Tuesday, 18 January 2022

Frosty walk

 This morning the weather was dry and calm and about 4 degrees.  We decided to do a little shopping and then stop for a coffee and walk at Trentham Gardens.

The sun was bright and the temperature at the gardens was 1 degree C.  Mist was forming in the distance and there was a consideration that it would become foggy in a few hours, so a short walk was the first choice.
The hare sculpture caught my attention - it stood out in the sunshine and with the dry grass, the contrast was very good.

For the first time this year the lake was frozen over with a thin layer of ice.  Gulls were walking on the ice and the misty and bright backdrop gave them a very dark silhouette.

Back home for lunch and batten down the hatches against the cold.

Friday, 14 January 2022

Security Strikes Again

 On occasion I have made the odd purchase through Amazon - the US company that sells other peoples stock for them via the internet.  Some times this is the only reasonable way to obtain specialist goods when they are not available locally.

They have now changed their account access system as I have been informed in an E-mail.  I now need to give them my Smart Phone number to be able to receive a one time password to enable my account.

1. Only works if you have a smart phone number!

2. An alternative is to E-mail them a copy of a document like your passport or driving licence!

I can understand the logic of this procedure, but I am mindful that Amazon do not have a spotless reputation for protecting personal data.

The down side is that you cannot delete or edit your Amazon account unless you first comply with the smart phone number request or provide personal details first.  OK if you have a smart phone, passport or driving licence.  I wonder how many customers this system will exclude - probably only a few low spenders who have little impact on profit.

Time to review my spending habits again.

Sunday, 2 January 2022

Happy New Year 2022

 Now that we are into a new year of the Covid19 Pandemic, we are feeling more settled that we have both been double Vaccinated and Boosted against this infective disease.  Two years on and we are still taking precautions.

On the brighter side, we have an abundance of Goldfinches consuming lots of bird food.  These birds seem to be increasing in numbers again.

Another species that are more abundant in our garden are the Collard Doves, seen here with a Wood Pigeon.  There are often 18-10 birds around the base of the feeders each day.

The local Squirrels are doing well and are suitably prepared for the winter weather, though it has been unseasonably warm this New Year at around 15 degrees Celsius.  Not a frost in sight!

Our Foxcam is picking up regular visits from the Badgers.  They are spending time in the night digging up worms from out lawns.  That task is made easy for them as the grass is sodden by rain at present.

I recently saw a Kestrel hunting for food at quite close quarters.  I am always amazed at how these small birds of prey can hover and keep their heads motionless in any amount of wind.

Thursday, 23 December 2021

Christmas treats

 I have just baked bread for Christmas - small rolls with soft white enhanced flour, a couple of round loaves to crumb for the Christmas bakes and a garlic focaccia which will be quartered and frozen to use as we need it.

Rosie also made a Dundee cake which will be a real treat over the holiday.

Another surprise was a simulator model of an Eviktor EV55 Outback which was linked to me by Nicholas who is an administrator at X-Plane.org - This model was designed by Auctus Delineations and gifted by John Williams.

The design is visually good and technically very good, with all of the expected bells and whistles and  a few more.  After a quick check of the specifications, especially with approach and landing speeds, I was able to fly this aircraft from Duxford to Yorkshire and land without issues.  It is a really nice aircraft to fly and I am sure I will make quite a few flights in it over the Holiday.

The local birds are very active around the feeders at this time and I had to top them 3 times yesterday.  The foxes are less active and I am putting less food out until they get over the distraction of mating!

Sunday, 12 December 2021

Duxford to Crowland by Tiger

The tiger in question is a DH82 Tiger Moth which is parked at IWM Duxford on my Flight Simulator.  The task is to move the aircraft to Crowland Airfield in the Fens.
The first job in this type is to dip the fuel and see if the tank has enough content to last the flight. A quick walk around inspection, set the instruments, check the maps and compass and start the engine and we are ready to go.  No fancy navigation aids on this aircraft, just a radio link to air traffic control and a visual flight plan with compass bearings.

A nod from the controllers and I can Taxi out to runway 24R which is the grass runway.  With this tail dragger you must look around the nose to see where you are going when on the ground.

Take off is always quick in a light biplane and I am at 500 feet by the middle of the runway.  Just need to clear the runway before turning to bearing 330 on the compass.
Just above 1500 feet with the altimeter reset to QNN - 29.92 inches of mercury, which is the standard in flight setting for all aircraft world wide.  Proceed on heading until I reach my map reference point to the next bearing.

Having flown North West to a point due South of Crowland, I reset the compass to North.  That will take me to my destination without the need to fly around any air restrictions and at 1600 feet I am well below any other scheduled traffic, so I just need to keep an eye out for any small aircraft in my vicinity.

Approaching the Fens, the land surface is very flat, so roads, railways and rivers become a key navigation aid to my location.  Many of the fenland roads are straight, with distinct corners on the map.
With a visual on the airfield, I need to lose speed and descend to an approach altitude.  I also need to make sure that the ground control clears me to land.  This aircraft approaches at about 55-60 knots which gives a safe manoeuvring airspeed.

Runway alignment achieved with appropriate speed and altitude for final descent.  No flaps, fixed undercarriage and no need to re-trim - its just fly onto the runway and stop.

Over the runway thresh-hold at about 40 knots and let the aircraft sink slowly onto the grass field.  Rotate slowly at about 6 feet.

Having taxied back to the parking area, a final check and switch off.  Make sure fuel valve is closed and wheel chocks are in place.  Covers and surface locks attached, then its off to the cafe for a cuppa.

It is said that anyone can fly a Tiger Moth, but to fly it well is an acquired skill.

Saturday, 27 November 2021

Winter cometh

Now that the cold weather has set in, the behaviour of the garden residents is changing.  The squirrels are less active and on the lookout for easy food. Snuggling up in the crooks of branches is a regular thing at the moment.

The bird feeders are constantly in use, requiring at least two fillings a day.  Winter visitors are becoming more common with Goldfinches, Bullfinches, a Woodpecker and a now resident group of Collared Doves.
With snow and ice and a biting cold wind blowing - staying in looks very attractive at the moment.  Time for a bit of armchair gliding!
I have just launched from Llansysilio in Wales and landed my Antares 20E sailplane on the Long Mynd, which is on the Welsh Borders.

Sunday, 21 November 2021

Covid Passport

 My faith in Gov.UK is dwindling.

The idea of having a Covid passport on our Smart Phone is a no starter.  I have logged onto the government site for the NHS and entered my details for the Covid Passport.  OK until the time comes to verify my identity.

I can do this with my passport - That expired some time ago and has not been renewed.

I can also do this with my driving licence - I have a paper copy form way back and it does not have my photo on it, so it is not acceptable.

My pensioners bus pass has my photo on it, and the computer system will recognise it as a driving licence.  However - because it is not of the correct layout, I need another source of photo recognition.  The passport photo is the alternative, or you can use a current webcam video - Oops, my computer does not have a webcam.

The technology has excluded me.  My only option now is to contact my GP and request a letter of confirmation - which is OK, but it does not have a photo ID.

There is no available E-mail or postal address by which to enquire about these issues.

Homeward bound!


I can - of course - renew my driving licence at a fee - or I can renew my passport, but that all needs to be done by snail mail. From the news, it appears that the DVLC and the Passport Office are struggling with understaffing!

Following the advice of a friend, I found a link at the end of one of the pages to request a letter of confirmation "NHS Covid Pass Letter" and that was easy to do without the ID issues.  I should have that in the post soon.....

 Footnote 2:
Our covid pass letters arrived on 30 Nov 2021 and gave details our our first two vaccinations - The format is not designed to include the booster 3rd jab, but I assume that will change soon.