Tuesday 25 May 2021

Anyone 'ere know Tony...

Does anyone know what happened to Tuscan Tony, who used to blog in the UK for a few years? I occasionally emailed him back and forth, but never actually met the chap, which was a shame as there was a chance we could have got him interested in an investment deal we had going at the time!

Some good chums here have just up-sticked and gone to live in Tuscany, and while I've never been that far down there, Senora O'Blene and I love Northern Italy more than any other place we've been to on the continent, 

So Tuscs, if you're listening, I hope all is well with you, and I still remember that little bottle of olive oil you sent me as a prize for something or other!

Tuesday 18 May 2021

Incident at Cow Palace...

Keith Moon passed out on stage here, and Pete Townshend asked the crowd if there was a drummer in the house!

Step up Scot Halpin - the rest is history!

Scrobs has known a few drummers in the past, Nick Monnas was a great guy who always considered that drumsticks had to be held in a certain way, and this is certainly the case with Gene Krupa for another one!

The last time I ever took up the sticks was around 1966, at a barn-dance near Rye, so that's well-remembered isn't it!

Tuesday 11 May 2021

Wartime fish...

Scrobs is reading the book about 'Dad's Army', by Graham McCann, as we've been watching the whole series - again, recently.

One of the passages discussed in the book, is where Capt. Mainwaring gets riled at Sergeant Wilson being a member of the golf club, where he had some smoked salmon for lunch, and Mainwaring shrieks that he's been trying to get membership there for years and that he only had a snoek fishcake at 'The British Restaurant' in Walmington-on-sea!

Now, being somewhat inquisitive (even at 10.00pm), I realised I hadn't a clue what 'snoek' was, and imagined it to be some sort of mishmash of plankton, whelks and some sort of vegan slop, so looked it up!

What a great fish it is! It's a delicacy in South Africa, and I hope you won't mind me posting a link to a  fabulous culinary website from a lady who really knows these things! She also gets a lot of the history of the fish into her post, which seems to ring true with our way of life these days!


I've never had snoek - has anyone here?

(I recommend the book too - it's well written, and very informative)!

Tuesday 4 May 2021

The Tea Tray...

Some years ago, Scrobs had an idea...

Skate boards were in their infancy, and while I'd grown up with 'go-carts', (not the powered ones, just the set of pram wheels nailed onto a wooden frame), and had enjoyed hours of immense fun racing down the hills near our home, I'd seen an article about a 'Gyrobus' in a magazine, which sparked something in the Meccano-riddled brain which inhabits this ol' head!

The concept is explained here

I wondered if the principle could be applied to a much smaller piece of equipment, and started to put together some ideas on paper, with absolutely no knowledge of what I was doing at all! Like many young boys, I'd had several of those toys which had a tiny flywheel driving the wheels, so you pushed the car along the floor, let go, and it would travel onwards for a few yards. I loved these models, and cherished their simplicity, as wind-up toys invariably broke when the spring got too tired!

The flywheel concept developed into these sketches...

Again, knowing absolutely nothing about the technology, as this was occurring way before the internet, I still felt that 'The Tea Tray' would work! I reckoned that the flywheel could be made from concrete set in a mould, with small indentations to fill with lead for perfect balance, and the flywheel boss connected to the rear wheels via a belt (not a chain), to drive the thing. 

One would sit on the machine, rather like you would on a small snow-sleigh, and you would start the fly wheel going with a pedal and ratchet. The clutch was a simple release device, which disengaged the axle at the rear with a bicycle brake lever attached to the side. Braking was by virtue of disengaging the flywheel, and sticking one's legs out as one always did on the go cart! If one kept the wheel engaged, going downhill would keep the motion going for longer.

Steering was an issue which was resolved by having a 'v' shaped rocker on the front wheels, so that if one leaned to the right, it would turn the wheels which were built onto a simple rack and pinion system. It all seemed to work - but in this ol' head only!

The Gyrobus didn't last either...