Mark’s was slower than usual…and my camera was on the passenger seat of the car:
P1020455    What???
Lunch stop, The Harrington – we usually go there on a Friday evening to play music. I was there playing music with Joules only last Friday, ‘twas a rather very excellent evening!
Mark in hop-along mode
Brereton, home to odd-ball bears:
Jodrell Bank Radio Telescope, last seen from The Gritstone Trail a couple of weeks ago:
It was good to catch up with Mark – especially being able to enjoy a leisurely lunch with him: thanks Mark!

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Privatised Search & Rescue Helicopter Service

Just heard on the BBC Radio 4-type wireless midnight news that American group, Bristows, have won the contract to run the UK Search & Rescue helicopter service from 2015.

The service has been provided by the Royal Navy and the RAF for the last 70 years and currently use rather old Sea King helicopters. The service was formed to rescue downed aircrews during WW2.

Having experienced other privatised services, formerly run very effectively by government departments,  I find this more than a little worrying.

Will the aircrews of the new service be paid by results?
Just how much confidence can 'we' have in a privatised service?
Is this the thin end of the wedge - is compulsory insurance going to be needed by hill-walkers?
Does this mean Prince William is to be made redundant?

What do The People think?

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Police warning…

Do not to throw pies snowballs

Our North-East correspondent may not be aware of this police warning spotted in this morning’s Independent and other newspapers – the warning was even broadcast on BBC R4.

He’ll need to behave. That doggy too. These people mean business.

It’s not called Crook for nothing you know.