Sunday, January 24, 2010

Pith helmets and Eels.

Slade Green Marshes

I notice with satisfaction that there are others that are interested in the history of the local area; the World War 2 era anti aircraft gun emplacements on the marshes at Slade Green (see the photo taken from Google Earth, above - click on it for a larger view) have been granted grade 2 listed status, down to the activities of a number of local activists - you can read all about their sterling work by clicking here. This is precisely the kind of good stuff that Ian and I want to become involved with - hence the mention last week of  wanting to begin investigating and recording Erith's hidden industrial and social history. The Slade Green battery was the most easterly of London’s inner artillery zone and, situated just south of the River Thames, played an important role in the early stages of any attack on London from the east as well as protecting the Vickers-Armstrong armaments factory in Crayford. Most likely built in the late 1930s, the battery consisted of a series of buildings, many of which have survived remarkably intact. Made from brick and reinforced concrete, the battery includes a command post with four gun emplacements, two defensive pillboxes to protect the site, an air raid shelter and an emplacement for an anti-aircraft Bofors gun. Unlike many of the surviving HAA batteries, the Slade Green one has managed to retain a number of its original fixtures.

Some further news from the RSGB relating to the Haiti earthquake:  Following the earthquake in Haiti on 13 January, all radio amateurs are still requested to keep 7045kHz and 3720kHz clear for possible emergency traffic. Eight radio amateurs from Radio Club Dominicano who were operating under the callsign HI8RCD/HH have had to abort their operations in Haiti after the convoy they were travelling in was fired on. The repeater they installed remains in service linking the Haitian and Dominican capitals, and it is being used by the Red Cross and Civil Defence. John Henault, HH6JH who is engaged in missionary work with homeless children in Port au Prince continues to make contacts on 20m using power from a neighbour's generator. On 20 January, Jean-Robert Gaillard, HH2JR was assisted with a phone patch by W3ZU to assure friends he was safe. Another radio amateur in the country, Pierre Petry, HH2/HB9AMO, who works for the UN food program, is also safe. Calls to emergency services aren't getting through because systems that connect different phone networks were still not working. The International Telecommunication Union is deploying 40 satellite terminals and 60 units with broadband facility to re-establish basic communication links, along with experts to operate them.

Well on an entirely different note, cracking news for Prog Rock fans everywhere. Moog have just begun production of the Taurus 3 bass pedal. For those not familiar with Moog Taurus, the bowel  loosening and filling removing huge bass sound of these pedals has to be heard to be believed - they were favourites of bands such as Genesis, Rush, The Police, Led Zeppelin and Yes.

I see from a recent magazine article that Eels are becoming scarce on the River Thames. There is a recent article on the BBC News website here describing the problem. I wonder how it will affect the chap who is the only registered Eel fisherman, who works from the causeway at Erith to fish for these elusive creatures.

Here are some photographs taken by Justin, otherwise known as Crash Calloway, at the I'm a photographer, not a terrorist" demo, a couple of days ago - click here to look.

Below is an H.F receiver I would love to own; The Ten Tec RX 340; unfortunately it is nearly £4000, so it is out of the question - but do click on the image of the Machine anyway.

Ten Tec RX340

Open source and free web browser FireFox has now reached version 3.6 - you can see all about it in the video below. Click to view the latest version, and to download it for free.

I was in Euston station on Tuesday morning on another sojourn to the further provinces, on this occasion, it was an expedition to Birmingham again, for work.  Whilst I was standing on the concourse, awaiting my train, I noticed an individual standing close by - he was propping up a Penny Farthing bicycle, and also had a pith helmet hanging from the handlebars - he was most obviously a proper Chap. You can read more about being a Chap here.

Following is a historic video of Radio Northsea International - do watch it and post a comment as to your thoughts.


  1. Great video. Thanks for posting it. You may be interested to know that I have just added the first instalment of the RNI Story to my web site, The Pirate Radio Hall of Fame: