Monday, July 29, 2013

We have tomatoes

We have tomato fruits, to add to the other bounty of my veg plot this year. Actually i have only put out 9 tomato plants this year and 7 have survived (another one lives but it rather stunted). A number of my tomato plants now have fruit.


There hasn't been much model making news for awhile. Actually i had a short break after the last project but started a new one a week or so ago, Project #048 is a Shorts Tucano and is progressing nicely though was a bit slow at the start. The room where i make my models is unheated and also very well glazed thus extremes of temperature make it rather uncomfortable. Its a nice little kit which should be finished by the end of the week.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

A826 progress w/c 22/07/13

A week dedicated to writing mostly though i did review a couple of other texts. I need to submit my sample chapter next week and thats going well. One problem though is knowing exactly how many words to write!

On all TMAs up until now i have had a set word limit, however the sample chapter can be whatever i want it to be within reason (the dissertation as a whole is limited to about 15000 words). My sample chapter is the introduction and general review and i don't want to eat up too many words as i want to dedicate around 5000 each to the two major areas of the project. Thus i think 2-3000 words is a good limit, it can always be revised later anyway.

Friday, July 19, 2013


A couple of weeks ago i installed an app on my iPad that had changed my life... Well a little bit anyway, its the Flightradar24 app which allows you to track flights and find information out about them. I live under one of the flightpaths for Birmingham Airport and so get a lot of aircraft flying overhead. Others fly (at a higher altitude) bound for the likes of Heathrow, Charles de Gaulle and Southend.

The information gleaned from the app has helped me recognise whats flying overhead. When i was younger i was a huge plane spotter and could tell every type apart, its harder in the modern era where the basic template of a metal tube with an engine under each wing has been used for the majority of airliners these days. However thanks to the app i am starting to tell my 757s apart from my A321s...

The variety of what flies overhead surprised me a bit actually. I knew there were a lot of 737s and A320s but the number of 757s was a surprise, plus the odd A310 and 777. High up has been even more of a surprise, i often assumed the faint specks that fly high overhead were all big transatlantic jets but although i have seen a few 747s and an A380 many of the specks are smaller planes flying from the likes of Edinburgh and Shannon to airports in the South.

Great app anyway, i always have it open if i've got the iPad in the garden. Its just a shame not every plane shows up on it. You can see some photographs i've taken of planes flying over my house over the years here.
Easyjet 737

A826 progress w/c 15/07/13

A combination of the hot weather and other things i needed to get done this week meant that it hasn't been the busiest one for awhile. I did start writing my sample chapter this morning though and have over 1000 words in the can. My sample chapter will be the first one and will set the scene for the rest of the project.

I haven't done much research this week, most time has been spent preparing for the writing, however i have checked out the Vision of Britain website and the census and occupation data on Stratford could be very useful indeed.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The endless heat

Britain continues to swelter under the Summer heatwave.

Actually i don't mind the heat that much but the continuous heat wave which now looks like it will continue into August is getting a bit much. The problem with my house is it takes a long time to heat up but when it does... boy it gets hot! Thus the house is pretty much sweltering and short of investing money i don't have in air conditioners there probably isn't a great deal i can do...

It could be worse, i could be in an office i suppose. However the heat isn't making my study very easy but i have started bringing together my research ready to begin writing the first chapter of my dissertation at the weekend.

I was trying to think back to the last heatwave, the one in the late 70s is often mentioned though i was very young at the time of it and do not remember anything about it apart from perhaps the odd vague memory (which might be media constructs anyway).

Friday, July 12, 2013

A826 progress w/c 08/07/13

Battling against heat-induced laziness i continued my trawl through secondary sources earlier in the week, something which will continue throughout the project i am sure. The big event of the week though was my first visit to Warwick archives. Although Stratford is likely to be where i will be mostly there are also some useful sources at Warwick.

These being 2 trade directories, i will be using this source to try and determine the economic development of Stratford in the early 19th century. Unexpectedly the directories were available on microfiche and so i didn't have to nervously handle a couple of centuries old books. Its the first time i've used a microfiche since i was about 15 or 16 and a school visit to Birmingham Central Library!

Now i am preparing to actually write something, i have to submit a sample chapter in early August so will begin preparing for that next week.

Monday, July 8, 2013

A garden in bloom

My nasturums (or whatever they are called) are finally starting to bloom! The flowers have grown astonishingly well from seed though i was wondering if these wannabe-triffids were actually going to flower. In a day or two i could have a real riot of colour. As i haven't mowed the lawn for a few weeks (to try and get some new grass seed to germinate) i also have plenty of wild flowers on the lawn...

Stratford-upon-Avon River Festival 2013

Something i enjoyed last year was the Stratford-upon-Avon River Festival, being a fan of boats and inland waterways it was like heaven for me! However i enjoyed it by "accident" to be honest, i went to Stratford last year not even knowing it was on...

This year however i have been waiting for it to take place and on a scorching hot Saturday i visited the festival again, not for that long because of other commitments unfortunately but i did take quite a few photographs.

Friday, July 5, 2013

A826 progress w/c 01/07/13

Another week of solid research, this week i have been concentrating on secondary sources and have worked my way through a number of journal articles. I'll do some more next week and then (probably Wednesday if i can) head down to the archives. But not Stratford's, there could be some useful stuff at Warwick's archives so i'll pay that a visit hopefully.

After that i guess i need to get into TMA mode. At the start of August i need to submit a sample chapter, which will likely be chapter 1, well that can wait for a week or so yet.

Thursday, July 4, 2013


Its always nice to go somewhere new, and today i visited Alvechurch in Worcestershire (and of course the stretch of the Worcester & Birmingham Canal that runs there). Its a very interesting stretch of canal i walked, bookended by a tunnel and a disused canal arm. In between is the lovely Alvechurch Marina and there is also an interesting little aqueduct too. You can see my photos here.

Seems odd i haven't been here before especially as its a direct train from Erdington to get to Alvechurch and the canal is literally just over the bridge from the station!

Monday, July 1, 2013

All things must end

The Summer solstice is the longest day, and 5 years ago it truly was the longest of all days when my Dad died. This year i decided i wanted to do something a bit special to mark the anniversary. As he was 72 when he died i decided to say a prayer to him each day for the 72 days up until the 21st of June. And so i did, i wrote a note of what the prayer was about and stuck it on a photo frame holding pictures of us both to avoid me repeating myself.

One thing i didn't do until quite late on was write the day's date on the note, which in hindsight was something i should have done from the start! If i missed a day (for example being in London) then i caught up as soon as possible but sometimes there was a bit of confusion as to what note was for when and so required a bit of counting on a calendar. Anyway we got there in the end...

Afterwards i burned the 72 notes in a candle. The flames taking away the memories to another place perhaps. What were the prayers? Well mostly just talking to him about events in the past, i believe in the spirit world and many realms, he can hear me i am sure as i always feel he is with me still, in my heart.
Surprising how well post-it notes burn!