Sailing my Paradox and country living


gliding flight

My grandson Lewis’s  15 birthday is coming up very soon and I  bought him a trial flight at the Bath and Wilts and North Dorset Gliding Club as a little gift.


We both went to visit the gliding site yesterday but there was no chance of flying due to the low cloud base. But today was better, so we chugged to there again in the green Citroen and this time he was lucky enough to get a short flight thanks to the folk at the club.

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Inside the hanger yesterday

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Getting ready. He had a quick briefing from Nigel -his instructor – on how to operate the parachute.before getting in.to the glider.

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settling in.

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waiting for another glider to land before hitching on the tow cable.

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All ready now. Take up the slack.

That’s it for the pics. I had to move away from the launch area when the moment came and the launch and climb- out happens so quickly that I failed to get a good shot then.

It’s annoying that the camera doesn’t have viewfinder. Just a little TV screen on which to compose the pics., which is impossible to see properly when in bright sunlight.. So very tricky to get an action shot of the take-off and climb-out today.

I think he enjoyed all of his 8 minutes in the air although a bit taken aback by the sudden acceleration and steep climb from the winch launch. Sadly there were no good thermals at that time so his flight was quite short.


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More firewood

The farm across the road has fairly recently changed hands and the new farmer and me are only just getting to know each other well.

The farm was badly neglected before the new man took over and this included the hedges which were very overgrown. So there has been a lot of overdue hedge cutting going on mostly with the familiar  tractor powered flail machine which chews up small pieces of wood and makes a dreadful mess. All very crude but it works  and saves labour..

But some of the hedges have big  trees with large diameter branches to be cut back, too big for the flail machine to handle so some chainsawing  was needed. They’ve been trying to burn, on site, this cut wood but only half succeeded due to the big bits of wood being too fresh and unseasoned .

So being the helpful chap that I am, I offered to take some of this stuff away to my place for burning – naturally in my fireplace next winter.

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The first trailer load I collected today ready for my fuel pile. I had to cut it to length so that I could load it by hand

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You can see that the wood’s charred on the outside where the farmer’s tried to burn it before I rescued it from his unsuccessful bonfire.  But that’s no problem for me.as it’s not burnt right through and still good for fuel. It will be dried out enough by this winter.to burn well – I’m sure.

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Here’s some of my ready-to-burn pile which I also worked added to today. So, as you can see, I’ve been busy .

I feel tired now after all that toil. But by tomorrow I’ll be rearing to go and collect another load or two from the farm.

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My Fergie. Built August 1950 and still giving good service but only fired up now again  It has an easy life compared with when it was employed on a farm full time. I’ve only had it since 1996 and use it for little jobs..Very handy for fetching long pieces of steel or timber.

And we have new young and very frisky cattle just beyond our back garden. They’re being strip grazed now. Amazing when they first came out of their winter quarters in a shed earlier, as they were so pleased to be outside for the first time. They ran about like lunatics and jumped and skipped with the simple pleasure of being free. Lovely to watch them enjoying their short life.

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One trying to look tough while the others take a rest. They must be the most looked after beef animals in the country. Their owner takes great care of them and is always mindful of their welfare.

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I asked why he’s put all those little bits of white plastic carefully tied onto the electric fence. It’s so that they can see the fence more easily and avoid contact with it. .I’ve never seen anyone else take so much care. It’s a great credit to him.

The farmers around here are a funny lot in general. Was chatting to one recently. He looks like he hasn’t got a single penny to bless himself with.  Old coat full of holes tied up in the middle with a bit of string and drives a car which looks like a reject from the scrapyard. Turns out that he’s worth 8 million what with cash in the bank and the land he owns. Astonishing .


The Tiller Pilot is back

They sent me a a new one to replace the defunct one that I sent back under guarantee.

Must admit to being a little surprised to get a new one today.   I fully expected to get my own one back after a little repair. I guess that the belt broke or the drive pinion came adrift from the armature or something equally trivial and it wouldn’t take long for a technician to open up the casing, and fix the problem.

Anyway, all’s well that ends well, although the process seemed to take a long time in my estimation. – 19 elapsed days from when I returned it in person to Piplers at Poole Quay to the arrival of the replacement by carrier. Anyway we’re now sorted, so thanks to Piplers and all concerned.

I see from the box that the device is still described as giving reliable steering. We shall see in the fullness of time

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BTW The weather here in the south of the UK has been really awful lately. Gales and rain and chilly.