Archive for January, 2013

Victory Lower Deck with Guns

I realize that not all of you follow my passion for modelling but this is a special step in the building.  In the photo you will see the 32 pounder guns now mounted and rigged.  You will also see the pumps and the shot garlands and the double capstans.  This is important because once I build the next deck, no one will ever see these things again.  I particularly like the little eye bolts in the deck.  I enjoyed making these items even if no one will ever see them.  It is my hobby.


Lower Gun Deck



A few blogs back I mentioned that I accidentally bought some Organic Bananas.  I was concerned at the time that they would affect my lifestyle.

Well I have not gone for any ear piercings but I did prepare two tofu meals this week.  Not sure where the idea came from but I had to try.  I have used Tofu before but not as the main protein base of a recipe.

The tofu stir fry was good but I still prefer chicken however  tonight I made Hot and Sour Soup with Tofu and that is a keeper.

I apparently have come a long way from Tregarva meat and potatoes .

It is a Foggy night

We are experiencing an unusual weather situation this mid January evening.  The air temp is just below freezing but the ground is warm and we have no wind.  Woke up this morning to the kind of fog that you read about in English moor mysteries.  Normally that burns off as the day goes on but the fog did not dissipate.  This evening it is thick as soup.

I have suggested to Pat that we go for a walk around the golf course to experience the moor adventure, but she is not in the mood.  Apparently the occasional HAAWWHOOOOO  that we hear may be from wolves or wild dogs.

Still it beats shoveling snow.



Victory Lower Deck Guns

In and earlier blog I showed the new 32 pounder gun barrel for the lower deck.  I have now completed making all the carriages for the Victory.

These are smaller than I have ever made.    I attach 3 pictures.  The first is an actual gun from the Victory, the next is a one of the guns I made (they are about 1 1/4 ” long)  and the third is the entire group.  Remember this is only one deck of guns 30 in all there are 74 more on the decks above.  I hope I finish before I die.

Actual Gun

32 pdr Gun

Lower Deck Guns



Many years ago when we still had kids  at home, I used to make Chimichangas.  Basically a Mexican Burrito that is fried in oil for 30 seconds to make the taco crisp.  It was a big hit (Meagan even put it on her list of favourite meals)

This week I was in a reflecting mood.  Possibly due to my approaching seniority but I suspect it was when I was hungry.  So I decided to dig out the old recipe and make Chimichangas again.

Probably not a dish for seniors with a slight weight issue, but boy were they good.  Would have been even better with the kids here to enjoy them. 

Granted none of my daughters would eat a deep fried Burrito these days, but I still miss those days when I was a hero for making a favourite meal.   



Last day as Adult

Today, January 17, 2013, is my last day as an adult.  Tomorrow I become a SENIOR.  Wonderful benefits flow into my life tomorrow. 

I get a new Gold Card from the BC government that allows me to ride on BC Ferries for free, lowers the cost of my home and car insurance, gets me into the movie theatre for $2 less, gets me into the marine museum in Maui for $8 less, brings on my Canada Pension Plan and many more benefits.

Not a day older but so much richer. 

It is an auspicious eve in my life history to join those other great day-befores. 

January 17 1964, I was 15 going on 16 and could not wait.  The next day I got out of school and mother took the time off to drive me downtown to get my learners license.  I had probably studied harder for that than any test that month. 

January 17, 1969, I was going to turn 21 the next day and would be able to go to bars.  Actually that was a non-event because I did not drink and had no desire to, but it was a big deal with my friends.  Probably the first day that I considered myself an adult.  These days that is at the age of 17, but we were younger in those days.

May 9, 1969 and my last day as a single person.  Apparently turning adult in January had its implications. 

March 30, 2008.  That was a Sunday and the next day I went into the office for my last day of work.  We celebrated that night as we were moving out of our apartment the next morning.

So now I am celebrating my last night as an adult.  Pat is out tonight at a meeting so I guess I will celebrate by going to the workshop and turn some axles for the guns on the Victory. 

Still an auspicious night.

Le Miz the Movie

Pat and I went to see Les Miserables this afternoon.  It was a must see for me because of all the musicals I have seen on stage this was my favourite.  I was fortunate to see it 4 times and even more fortunate to see it with Colm Wilkinson in the lead 3 times. 

The movie is simply spectactular.  Easily the best movie I have seen in years. 

Anne Hathaway plays Fontine.  She absolutely nails the song “I dreamed a dream”  This is a heavily covered song with stars like Elaine Paige making their carreers on it.  Anne’s version blows them all away.  She is a shoo-in for the Oscar for this role.

A surprise for me was that Colm Wilkinson had a role in the movie as the bishop.  Only one  song but his voice is still magnificant. 

A must see movie for all of you out there.  It would be my vote for Best Picture Oscar but then the Killing Bin Lauden movie will get all the emotional votes in the US .  Still Les Miserables the movie will be playing on TV 30 years from now when their competition will be forgotten.

New Singer

A week ago we were given a CD recorded by a new Canadian artist.  The CD was handed to us as we were leaving a party and I did not think much about it until I put it into our system and we listened to it today.

The music was wonderful.  I expected some cheap indie recording but it is as good as any music we have.

The artist is bri-anne Swan and the album is “these are all my friends”  The genre listed is folk but it is a combination of easy listening and pop. 

The artist  name already is a turn off because it seems so cute but get past that.   Her voice is up there with a young Jennifer Warnes or Sarah McLachlan and the songs and arrangements are first class. 

A few years ago I sent an email to James and Andra to ask if their daughters were listening to this new artist Justin Beiber.  Now I do not actually like his music but I realized at the time he was going somewhere.  James and Andra both said “Justin Who?”  (James also pointed out that he had a concern about why I would even know his name)

So I may again be ahead of the curve.  I urge you to either down-load or buy the CD.  I hope you can find it but I guarantee you will like it.

bri-anne swan

HMS Victory Main guns

I have completed the lower deck of the model (only three more to go above)  This is the big gun deck where Victory had 30 massive guns that could shoot a 32 pound cannon ball up to a mile.  At the time the typical battle took place within 100 yards or less.  At that range the ball could go through 24 inches  of solid Oak.

The entire gun assembly on the lower deck weighed 6000 lbs most of it in the cast barrel and required a crew of up to 12 men to drag it back and forth and load it.  The noise of one of these guns going off in the crowded confines of the lower deck must have been deafening.

Every model I have ever made I purchased guns from a model supplier.  Either cast bronze or turned brass.  In most of the models it was the only part that I purchased but I wanted them to look authentic. 

Checking out the guns for the scale of the Victory the cost of brass barrels (and remember I still have to make the carriages and frames) was going to run about $2 per gun AND THERE ARE 104 GUNS ON THIS MODEL.

So I finally determined to turn my own barrels.  Fortunately many years ago Blaine gave me a mini lathe.  I have learned to turn gun barrels.  Check the picture.  Remember they still have to be blackened but I think they turned out OK.  However these are the big guns.  Each deck above the guns get slightly smaller. 

And you may wonder how I spend my retirement years   I will send a picture later after I have mounted them on the carriage

32 pdr barrel

1960s drug songs

As I worked in the shop this afternoon on the model (turning guns on the mini lathe) I was watching or listening to a documentary about the influence of drugs on the pop groups of the 60s and 70s.  Now I am not totally naive.  I knew the Eric Clapton song Cocaine was about drugs.  I even knew that Lucy in the Sky by John Lennon was about LSD and Light my Fire by the Doors  well that was self evident. 

Lets face it virtually every song in the early 70s was about drugs.  I knew that, what I did not know was that some of the sweet music of my teen aged years was an invitation to getting high. 

Magic Carpet Ride by Steppenwolf, White Rabbit by Jefferson Airplane, Incense and Peppermint by Strawberry Alarm Clock.  Now in hindsight this must be so obvious that even my grandchildren must wonder about me.  My defense is that I grew up in Regina where the drug of choice at the high school and in the neigbourhood level was alcohol.  What would I know?  I thought all these groups were just happy to live in California. 

The big shock for me was a song by The Association.  I love this group.  My parents liked this group.  A bunch of guys that sang in harmony with nice love songs.  Not long hair and looked normal, particularly on Ed Sullivan.

Their first hit was Along Came Mary.  I great melody about a girl that came along when you needed a girlfriend, or so I thought.  Apparently Mary referred to Marijuana (the nickname was Mary Jane at the time)  I have this song on my sweet 60s music list.  Again when you look at the lyrics, it is obvious.  What is safe?  “I want to Hold your Hand”  by the Beatles was it about transferring a packet from your dealer? 

You would think I would beyond being upset about this kind of thing at my age.