Friday, 22 January 2010

Skydiver Felix Baumgartner seeks to break sound barrier

Skydiver Felix Baumgartner seeks to break sound barrier

Another case here of a chap willing to push the boundaries of human knowledge and endurance by jumping, quite literally, into the unknown. It is heartening to know that there are still people out there with the drive and inquisitiveness to ask "can it be done?" and the courage of their convictions in making the attempt to find out. Once again I can't help but marvel at the nature of humans in that we continually push ourselves beyond known experiences and abilities. It truly is one of our greatest traits as a species that we are always seeking to go that little bit further for the sake of finding out whether it is in fact possible. The very best of luck to Mr Baumgartner, and happy landings!

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Rare early motorcycle to be auctioned

Rare early motorcycle to be auctioned

After a few days of relative quiet here is an article about what is essentially one of the world's first motorcycles. An intriguing tale of the beginnings of the motorbike; it is interesting to note in the design the obvious debts owed to the bicycles of the period and yet in many other ways it is surprisingly modern. Certainly the speeds claimed are tremendous for the time, although I wouldn't fancy trying to hit 30mph on one of them, would you? Likewise we may laugh today at the thought of a 1.5-litre engine pumping out all of 2½ horsepower at a lowly 240 revs per minute, but then you have to remember that the predominant mode of transport at that time had one horsepower and travelled at an appreciably slower speed! Although from the sound of things the latter was still the more reliable.

What people, used to horse-drawn carriages and pushbikes, would have thought when seeing someone whizzing about on one of these I can't imagine. It must have been simply mind-boggling to have been alive during a period of such technological advancement.

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Back to the 1940s for poppy fundraiser

Back to the 1940s for poppy fundraiser

You wait ages for an interesting local story and then two come along at once! Yet another heartening tale of community spirit, with the added attraction of an enjoyable '40s motif. Once again charity is the main beneficiary, which can only be a good thing, plus the general public get to interact and enjoy themselves in a manner of which I thoroughly approve! A hearty "well done" to all involved.

Memories are made of this

Memories are made of this

Another local story of young and old coming together and the cultural enrichment that can result. I do so enjoy these articles, particularly when the majority of the media seems to be concerned only with the social gulf that is purported to exist between young and old. Amongst such scaremongering worthwhile and successful efforts like this can often be overlooked but nevertheless I'm glad to see that they're still taking place because, as I've said before, everyone benefits and clichéd though it may sound, experience and memories are passed on to a new generation.

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Snow tips North East Air Museum's Vulcan bomber skyward

Snow tips North East Air Museum's Vulcan bomber skyward

The perils of parking a delta-winged aeroplane outside in the snow are made apparent in this amusing little piece. It serves as an interesting reminder as to just how heavy snow can be in large quantities, that there was enough of it to cause this 83,500lb bomber to tilt upwards. With luck this particular example will have sustained no lasting damage; the real danger, as mentioned, is when the snow melts and it returns to its normal position. They look to have it well in hand, though, and I'm sure everything is tickety-boo now.


A fantastic aircraft, the Vulcan, and I was lucky enough to see one flying as a child (there is now only one airworthy example - XH558 - probably the same one I saw all those years ago, as it was the sole flying display aircraft until 1993. Mothballed after this date, it only returned to the skies in 2007 courtesy of the Vulcan To The Sky Trust). My abiding memories of it were the way it seemed to block out the sky and the almighty noise it made! I can still remember my chest seemingly vibrating as it flew over us. An iconic machine.

Saturday, 9 January 2010

Bugatti Type 22 raised for a good cause

Bugatti Type 22 raised for a good cause

Bugattis are amongst my favourite makes of car so I am glad to see one saved from the ignominy of being dumped in a lake. Although not one of the more valuable models of Bugatti it is nevertheless pleasing to think that it will still make a tidy sum, in spite of its condition, and for such a worthy cause too. Another interesting tale all round, of the sort I'm fond of reading - a beautiful machine thought lost for years, rediscovered, rescued from a watery grave and helps raise money for a worthwhile effort while giving people the opportunity to enjoy it all over again. What's not to like?

Friday, 8 January 2010

Charlie Chaplin to be made into cartoon

Charlie Chaplin to be made into cartoon

I have long been a fan of silent comedies and the early days of cinema in general and while Chaplin is not one of my favourite silent comedians I still appreciate his incredibly inventive, comedic ability. I am therefore overjoyed to see that plans are afoot to make a cartoon of him, something I'm certain Charlie would have been pleased with as well. Cartoons are the perfect medium for the sort of slapstick humour that Chaplin employed and I'm sure the people involved in this venture will have no trouble in thinking up new and hilarious situations for the little Tramp to become embroiled in. I can't wait!

Liberty Head 1913 nickel sells for £2.3m

Liberty Head 1913 nickel sells for £2.3m

Coin collecting (or numismatics, to give it its proper name) has long been a hobby of mine so it was with great interest that I read this story of a rare American 5¢ coin. Of course, anything that is made in such small numbers is bound to be uncommon and therefore deemed valuable. We in Britain have a similar situation with regards to the 1933 penny, only 7 being known to exist (although nowhere near the price paid for this nickel; a '33 penny is still valued at approximately £40,000 today). It is always fascinating to note how such a simple decision or mistake such as a design change/error can influence a coin's value but as I, and any other collector, would no doubt tell you it is this very fascination, the variety and history, which all adds to the interest and excitement of numismatics. Whoever bought this nickel should be proud to have it in their collection, as I'm sure they are.

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Steam train's snow rescue glory

Steam train's snow rescue glory

This just about made my day, I can tell you, and is my favourite story of the year so far without doubt. In a week that has seen modern transport seriously disrupted by heavy snow (which, contrary to what the TV and papers may tell you, we have most certainly experienced before without all this fuss) a piece of sixty-year-old technology is able to cope perfectly well while more modern, supposedly "superior" locomotives are stymied. That a group of passengers, who might have otherwise been stranded at Christmas in a cold railway station far from home, were rescued and given a taste of railway travel as it should be is just a superb bonus.

Monday, 4 January 2010

Thieves in Sweden steal left shoes to match stolen right shoes from Denmark

Thieves in Sweden steal left shoes to match stolen right shoes from Denmark

Is there no end to criminals' resourcefulness? Not if this article is anything to go by. It shows the lengths some people will go to to make a bit of money. It also made me laugh like a drain, which is all a story needs to do to earn a place on here. Top marks for ingenuity though, I must say. Still, if the shoe fits, wear it (even if there's only one of them!).

Sunday, 3 January 2010

Remains of historic British monoplane discovered in Antarctica - Times Online

Remains of historic British monoplane discovered in Antarctica - Times Online

Well, here we are again after the Christmas and New Year holidays. Items of interest usually fizzle out over this period, plus of course I like to have a break now and again, you know! Three days in to 2010, though, and here we have an incredible story, an amazing example of good fortune. It is always fascinating to me to read about how explorers and men of determination looked upon the then-new technologies of aeroplanes and the like as a means to further challenges, not to mention how fast-advancing the machinery was in itself. Only eight years after its invention and someone decides to take an aeroplane to one of the most inhospitable places on the planet. Amazing and inspiring. The story of this particular aircraft's rediscovery is equally astounding and I am so glad that it has been found so that the story has again come to light and, what is more, reached a successful conclusion.

Popular Posts

Royal Treasure Collectibles

Followers