21 October 2007

Stuff that's happened...

Amidst all the last minute packing that took a week, SWIMBO has finally taken herself off to windier climes and from the email and phone calls I've had is enjoying herself in the South Atlantic. There are problems with the internet connection tho' so she's emailing me text and photo's and I'm creating her Travel Blog, which seems to be OK. Will be off myself to see her after Christmas, probably in February.
The T5 has been finished and sold to another UKW member and it will be delivered in a few days time. It's turned out quite well but I shan't be doing another one of these things as they take too long, I 'spose a Dremmel would have been very handy to do the 'fiddly' bits but I didn't have one. Still, it's quite pleasing to see how a fairly ropey old plane can be brought back to life and look better, hopefully, than when it was new.
I'm making a box at the mo' in spalted sycamore that a pal gave me...lovely stuff to work with with very pronounced figuring so I think it'll look good when it's done, I'll finish it with shellac and wax to keep the colour as oil would give it a yellow tinge.
Going to Surrey later in the week and will call in to see Paul Chapman and give Scott a bit of stick about his very uncool aviator shades!...should be a very good day. Going as well to see Philly and others in Poole where I hope to obtain some Greenheart for the bottom of a long woodie I will be making soon. It'll be 28" long, with the main body made from some Mahogany but I also want to include an adjustable mouth. The cap iron is going to be 8mm thick brass and it will have a double 5mm iron, 44 mm wide (ground downn from a 50mm woodie) and chipbreaker set at 50 degrees. I'll also be able to buy a Veritas 22" jointer with the money from the sale of the T5, so the plane collection is steadily growing.
I had a very interesting afternoon with Pete on Saturday, the result of which is that I'll be ditching my old leather strop in favour of a 1000g ceramic stone which gave and edge that I didn't think possible...absolutely fantastic, so that will be another order to Axminster shortly.

04 October 2007

Switzerland 2007

Having got all the photos sorted out now on the PC I can do a half respectable write up of our trip to Switzerland this year, and what a trip it was! We started out by catching the mid morning ferry to Dunkirque which left us the rest of the afternoon to drive for an overnight stop at the Ibis in Metz and then on to Grindenwald (near Interlaken) for our first camp site, which happened to be at the foot of the Eiger, which is a rather impressive sight when you crawl out of the tent first thing in the morning. I had a very slight problem tho' in opening the 'essential supplies' bought in Dunkirque the day previously, so I had to 'adapt and overcome'.
We stayed for a couple of nights at that site and then moved on to Lucerne and found a rather attractive site on the shore of the lake which was conveniently about a mile from the old city, an easy ride on the bikes. Lucerne is a lovely place, lots to see and plenty of fabulous chocolate shops to explore, however being of sound disposition I left Alyson solely in charge of that activity. By chance one of the attractions that we visited was the Transport Museum which was a stones throw from our site, I spent about four captivating hours in there and I think it's probably the best museum I've ever been in...even the kids had scooters to run around on! We also had a trip to Mount Pilatus which entailed a trip on the steepest cog railway in the world. The little trains negotiate a slope of 1:48 which is truly eye watering...fantastic view of the Alps from the top though. To round off our stay in Lucerne we visited an artillery fortress tunnelled into the mountain side at Vitznow, which was built completely in 14 months in 1939, a fairly outstanding piece of engineering. Switzerland has thousands of such fortresses and this one was decomissioned only in 1998!
Then onto Zermatt for another hike up to the Hornlihut which is about two thirds the way up the Matterhorn, a stimulating and enjoyable day out with marvellous weather and subsequent views of the peak. (The hut can just be seen as a 'pimple' centre of pic on top of the ridge) There is a new museum just opened in Zermatt on the story of the Matterhorn. On the original ascent, four of the team lost their lives just as they were starting down...the museum has a glass case containing the rope that snapped, thought provoking indeed.
Then onto Lukerbad, a small alpine resort with really hot thermal pools which quite made up for the most awful night we had. That particular day we had a bad storm with high winds and the temperature dropped to well below zero at night. Our sleeping arrangements weren't up to the extreme of temperature but we managed to survive by sleeping in just about all our clothes. I think the cooked breakfast the following morning was probably the best meal of the holiday....rosti and baked beans with lots of tea! The blobs on the Landrover bonnet are in fact solid blocks of ice, not water.
We rounded off the trip with a few days camping at Vidy, at Lausanne on the north shore of Lake Geneva, another excellent site. Lots of cycling along the lake accompanied by a day out 'wine tasting' at a couple of local villages....it's a wonder we got back to camp reasonably sober. After that it was the long drive back home via Metz again. A fantastic holiday in all with absolutely wonderful weather, even in the mountains (apart from that night)
One final thing though. We went on an alpine coach that went high up into the mountains and the blast of the triple air horns, once heard is never forgotten.....anyone know how I can fit a set on my pushbike?