Life at the end of the road

October 16, 2012

A day at the museum

Filed under: boats, daily doings, South Shields — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 8:11 am

Not such a nice day here on Sunday, with yours truly’s plans of a walk north of the Tyne scuppered by the frequent showers. Of course I should be used to that living where I do but I’m most definitely getting soft in my old age. So instead I spent the morning plonking away on here and making the best of what to most folk would be a reasonable internet connection. Compared to my pathetic satellite ‘broadband’ system at home this ‘Three Network’ 3g dongle is ‘warp speed’ and a whole new avenue of internet delights are out there for me to discover.

I can watch YouTube at home, on a good day if it’s not raining or between 18:00 and 21:00, I can even watch ‘I Player’ and the like if you don’t mind the buffering. However on the whole it’s not a pleasurable experience and the bandwidth required eats into my pathetic 8GB monthly allowance that costs me £50!!!! This mobile broadband dongle thingy however is ‘the dogs’ but then you’re probably used to that anyway in the ‘real world’ Smile The net result of all this extra and extremely fast data is that I’ve been getting distracted, and on Sunday I got waylaid by the ‘English Electric Company’ 

English Electric logo

Not having seen my dad for a month I’ve been kind of missing him, not that he’ll be reciprocating bless him, for he has dementia, but for many many years, long enough to get a gold watch he worked for them.  They had a huge factory near Accrington where we lived and pop was an engineer there and managed to retain his job despite the ups and downs of the defence industry in the 1960’s and 70’s. Every time there was a major contract scrapped like the ‘tactical, strike, reconnaissance’  plane  or gloom would set about the household as hundreds of workers would be laid off. Fortunately we always seemed to be lucky and pop stayed there through the GEC and BAC incarnations until he took early retirement.

In truth he probably made as many parts for ‘diesel electric’ trains as Lightning, Canberra and Harrier aircraft but as a child it was always the airplanes that I bought as ‘Airfix’ kits Smile


Well I never, I just found that on ‘Google images’ and it must be an artists impression of the only time the TSR-2 went ‘supersonic’, for if you look at the rear of the both planes you’ll see that the Lightning has engaged both ‘afterburners’ and the TSR-2 only one. In a recent interview the test pilot said that when he engaged the afterburner on just one of the Olympus turbojet the plane went supersonic and left the following EE Lightning behind despite the pilot engaging both of his. The EE Lightning was (and still is) the fastest British plane ever built.

Whole books have been written about the TSR-2 debacle in which £200, 000, 000 worth of development was reduced to £50,000 worth of scarp in a matter of weeks but that’s another story. Me I was just reminiscing about my dad and the little alloy and magnesium nick nacks he’d bring home and say, ‘this is off a ???’ Smile I still have some now, who knows I may even have a bit of TSR-2 Smile

Where was I???

Sorry, got distracted there, anyway, during my surfing of the net I discovered that the ‘North East Aircraft Museum’ was only a few miles away and they had both a Canberra and Lightning



Vulcan B2





Lightning F53



Canberra TT18 and that’s just outside, in the three hangers and one set aside for vehicles there are many more.

At £4 admission it’s a bargain and I had the whole place to myself for a couple of hours enabling me to get intimate with some of the exhibits Smile


I think this is the cockpit section from an Armstrong Whitworth Meteor



and that would be my only criticism of the place in that not everything was labelled


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like this Daimler Benz DB601 V12 which I’m guessing is from this HE111 bomber, or what’s left of it.


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These aero engines are pure ‘works of art’, thirty years on a Scottish hillside and just look at that aluminium casting with its polished webs and the ‘cross bracing’ high tensile bolts through the main bearing caps. German engineering at its best, this would be a similar engine to what went into the ME Bf 109g fighter.


And this would be the British equivalent, the every bit as impressive Rolls Royce Merlin V12, this one belonging to a Hawker Hurricane but the same engine powered everything from tanks to bombers. I think the DB had the edge on it, but not by much, the German engines extra capacity (33 as opposed to 27lt) and fuel injection gave it  slightly better performance.

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It’s not just aircraft and vehicles either, there’s a lot of weaponry and even some field kitchens Smile



Now that’s what I call a shed Smile


and I’d love one of these on the croft Smile



A great day out, though if you do go make sure you time it so as not to hit traffic from the nearby Nissan offices.

That was me there right up until closing at 17:00, after which it was back home to ‘The Village’ for some much needed grub. There is a cafe there but I’m kinda off canteen food for the moment Smile



Once back at Sandhaven I was just in time to catch the diving support vessel ‘Reef Despina’ who was just departing the harbour. With her distinctive ‘Ulstein X bow’ this design seems to be catching favour amongst offshore supply vessels due to its excellent sea keeping qualities.  You can just see the pilot boat Collingwood going to pick up the pilot.



Hardly a pretty looking ship but this type of bow reduces fuel consumption and pitching in a head sea greatly.


I know which vessel I’d rather sail on Smile

‘From our own correspondent’

Meanwhile back on Raasay the aurora blazes

 Aurora 2

and the snow falls



Many, many thanks to George Rankine for that little reminder of home Smile

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