Thursday 30 April 2009

More Tractors....

"Dave Mows Grass said... Just show me an old 8N Ford. I've never been into all that kinky stuff."
Well, Dave, the above pic is a Ford 8N.
The below pic is a Ferguson.

Spot the difference.

Wednesday 29 April 2009

Tractor Porn

Following from a comment made under my Found in the Hedge post, here's some tractor porn on open display in the little North Yorkshire town of Helmsley. A polite enough place in most seasons, but under that civilised surface surges swollen throbbing diesel lust, if this newsagent's window is to be believed.

More porn below:-

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Sunday 26 April 2009

Found in the Hedge

The tractor is a Massey Ferguson Te 35, with the four cylinder Standard petrol (gasoline) engine.
Harry Ferguson was born in 1884, in Ireland, he was always interested in things mechanical, in 1909, when he was seventeen years old, he persuaded his brother to join him in building an aeroplane. Only six years after the Wright brothers made their first flight in an ungainly biplane, Harry Ferguson made his first flight in a monoplane he designed and built.
In 1911, he opened his garage, May Street Motors, amongst the things he sold were tractors, he designed a new plough...
In a few years he was hard at work on another problem. Ploughs which hit rocks in the earth tended to cause the tractor to rear-up, and tip, injuries and deaths were a common result. Harry figured out a new way of attaching implements, which meant that an obstacle would no longer result in the front wheels lifting, rather, they would press down. The Ferguson three-point linkage gradually became a standard on all agricultural equipment, it still is the concept behind modern machinery.

Harry designed his own tractor, which he manufactured in north America in Dearborn, in partnership with Ford. The partnership ended in acrimony, when Henry Ford II abruptly reneged on his father's handshake gentleman's agreement with Harry. Harry sued Ford for $251 million, and won. The court settlement left Harry in a position to build another factory in Detroit, and compete with Ford, and at the Standard works in Coventry, England, he built the "Little Grey Fergie", which was so popular across the world that ford called it "The Grey Menace". Slightly modified Fergies transported Sir Edmund Hillary's expedition to the south pole.
The company bought Massey, a competitor, and the grey Fergie mutated into the Massey Ferguson 35.
This one will be from about 1962. I remember the old chap who had the farm driving it up the village street. In the mid eighties, I used to buy milk from him, there was a sigh by the roadside, and I had my pottery a hundred yards away, so I'd go buy a pint of milk fresh from the farm. Sometime in the early nineties, he was taken ill, had to cease farming, and his tractor has been there, where he left it on his last night, ever since.
I'd be tempted to try find his sons and buy it, but I have enough toys already. The plough is still on it... I bet it would not take too much effort to get it going again.

As an aside, it was Harry who inadvertently created plastic model kits, of the sort that I spent so many years as a kid, glueing and painting.
"In the late 1940s Airfix was approached by Harry Ferguson (the tractor manufacturer) to make a cheap model of one of his tractors that could be used by his sales team as a promotional tool. At first there were problems making the model, so it was decided to make it in a series of parts then to be assembled by a team of skilled workers.
This ready-built tractor proved to be popular and Ferguson allowed Airfix to produce them as toys and sell them under the Airfix name. It soon became obvious that more tractors could be sold if they were cheaper, and to achieve this they sold the kits unmade with instructions. This proved to be successful and shortly after Woolworths approached Airfix suggesting that by using a more stable polystyrene plastic and poly bags with a card header, it would meet the Woolworths retail price of 2 shillings. The small scale Golden Hind was launched in 1952. Woolworths buyers than began to ask for more subjects, then soon after Airfix began to produced a wider range of polybagged model kits – the all famous Spitfire model appearing from 1953." From the Airfix Kits website.

More info from Wikipedia.

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Where Have I been Recently?

My ancestors came from these dales. I feel at home up there, some people say it's bleak, but I'd say it's glorious, to watch sun and shadow pass over the hillsides, see the grouse fly up from the heather at your feet,

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Cajun Squirrel Flavour, Anybody?

Or Chili and Chocolate, or, or...
Crisps, people, potato CRISPS.
You Americans call them "chips".
They are not chips. Chips are long and square in cross section. You call them French fries. They are not french. And they are not the pathetic thin sticks Macdonalds serve.
I've tried the Duck and Hoi-sin sauce ones, meh. Likewise the Onion Bhaji. I might try the builders breakfast ones. I'm not exactly yearning to sample Cajun Squirrel. Might as well label it "Roadkill Crisps"... Note however the word "flavour" (yes, by the way, there is a "u" in flavour).. It does not claim to actually contain cajun squirrel, just its flavour.
My favourite crisps are potato flavoured.
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Thursday 23 April 2009

Michelin's Tweel

Michelin. the company which first made pneumatic tyres for automobiles in 1896, is working on the next generation of tyres/wheels. They are making a combined device called a "Tweel". Tweels are non-pneumatic, and puncture proof. They have no sidewalls, just an integral, bonded-in rubber spoke-like structure, which can deform on impact.

They're not quite ready for sustained highway speeds yet, but are apparently fully functional as earthmover and forklift tyres. More significant kudos for the company came when Nasa announced tweels would be used on the new lunar rover.
They're not the only company doing this. Resilient Technologies are working on a similar concept for military use.

Polymer wheel/tire by Resilient Technologies on a US military Humvee

Also Crocodile Tyres in Australia make airless tyres for mining, demolition, and building equipment.

Crocodile Tyres

How new is the idea? Here's a picture from the long-gone past.
(between 1910 and 1920)

Now this is more my style.....
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Wednesday 22 April 2009

St George's Day Redux

A Gold Sovereign, Queen Victoria on the face , St George on the obverse.
(The image reminds me of a story...*)

St George is the patron saint of England.. And April 23rd is St George's Day

"St. George was a knight and born in Cappadocia. On a time he came in to the province of Libya, to a city which is said Silene. And by this city was a stagne or a pond like a sea, wherein was a dragon which envenomed all the country. And on a time the people were assembled for to slay him, and when they saw him they fled. And when he came nigh the city he venomed the people with his breath, and therefore the people of the city gave to him every day two sheep for to feed him, because he should do no harm to the people, and when the sheep failed there was taken a man and a sheep. Then was an ordinance made in the town that there should be taken the children and young people of them of the town by lot, and every each one as it fell, were he gentle or poor, should be delivered when the lot fell on him or her. So it happed that many of them of the town were then delivered, insomuch that the lot fell upon the king's daughter, whereof the king was sorry, and said unto the people: For the love of the gods take gold and silver and all that I have, and let me have my daughter. They said: How sir! ye have made and ordained the law, and our children be now dead, and ye would do the contrary. Your daughter shall be given, or else we shall burn you and your house.

When the king saw he might no more do, he began to weep, and said to his daughter: Now shall I never see thine espousals. Then returned he to the people and demanded eight days' respite, and they granted it to him. And when the eight days were passed they came to him and said: Thou seest that the city perisheth: Then did the king do array his daughter like as she should be wedded, and embraced her, kissed her and gave her his benediction, and after, led her to the place where the dragon was.

When she was there S. George passed by, and when he saw the lady he demanded the lady what she made there and she said: Go ye your way fair young man, that ye perish not also. Then said he: Tell to me what have ye and why weep ye, and doubt ye of nothing. When she saw that he would know, she said to him how she was delivered to the dragon. Then said S. George: Fair daughter, doubt ye no thing hereof for I shall help thee in the name of Jesu Christ. She said: For God's sake, good knight, go your way, and abide not with me, for ye may not deliver me. Thus as they spake together the dragon appeared and came running to them, and S. George was upon his horse, and drew out his sword and garnished him with the sign of the cross, and rode hardily against the dragon which came towards him, and smote him with his spear and hurt him sore and threw him to the ground. And after said to the maid: Deliver to me your girdle, and bind it about the neck of the dragon and be not afeard. When she had done so the dragon followed her as it had been a meek beast and debonair. Then she led him into the city, and the people fled by mountains and valleys, and said: Alas! alas! we shall be all dead. Then S. George said to them: Ne doubt ye no thing, without more, believe ye in God, Jesu Christ, and do ye to be baptized and I shall slay the dragon. Then the king was baptized and all his people, and S. George slew the dragon and smote off his head, and commanded that he should be thrown in the fields, and they took four carts with oxen that drew him out of the city.

Then were there well fifteen thousand men baptized, without women and children, and the king did do make a church there of our Lady and of S. George, in the which yet sourdeth a fountain of living water, which healeth sick people that drink thereof. After this the king offered to S. George as much money as there might be numbered, but he refused all and commanded that it should be given to poor people for God's sake; and enjoined the king four things, that is, that he should have charge of the churches, and that he should honour the priests and hear their service diligently, and that he should have pity on the poor people, and after, kissed the king and departed."

I apologise to my longer term readers, Having just realised how late it is, and things yet to do, I cheated and lifted text from two years earlier in the blog. But I bet you'd forgotten it if you ever saw it.

* A Norse god came riding one day. Galloping up to the town gates, he pounded upon them and demanded entry. As the naked rider rode into the town square a curious crowd gathered, (never having seen a naked Norse god in their town before)The rider shouted, challengingly,

"I'm Thor!"

A voice in the crowd replied

"I'm not thurprithed, you forgot your thaddle, thilly!"

Latest Budget Airline News

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They charge for everything they can think of.
Grit in the Gears has been pondering the difficulties facing airlines, and has come up with this invention, which, it is hoped, will save millions of pounds when scaled up.
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, you saw it here first. No landing fees! A huge part of the cost of air travel is the landing fee charged by airports.

Using Professor Soubriquet's patent Aerial Ladder Embarc-Disembarc system, passengers can be landed and picked up without the plane ever touching the runway. Accuracy in lobbing the luggage is proving to be elusive, so we recommend you just wear all your clothes and stuff your pockets with the rest.
Bookings are now being taken.
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Jabberwocky:- Lewis Carroll, 1872

`Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

"Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!"

He took his vorpal sword in hand:
Long time the manxome foe he sought --
So rested he by the Tumtum tree,
And stood awhile in thought.

And, as in uffish thought he stood,
The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
And burbled as it came!

One, two! One, two! And through and through
The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
He went galumphing back.

"And, has thou slain the Jabberwock?
Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!"
He chortled in his joy.

`Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

(from Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There, 1872)

The Pobble Who Has No Toes:- Edward Lear 1812-1888

The Pobble who has no toes
Had once as many as we;
When they said "Some day you may lose them all;"
He replied "Fish, fiddle-de-dee!"
And his Aunt Jobiska made him drink
Lavender water tinged with pink,
For she said "The World in general knows
There's nothing so good for a Pobble's toes!"

The Pobble who has no toes
Swam across the Bristol Channel;
But before he set out he wrapped his nose
In a piece of scarlet flannel.
For his Aunt Jobiska said "No harm
Can come to his toes if his nose is warm;
And it's perfectly known that a Pobble's toes
Are safe, -- provided he minds his nose!"

The Pobble swam fast and well,
And when boats or ships came near him,
He tinkledy-blinkledy-winkled a bell,
So that all the world could hear him.
And all the Sailors and Admirals cried,
When they saw him nearing the further side -
"He has gone to fish for his Aunt Jobiska's
Runcible Cat with crimson whiskers!"

But before he touched the shore,
The shore of the Bristol Channel,
A sea-green porpoise carried away
His wrapper of scarlet flannel.
And when he came to observe his feet,
Formerly garnished with toes so neat,
His face at once became forlorn,
On perceiving that all his toes were gone!

And nobody ever knew,
From that dark day to the present,
Whoso had taken the Pobble's toes,
In a manner so far from pleasant.
Whether the shrimps, or crawfish grey,
Or crafty Mermaids stole them away -
Nobody knew: and nobody knows
How the Pobble was robbed of his twice five toes!

The Pobble who has no toes
Was placed in a friendly Bark,
And they rowed him back, and carried him up
To his Aunt Jobiska's Park.
And she made him a feast at his earnest wish
Of eggs and buttercups fried with fish, -
And she said "It's a fact the whole world knows,
That Pobbles are happier without their toes!"

Krazy Kat Goes a Wooing. George Herriman

Krazy Kat from 1916, the Great War was raging, daring young men in flying machines were zooming through the sky, Krazy is in love with Ignatz mouse, and Ignatz responds by throwing bricks....

Gary Rith posted Felix the cat on his blog, which reminded me just how much I love these oldies.
When I was a kid, I always had interesting stuff in my schoolbag, like a miniature steam engine, a gyroscope, a telescope..... I was famous for it, being a collector of eclectica, a romancer of rivets, my bag was known as Felix's magic bag... (no, I was Not known as Felix...) (um... sometimes they called me The Professor, other times? oh. well, ya know... My favourite book was "The Wind in the Willows", and I was the Mole).

Felix Saves the Day

Yes, I know it's politically incorrect. But this was 1922.

Word of the day. Rotoscoping. No, I'm not going to explain or spoon feed you with a link. ( you can use google if you need to)
This little movie shows several very clever examples of rotoscoping. Hollywood does it with computers now.

Saturday 18 April 2009

In The Kitchen, by Penelope Shuttle


A jug of water
has its own lustrous turmoil

The ironing board thanks god
for its two good strong legs and sturdy back

The new fridge hums like a maniac
with helpfulness

I am trying to love the world
back to normal

The chair recites its stand-alone prayer
again and again

The table leaves no stone unturned
The clock votes for the separate burial of hearts

I am trying to love the world
and all its 8,000 identifiable languages

With the forgetfulness of a potter
I’m trying to get the seas back on the maps
where they belong

secured to their rivers

The kettle alone knows the good he does,
Here in the kitchen, loving the world,
Steadfastly loving

See how easy it is, he whistles

Tuesday 14 April 2009

"Eve of Destruction"

In 1965...... Vietnam: 3,500 U.S. marines are the first to arrive there.
Rioting in Selma Alabama, beatings, hatred, murder, Malcolm X assassinated in Manhattan, civil rights marches, U.S. troops sent to Dominican Republic, "for the stated purpose of protecting U.S. citizens and preventing an alleged Communist takeover of the country", China and Taiwan clash at the Battle of Yong Ding, Australian infantry battalion joins US troops in Vietnam, the draft in the US increases from 17,000 to 35,000 per month, 18 year olds can not vote or drink alcohol, but they can be given a gun and sent to war against their will. Gemini 4 spends four days in orbit, first u.s. spacewalk, (cosmonaut Alexei Leonov was first, a few months earlier, 12 minutes outside the Voshkod capsule). Rioting in Algeria, Mariner 4 sails past mars. The Beatles play the first ever stadium concers, Shea Stadium. Pakistan and India declare war on each other, Chinese troops sent in force to the Chinese/Indian border. The cuban missile crisis is not long ago, kids are taught to "duck and cover", (remember, if you hear the sirens warning of imminent nuclear attack, get under your schooldesk)...

Against this world background, a nineteen year old, Phil Sloan writes "Eve of Destruction".

"The eastern world, it is exploding
Violence flarin’, bullets loadin’
You’re old enough to kill, but not for votin’
You don’t believe in war, but what’s that gun you’re totin’
And even the Jordan River has bodies floatin’

But you tell me
Over and over and over again, my friend
Ah, you don’t believe
We’re on the eve
of destruction.

Don’t you understand what I’m tryin’ to say
Can’t you feel the fears I’m feelin’ today?
If the button is pushed, there’s no runnin’ away
There’ll be no one to save, with the world in a grave
Take a look around ya boy, it's bound to scare ya boy.

And you tell me
Over and over and over again, my friend
Ah, you don’t believe
We’re on the eve
of destruction.

Yeah, my blood’s so mad feels like coagulatin’
I’m sitting here just contemplatin’
I can’t twist the truth, it knows no regulatin'.
Handful of senators don’t pass legislation
And marches alone can’t bring integration
When human respect is disintegratin’
This whole crazy world is just too frustratin’

And you tell me
Over and over and over again, my friend
Ah, you don’t believe
We’re on the eve
of destruction.

Think of all the hate there is in Red China
Then take a look around to Selma, Alabama
You may leave here for 4 days in space
But when you return, it’s the same old place
The poundin’ of the drums, the pride and disgrace
You can bury your dead, but don’t leave a trace
Hate your next-door neighbor, but don’t forget to say grace
And… tell me over and over and over and over again, my friend
You don’t believe
We’re on the eve
Of destruction
Mm, no no, you don’t believe
We’re on the eve
of destruction."

"Eve" is a Viet-Nam guntruck, believed to be the only one surviving, in the US Museum of Military Transport, Fort Eustis, Virginia.

Lou Adler:
I'd heard the first Dylan album with electrified instruments. This is strange, but it's really true: I gave Phil Sloan a pair of boots and a hat and a copy of the Dylan album, and a week later he came back with ten songs, including "Eve of Destruction." It was a natural feel for him - he's a great mimic. Anyway I was afraid of the song. I didn't know if we could get it played (on the radio). But the next night I went to Ciro's, where the Byrds were playing. It was the beginning of the freak period.... there was this subculture that no one in L.A. knew about, not even me, and it was growing. The Byrds were the leaders of the cult, and the place was jam-packed, spilling out on to the street. ln the middle of it was this guy in furs, with long hair, and dancing; I thought he looked like a leader of a movement. Terry Melcher told me that he was Barry McGuire, and that he'd sung with the New Christy Minstrels. A week later we cut the record and it sold six million. I didn't think it was a copy of anything. It was the first rock'n'roll protest song and Sloan laid it down in very simple terms, not like the folk people were doing. If you listen to the song today, it holds up all the way - it's the same problems. It's certainly an honest feeling, from a 16 year old. Melody Maker, Feb 5, 1972, p. 43; reprinted in Dave Laing, "Troubadours and Stars," in Dave Laing, et. al., The Electric Muse: The Story of Folk into Rock, London, 1975, pp. 58-59."

McGuire also mentioned that "Eve of
Destruction" was recorded in one take on a Thursday morning
(from words scrawled on a crumpled piece of paper), and he got a
call from the record company at 7:00 the following Monday morning,
telling him to turn on the radio - his song was playing. The
recording includes an "ahhh" where McGuire couldn't
read the words.
Read Phil Sloan's explanation. 

"One last thing. The media frenzy over the song tore me up and seemed to tear the country apart. I was an enemy of the people to some and a hero to others, but I was still only 20 years old and nobody really was looking. I have felt it was a love song and written as a prayer because, to cure an ill you need to know what is sick.
In my youthful zeal I hadn't realized that this would be taken as an attack on The System!
Examples: The media headlined the song as everything that is wrong with the
youth culture. First, show the song is just a hack song to make money and therefore no reason to deal with its questions. Prove the 19-year old writer is a communist dupe. Attack the singer as a parrot for the writers word. The media claimed that the song would frighten little children. I had hoped thru this song to open a dialogue with Congress and the people.

The media banned me from all national television shows.

Oddly enough they didn't ban Barry. The United States felt under threat. So any positive press on me or Barry was considered un-patriotic. A great deal of madness, as I remember it! I told the press it was a love song. A love song to and for humanity, that's all.
It ruined Barry's career as an artist and in a year I would be driven out of
the music business too."

Friday 10 April 2009

Skydiving in High Heels.

This was on The Sisterhood of the Pointy Heel's blog. However, I don't think anyone goes there any more, and updates are few and far. I think the sistahs are too busy polishing their nails, these days.
I think it's my duty to bring it to the attention of a few more people...
In case you were wondering, it's an advert for a washing machine.

There's something not quite right about it though. because elsewhere on the internet, I saw the reality of naked skydiving, which caused me to wince... Ladies, look away now, if you don't want to be haunted by the horror of concave boobies!

Yes. I took the picture away. I got bored with the thousands of visitors who just came to look at that picture. In a way, this was my most popular post. Because of one picture. Go away. seek it elsewhere.

Okay: experiment continues. I'm timing Bing and Google against each other, to see Ohh, well, never mind....
Here it is again......

As for the men... You think dogs wag their tails a lot?


Tuesday 7 April 2009

A Puzzling Jug

In my archive of pots from way-back, but unfinished, is this puzzle jug. Ever since potters began to play with clay, they were playing tricks too. A puzzle jug challenges the drinker to drink the contents without spilling, or lose a wager. This one says "Here Gentlemen, come try your skill, I'll hold a wager if you will, That you can't drink this liquor all, without you spill, or let some fall."
If you tip it as normal to your lips, there are pierced holes that will spill. The clue is in those spouts along the rim. The rim is tubular, as is the handle....... But you still have to contend with a number of holes that have to be stopped with fingertips before you can suck the liquid up.
I wish my lettering was neater. Ummm, on the other hand I'm inordinately proud that I managed to make a pulled handle that works.... It took a lot of experimenting before I got it right.
These are from the nineteenth century. Buckley, Flintshire, Wales.

Denholme, Yorkshire.

Liverpool, tin-glazed, 19th century.

Monday 6 April 2009

A Jug

I think I can out-procrastinate most people. This pot, I made in about 1992?, I plan to fire it some day.

Builders had started on a new housing development a quarter of a mile away, the digger buckets were cutting into smooth yellow clay... I hooked my trailer up, went to visit, asked for a grab of that clay, and took it home. 24 hours later, I had this. I did fire some samples, this one escaped, it's in a store of largely forgotten stuff, long story.... which I'll miss out altogether.
It's a baluster jug, loosely based on mediaeval stuff, hence the unfinished foot.

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Mick Casson, "The Craft of the Potter" (BBC-1974)

In 1976, the BBC made a series called "The Craft of the Potter", it was presented by the late Michael Casson, (1925-2003), a truly lovely man, a man so enthusiastic about his craft that it was impossible not to smile in his company, I had the good fortune to meet him several times, but never had the money, nor the good sense to buy one of his characteristic jugs.
The jug, or pitcher, in particular, what he called a "harvest jug" is the form which I think he most loved. Everything about him seemed larger than life, he'd make a jug with swift, sure movements, coat it with slip, and with a deft swipe of the thumb, a decoration would appear.
Mick always seemed to be wearing a smock, as loved by cornish fishermen, he always looked, to me, like a mediaeval character, the bearded character we'd see in the margin of some illuminated text, or the peasant potter carved in some cathedral.
Okay. I confess, I wanted a smock like that too, then I'd look like a "real" potter.
There was a book to go with the T.V. series, I have a copy, the series seems to no longer be available from the BBC, the last version I can see is on video cassettes, and the five 25 minute programs were available as part of the BBC's educational resources at the bargain price.... wait for it....... of £625:00. ($919:00) I'll bet they didn't exactly fly off the shelves! So far I've only found one fragment on youtube. Somebody out there must have it.

Ha! just noticed he says his wheelhead "batts" (circular discs on which the clay is thrown) are made of asbestos. It will be asbestos-cement, we had those at college too; funny how we are so paranoid these days about asbestos, yet in the seventies it was everywhere. If it really is as bad as we are told, then I'll definitely die of it, because in my school we used asbestos mats in the chemistry lab, asbestos mittens too, the pipes were lagged with asbestos insulation, my kiln had asbestos cloth under its wiring connectors..... It was everywhere, still is.