Tuesday, 2 July 2013


Most people will be aware that man first landed on the moon in 1969. What might not be so well known is that the world's first supersonic flight was also in 1969.

Supersonic means faster than the speed of sound which at around 768 miles per hour, is pretty quick. Although not as quick as 7 miles per second which is the speed Apollo 11 had to travel to escape Earth's gravitational field. 1969 was definitely the year for speed.

Up until 1st October 1969, flights had been subsonic, meaning that they were slower than the speed of sound. Concorde's first supersonic flight meant people could now travel across the globe in a fraction of the time.

Concorde was a collaborative project between the UK and France and was heralded as a triumph in modern engineering. The planes were operated by Air France and British Airways. The name was chosen to reflect the partnership between the two countries. The words “Concorde” in French and “Concord” in English, mean the same. They both mean agreement.

Concorde's first commercial flight was in 1976. With a cruise speed of 1350mph, she could make London to New York in a little over 3.5 hours. The time in a normal plane was around 8 hours.

Unfortunately, Concorde was expensive to run and maintain. Not everyone liked the planes flying overhead due to the loud sonic boom whenever they broke the sound barrier. Air France and British Airways jointly announced the retirement of Concorde in 2003. The last Concorde flight for Air France was on 27 June 2003. Concorde's last commercial flight for British Airways was on 23 October 2003. I'd love to know if October was a coincidence or if it was chosen as a nod to that very first supersonic flight back in 1969.

These days the 7 Concordes belonging to British Airways can be found at locations around the globe. This list is from their website www.britishairways.com/concorde

Airbus UK, Filton Bristol, UK
Manchester Airport, UK
Museum of Flight, near Edinburgh, UK
Heathrow Airport, UK
The Museum of Flight, Seattle, USA
The Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum, New York, USA
Grantley Adams Airport, Bridgetown, Barbados

Bye for now


Monday, 27 May 2013

A Tribute to Dad's Army

Hi there,

These guys are the characters from Dad's Army, a British TV comedy from the 1970s.  It was a sit-com about the Home Guard during the Second World War.

Originally called Local Defence Volunteers, the Home Guard was made up of men who were either too young or too old to enlist. Most were too old. Hence the nick-name Dad's Army.  Their job was to defend the home front against possible invasion. In the early days, the Local Defence volunteers had to wait for equipment as the regular army had priority.  This is where most of the more comic moments of the TV series came from.  The never-ending enthusiasm to invent ways of hindering an invasion using whatever tools they had to hand.  The re-runs are still popular today.  An everlasting tribute to the real band of Dads and Grandads, all of them volunteers, who watched over and protected our coastline and homes.

Dad's Army is and always will be one of my all time favourite comedies.  Which is why I read with some sadness today that Bill Pertwee, the actor who played Warden Hodges, has passed away.

So this is my tribute to the cast of Dad's Army the series:

Arthur Lowe  1915-1982

Clive Dunn 1920-2012

John Laurie 1897-1980

Arnold Ridley 1896-1984

Ian Lavendar 1946-

James Beck 1929-1973

Frank Williams 1931-

John Le Mesurier 1912-1983

Bill Pertwee 1926-2013

Bye for now 


Sunday, 6 January 2013


Hi there,

Ironing has never been one of my favourite pastimes. I know it's something that has to be done but I always put it off. Usually because I've found something better to do. There is a pile of washing waiting for me right now, nicely stacked in the airing cupboard, waiting patiently. It's going to be there a long time, or at least until I run out of other clothes. I'd honestly rather de-ice the freezer than pick up an iron.  I'm not alone.  I know lots of people who hate ironing and find it a boring chore. 

Why is that? Why is it such a chore? Is it because it hurts when you accidentally iron your fingers as well as that tricky hem that just will not lie flat? It never ceases to amaze me that we can fly across the globe, we've even sent man to the moon and yet, after all this time, we are still ironing clothes.

These days ironing is easy.  With fabric conditioners, modern fabrics and hi-tech modern irons, it really is a breeze compared to what it must have been like before electricity and easy-care fabrics. Imagine what it must have been like in the days when irons were actually made out of iron. They must have weighed a ton. 

This iron must have been one of the heaviest.  It's a charcoal iron. Yes, you did read that right. A charcoal iron. An iron you fill with charcoal, hot from the fire. It would have been very heavy and very hot. I wouldn't fancy ironing my fingers with this! Our ancestors sure had it tough. 

All things considered I think I'll stick with my nice, light, modern steam iron. Now I know just how easy ironing is today, I might just start doing it more often. I've still got that pile in the airing cupboard. Although, I have enough clothes to see me through for a few days...   Umm ... I think I might just go and disinfect the wheelie bin ...

Bye for now