Sunday, December 8, 2013

Free Energy At A Bargain Price

The attached photo is my $40 flexible solar panel bargain from TradeMe. Its currently (A Welford pun;)) outputting in excess of 15 volts at 10 watts so should soon pay for itself. 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Bob Roberts And The SB Cambria

An absolutely delightful film of a time, sadly, passed.

Another Logan Masterpiece Saved From The Scrapheap

After four years out of the water "Ethel" is finally back in her natural element waiting to be rigged before spreading her wings again.

A fantastic effort by Keith Munro and Kevin Ebbitt.....well done guys she is a credit to you both.

Originally built in 1896 by Logan Brothers for Mr H Dawson to serve as a supply ship to service Great Mercury Island.

She also had several seasons racing and was also used as a fishing boat from 1914.

Now returned to her former glory I look forward to seeing her gracing the Auckland waterfront under a cloud of sails.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

The John Welsford Weekend Part 2

The conversation went something like this.......

"Where did you say you were going for this course? " said my wife.

"Just outside Hamilton" says I.

"But that's nowhere near the sea, what's a boat builder doing there?" says she.

You may well ask why does, to be more correct a designer first and a boatbuilder second,live so far from the sea?

Well I guess that is for John to know and for us to wonder about, but more than likely it is through the necessity of being gamefully employed and that being a boat designer in a small country is a hard road to hoe.

Never mind, that apart John lives in a beautiful part of New Zealand, deep in the heart of one of the worlds most productive dairy regions, surrounded by lush green pastures and enormous heards of cows.

Last weekend three of us turned up at his country idyl for what was to be an extremely rewarding couple of days during which we would be moulded with the aid of John's immense knowledge (and patience)  into something resembling competent beginners in some of the techniques that go to make up the black art of wooden boat building, specifically that of epoxy and plywood.

Over the next couple of days we were shown the importance of buying quality tools and how to care for and sharpen them.

Which power tools were essential and those that would be nice to have if money were no object, out of interest John's favorite is his 20" band saw with which he can do miraculous things! He's also pretty good with planes, chisels and 'The Electric Spokeshave'....Angle grinder to you 😉

Confident now with the importance of good quality and sharp tools we were next initiated into the complex mysteries of Epoxy resins and powders and of course the overriding importance of health and safety  when using them.

Watching an expert in action is for me the best way to learn and after watching John display the various techniques of mixing glues and fillers and then glueing and jointing we students were let loose ourselves.

John's trusty bandsaw was soon in action cutting out several thin strips of scrap that were then shaped to produce wooden tools for mixing,applying,scraping,coving etc. it's learning this sort of thing that makes this type of course so worthwhile.

I should add that John is very flexible with the content of his courses and insists that you make him aware of any specific areas of interest and he will willingly oblige if at all possible.

By the end of the first day we had successfully learnt how to sheath a piece of ply with fibreglass cloth utilising not a brush as I had thought but with the use of a panel beaters squeegee, another valuable lesson learnt.

Another important and enjoyable aside to the teaching is the pleasure of spending time with like minded folk and to share their experiences and knowledge in the real pleasure that is small boat sailing and even more so if it is in a boat you have built yourself... a joy that hopefully will be mine one day!

Day two seemed to pass in a blurr but we were each  tasked with making a glue joint and then when dry coving it, taping it and finally shown the secret to hiding the tape to ply interface all using the multifaceted wooden tools whose different uses are many fold...even got to use 'The Electric Spokeshave' too!

First and foremost John is a small boat designer whose work is revered the world over and with good reason, his book pictured opposite should grace the  bookcase of anyone who has even a passing interest. It is a lively read interspersed with some great yarns that show John also has storytelling talents, I can't honestly say the same about his puns...groan!!

To round out the weekend we finished by learning how to read and understand a scale drawing then transfed the full sized frames to a plywood sheet. During which time we discovered that John is actually human and picked out a couple of small errors that did not produce fair lines!

By now it was time for us all to split to various parts of the North Island minds full of the newly learnt skills that will hopefully soon be put into practice.

All that's left to be said is thank you John for what was a memorable and truly worthwhile weekend.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

A Thing Of Beauty Is A Joy Forever

François Vivier Naval Architect certainly has an eye for a pretty shape if ever I saw one!

Here is his delightful Jewel.

Monday, October 14, 2013

John Welsford Weekend

Really looking forward to spending the coming weekend at John Welsford's workshop where he will be showing lost causes like myself some of the finer points of boat building. Interestingly for a man who has many designs sailing on the oceans of the world, he chooses to live in the heart of New Zealand's dairy country just out side Hamilton!

I will be taking my camera so the next report should hold some interesting photographs, but just to whet the appetite here are a few showing off Johns beautiful work as a designer.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

No knead bread

Just amazed myself by producing a great artisan style loaf of bread....very simply anyone could do it.

Not only does it look good it is very tasty, with a nice chew and great crunch :)

Give it a go and astound your friends.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Monday, July 29, 2013

For the love of the Norfolk Broads

A couple of paintings that capture what the Norfolk Broads mean to me, no words are needed.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

One of my favorite snacks.....enjoy

I have been making food processor Hummus for many years from a recipe by N Z cook Jo Seeger,and would like to think its pretty good.

I just use the canned chickpeas, however it is important to drain (save juice) them and thoroughly wash them before you start whizzing.

Here is the recipe.

Hummus.... Makes 1½ Cups

1 x 425g can chickpeas, drained and washed... Reserve the liquid.

2 Cloves of garlic, crushed....1 teaspoon

Juice and grated rind of 2 lemons.

5 tablespoons tahini (sesame paste)

1 teaspoon ground cumin....or to taste

2 tablespoons of olive oil

Salt to taste.

Blitz the chickpeas,garlic,lemon juice and grated rind,tahini and cumin,slowly adding the reserved chickpea liquid to get the desired consistency.

Drizzle in olive oil to taste.

Sprinkle with smoked paprika when in bowl.

Enjoy with your preferred garnish.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Down On The Farm!

Some friends have asked me to care for their farm for six weeks while they are holidaying in Europe.

Meet some of the girls!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Manukau Cruise

A short clip shot with my new Panasonic Movie Camera, sorry about the wobbles will have to practice! Best watched in High Res. which can be accessed vis the thing that looks like a gear!

Tidal Thames

A wonderful book written in 1892, which features images by the renown artist W L Wyllie.
You can download a PDF version from my Dropbox at this link;

Monday, April 15, 2013

Why are old magazines more interesting?

I have just been reading through some old Yachting Monthly's a friend has passed my way and couldn't help thinking that the attached phone scan of a short piece would appeal to you!

It originally appeared in the August 1933 edition.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Glorious insults!

These glorious insults are from an era before the English language became boiled down to 4-letter words.·

A member of Parliament to Disraeli: "Sir, you will either die on the gallows or of some unspeakable disease."·
"That depends, Sir," said Disraeli, "whether I embrace your policies or your mistress."·

"He had delusions of adequacy." - Walter Kerr·

"He has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire." -Winston Churchill· "

I have never killed a man, but I have read many obituaries with great pleasure." Clarence Darrow·

"He has never been known to use a word that might send a reader to the dictionary." - William Faulkner (about Ernest Hemingway).·

"Thank you for sending me a copy of your book; I'll waste no time reading it." - Moses Hadas·

"I didn't attend the funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of it." - Mark Twain·

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Family At War

I always liked the opening credits for this TV series, the sight of the sand castle with the Union Jack bravely fluttering to the stirring, moody sounds of Vaughn Williams terrific music really summed up a dark time in the recent past.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

My Home Is The Lowlands

A wonderfully evocative piece of work by my old mate Dylan Winter - Enjoy

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Auckland Anniversary Day Regatta Tug Boat Race

I shot this film from the decks of the Ex Timaru Pilot Boat "Strahallen", and very exciting it was being at such close quarters with so many craft all travelling at their maximum speed around a course set just below North Head and finishing at Princes Wharf in the city.

Monday, January 28, 2013

The Beautiful Thelma

Make sure to watch in Hi-res.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013


With thanks to Claudia Myatt one of my favourite bloggers,and to quote her - Fair winds, calm seas and a full glass of cheer to you all in 2013.