Thursday 31 May 2012

Chateau Musar

Buckled down and soldered the connecting wires from the DPDT switches to the 4 sockets which attach to the Tortoise points motors. Also, tested the wiring, and all 4 switches do indeed successfully operate one of the motors which I connected to each of the sockets in turn.

The sockets are green in this picture and  eventually will each plug into a Points motor.

King Tubby was again the music of choice yesterday. It is primeval beat music.

Last night's dinner:

Steak, spinach and mushrooms in a tomato sauce washed down by decanted Chateau Musar.

For 30 years I have collected wine labels and stuck them on the walls of the corridor going into our kitchen. (More difficult to remove them these days for some reason - different glue, perhaps.)

Two earlier examples of Chateau Musar.

As you probably know, Chateau Musar is a wine from the  Lebanon.

Wednesday 30 May 2012

HO scale Catenary

Catenary refers to overhead electric wires.

Haven't had time to do anything on railway layout today so thought I would float this issue of catenary wires.

Should I or should I not bother. Looking at the above picture makes me lean towards not bothering.

Here is what the stuff looks like in HO scale.

On the other hand, it really adds to the visual impact of a layout.

Ernest Bloch:

Swiss composer (1880 to 1959)

One of many European composers who moved to the USA for various reasons during the course of the 20th century.

Here is a picture of Bloch's house in Oregon.

Bloch composed powerful  and , in my view, very moving and melancholic string quartets. Whenever, I'm in the mood for melancholic music, it is to these string quartets that I turn.

Last night's dinner:

Bacon and poached eggs, washed down with tap water.

The bacon was fried in this olive oil that we got on offer in Sainsbury's this week. I remember buying it once before (some years ago) and the girl at the till picked it up and said, "I just love this stuff. I can drink it straight from the bottle." Or she might have said "could drink it ......."

Either way I left the supermarket wondering whether she actually did drink the oil straight from the bottle.

Tuesday 29 May 2012

9 volt power for Tortoise Points

Although Tortoise points motors can take 12 volts, they apparently work just as well off 9 volts. In fact, some people advocate the use of 9 volts since the points change more slowly and thus more realistically.

In any case, I don't have a 12 volt source of power at present, but I have had this 9 volt battery for some time.

Today, I connected the numerous wires from the DPDT switches to the battery by first soldering the wires into 2 batches of + ve and - ve respectively, inserting them into two apertures of a 60 amp choc block and thence to the battery via a pair of crocodile clips.

Karol Szymanowski (1882 –  1937)  Polish composer and pianist.

At present listening to his very cooling and placating Piano Sonata No 3 played by a pianist I have never heard of, Roland Pontinen.

Last night's dinner:

Roast gammon accompanied by cauliflower cheese sauce and washed down with Fleurie. When we have drunk the Gamay grape in France, it has often been with ham. So for sentimental, as opposed to gastronomical, reasons did the same last night.

Spiritual experience:

I've never had a spiritual experience other than that satisfaction (or perhaps it is relief) I get when receiving Communion.

My father, who was very much a practising Christian - he and my mother really did live out Christian lives - said that he had never had a spiritual experience and, what's more,  had never felt the need for one.

Nevertheless, when St Faustina writes in her diary,

"From early morning, my spirit was immersed in God. His presence pervaded my whole being."

I find myself wondering what that experience would be like.

PS I remember in an earlier blog claiming that ballasting gave me a spiritual experience!

Monday 28 May 2012

Heat-shrink - HO scale

When one has a plethora of soldered wires loosely and chaotically clustered together beneath one's baseboard, one is advised to cover the bare soldered ends with heat-shrink. If a pair of bare metal ends were to touch then a short-circuit would occur and blow (ie destroy) the DCC microchip in the locomotives.

Heat-shrink is basically rubber tubing which one cuts to size and slips over any bare wire. One then applies a hairdryer and after a few minutes the heat-shrink melts and forms a permanent insulation over the wires.

Aforementioned plethora.

Slipping on the heat-shrink

Cut to size

Applying heat

Tightly bonded and insulated.
Stevie Wonder:

From his heyday.

Songs in the Key of Life.

A magnificent album from 1976.

Last night's dinner:

Cod and fried potatoes.

Sunday 27 May 2012

Rita Wright

Spaghetti Junction:

Continued to sort the wiring for the 4 sets of points and their associated switches. Note intelligent use of wiring diagram in handy position on the baseboard's underside - a bit of a first that!

No snap-lock connectors involved today, but, rather, lots of dabs with the soldering iron.

Not quite finished - but, thank-goodness, ran out of solder.

Another first: have made a list of things I need to get in order to move on: solder, crocodile clips and a few very large choc-blocks for some specific connecting where snap-lock connectors and soldering are unfeasible.

Rita Wright:

"I can't give back the love I feel for you"

A great song from Tamla Motown, 1968, which includes the great line:

"Here's the ring (pause)
which didn't mean a thing."

What I didn't realise until I looked up Wikipedia this morning was that this is the same person who was married to Stevie Wonder (for 18 months) and co-wrote "Signed, sealed and delivered" under the name of Syreeta.

But what really amazed me was her post-Tamla Motown life story. I always imagined that these 2nd division Tamla Motown singers would either end up dying young in some Detroit ghetto or live happily ever after as a member of their local Baptist Church.

But according to Wikipedia: "Wright briefly lived in Ethiopia in the mid-1970s where she worked as a transcendental meditation teacher.  She eventually settled in Los Angeles where she lived for the rest of her life. Born and raised a Baptist, she eventually converted to Islam following her third marriage."

OK, I was partly-right about the Baptist bit.

Last night's dinner was purchased in Hyndland Street and consumed in Anniesland Road, Glasgow.

Saturday 26 May 2012

Poached Eggs

Achieved two small tasks today:

1) screwed down the control plinth for changing the points.

2) Got the practice layout down from storage so that I can remind myself how to wire up these points and switches.

The Beatles' White Album:

When push comes to shove, probably my favourite Beatles LP. I seem to be more in tune with the lyrics therein.

What a great record "label" Apple was with its outer and inner core.

St Philip Neri:

Today is the feast day of St Philip Neri, born in Florence; 1515 to 1595.

According to Wikipedia, "St. Philip possessed a playful humour, combined with a shrewd wit. He considered a cheerful temper to be more Christian than a melancholy one, and carried this spirit into his whole life:
"A joyful heart is more easily made perfect than a downcast one." "
I suspect that might be true.

Last night's dinner:

More poached eggs.

Boiled rice, artichokes and a poached egg. (Although it could be a squid from this angle.)

Friday 25 May 2012

Ranking Trevor

Just received a beautiful little HO scale ie 1/87 scale BMW 327 made by German manufacturer, Busch.

Built by BMW between 1937 and 1941, here is a picture of the real thing as a Cabriolet.

My Busch model.

And alongside my Jouef Simca Aronde

Ranking Trevor:

In Fine Style

Unfortunately, this album is available in neither CD nor download. That's very disappointing because I wanted to play it from my iPod.

Recorded by Virgin Records in 1978, it has many reggae luminaries playing on it: including Sly and Robbie and also Ansell Collins. Remember Dave and Ansell Collins of Double Barrel and Monkey Spanner fame.

Last Night's Dinner:

Once more partaken of in the back garden - another ridiculously warm Glasgow evening.

Chicken thighs, broccoli and 2 poached eggs.

Thursday 24 May 2012

King Tubby

Made a little plinth for the 4 DPDT switches which will operate the 4 sets of points.

Although I myself wired up the DPDT on the practice layout (see yesterday's blog), it was a right exercise in soldering and I was lucky to get away with not accidentally melting the housing.

Fortunately, Andy Griffiths from Basildon, Essex - AGL Associates - sells pre-wired DPDTs on eBAY.

I then installed them on a rather charming (or if you prefer, crude) hardboard plinth.

King Tubby:

Here's an extract from Wikipedia.

"King Tubby (January 28, 1941 – February 6, 1989) was a Jamaican electronics and sound engineer, known primarily for his influence on the development of dub in the 1960s and 1970s.[1] Born Osbourne Ruddock,[2] Tubby's innovative studio work, which saw him elevate the role of the mixing engineer to a creative fame previously only reserved for composers and musicians, would prove to be influential across many genres of popular music. He is often cited as the inventor of the concept of the remix, and so may be seen as a direct antecedent of much dance and electronic music production.

"Mikey Dread stated "King Tubby truly understood sound in a scientific sense. He knew how the circuits worked and what the electrons did. That's why he could do what he did"."

I've got loads of stuff by King Tubby, and this evening, whilst sitting out in the garden on what promises to be another balmy night in Glasgow, I'll be listening to this:

Last night's dinner as guests of our young Chinese friends:

No pressure to use chop sticks - they always boil their rice with a portion of cous-cous.