Friday, 28 October 2011

my priest-hole excavated

Since I bought the house in the summer of 1999, I have always known that it had a "priest-hole". The out-house toilet's back wall was not nearly as deep as the out-house itself, and the back wall had an air-brick. What, I have always wondered, might be behind that wall? Stored crap, recently cleared out by a friend, (plus a fear of spiders in the low roof) deterred me from exploring. But today I decided to brave it.

First I angle-ground the wall with discs too shallow to do the whole job, then donned a work-man's helmet and started chiselling out some bricks until I had room to stick a mirror and torch through the hole. I don't mind admitting I was a bit scared sticking my hand through into the dark I have always rather suspected that old Mr Bloom secretly bricked his first wife up in there.

But, a little disappointingly, it just appeared to be a rubble and wood strewn room. Only when I stuck a camera and flash through the hole did the reason for the walling-up become a little clearer. I discovered that the kitchen had had a coal hole, the door of which had later been blanked off....but the doorway and door were left in place and a wall put in to create an outside toilet.

The fact that the panel blocking the door looks like insulation board and has a modern footprint on it suggests a relatively recent development, but what I don't yet understand is when the coal-hole door was put there. It is right in the place where the kitchen chimney once was, which I'd assumed developers had removed just before I bought the house, to create more space in the kitchen.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

A Ukelele case-cum-music stand Mk1

I have just come up from the workshop with my prototype ukelele case, which doubles as a music stand. I have to admit that I am delighted with it. It will need tweaks and Mk2 would be more elegant, but for now I am happy. The lid splits in half. The smaller part of the lid acts as a prop and the larger turns over to form the music rest, which is held on an adjustable head that tucks inside the case next to the uke. I have made liberal use of velcro for locking, fixing and adjustment.

(by the way, for my non-Latin-reading friends, cum does not mean what you think. Put between two nouns, it means "with" or "together with")

Wednesday, 30 April 2008


Steampunk is my new passion. Roger, my old mate from the USA , who has been staying with me, told me about it. It is a cross-over between the aesthetics of the Victorian era and today's future. A recently made example (albeit Edwardian rather than Victorian) has to be the Dr Who episode where the Titanic is a spaceship.

The best of it for me is recreating modern technologies as if they had been used by the Victorians but powered by steam etc. So, if you google images you will come across a funky electric guitar or a laptop or a PC (click here for making instructions).

I have bought a treadle sewing machine and plan on converting it without actually making irreparable changes, but removing the sewing machine and replacing it with a computer. Also have vague plans for putting a cyclemaster wheel in a penny farthing or a hobby-horse. I also fancy making an ornithopter costume. In the US and Canada there are Steampunk balls where people dress up in pseudo Victorian / futuristic dress. Sounds great fun.

The new craze for customising technologies with the steampunk aesthetic has grown out of sci fi like Metropolis, early interpretations of HG Wells, Jules Verne, etc. I remember being fascinated by The Time Machine (see the 1960 trailer)

Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Lockable Gate

Lockable gate with snooker ball knobs on

The gate is now lockable (either from inside or outside) and when open, as you can see, it takes up no room - so that the GT550 can just ride straight through, especially now that I can fold the mirrors in. All that has to happen now is that I need to render the wall, which will be another new experience for me. Click to see the bike and the changes to the bat-cave.

Saturday, 15 March 2008

Nothing new under the sun! - CarBQ

Damn, just when you think you have something unique up your sleeve, you find that someone is already doing it. It is a nice job too - well designed, tidily made.

A girlfriend of mine has been telling mates about mine and has been talking about marketing them but the name has gone, as you can see, dammit, but where mine is different as an idea is that I'd be building a more grunty, basic, sculptural car-b-que out of various classic cars' panels facing the crusher or disintegration...and so would appeal to a wider market. Also mine are for traditional cooking by fire, not gas.

Friday, 14 March 2008

Black Numbers

I must try and take a picture earlier in the day (when there is sun and neither rain nor wind), as I always seem to get the gate backlit by the setting sun. I have just black hammerited the numbers for contrast.

Now out to the shed to finish the locking mechanism. I wasted a few hours last night fiddling with an idea which ultimately was no good. I think I have a solution that will work tonight.

Gate 94

Now just need to hammerite the detailing and weld on the bolting mechanism etc and it's done.