Monthly Archives: October 2016
Monthly Archives: October 2016
Chilbolton Observatory is one of Hampshire’s finest abandoned airfields. During World War II it was once home to squadrons of Spitfires, Hurricanes, Mustangs, Typhoons, and Vampires.
Opened in 1940 as a satellite airfield for RAF Middle Wallop it was used by the RAF and USAAF.
After the war it was used for flight tests before being closed in 1961. Today it is the site of Chilbolton Observatory, a facility that carries out atmospheric and radio research.
The footage in the video below was taken using a DJI Phantom Vision+ quadcopter drone in June 2014. You can clearly see that the car park of today was once part of the main runway.
Today, crop marks in the fields reveal the locations of two of its three runways while in this image the runways, dispersal points, and perimeter track can clearly be seen.
In 1941, with the Battle of Britain won the previous year, the airfield was designated a Care and Maintenance facility.
1944 saw the arrival of the USAAF in the form of Spitfires and Mustangs from the Tactical Reconnaissance Squadrons of the 67th Reconnaissance Wing.
Between 1945 and 1946 it was back in the hands of the RAF. The airfield saw the arrival of several more squadrons of Hawker Tempests (a derivative of the Hawker Typhoon), Spitfires, and Mustangs.
(Note: In October 2016 at Goodwood Airfield the Hawker Typhoon RB396 Restoration was launched.)
For example, 247 Squadron’s Tempests F2 andTyphoon Ibs arrived on 20th August 1945, and departed on 7th January 1946. A few month’s later the squadron’s first de Havilland Vampire jets arrived.
When the RAF vacated in 1946 it was taken over by the Vickers Supermarine company and became the location for tests of their new aircraft which included the Supermarine Attacker, Supermarine Swift and Supermarine Scimitar.
The Folland aviation company also used it as a test area for the Folland Gnat and Folland Midge aircraft.
The airfield was also used for location shots for the 1952 David Lean film The Sound Barrier.
By 1961 all major flying operations had ceased and the site was transformed into the location for atmospheric and radio research. Civilian flying continues at the Chilbolton Flying Club grass strip.
The Chilbolton Observatory radio telescope is a prominent local landmark and it is still used as such by passing aircraft. It is on the edge of the Middle Wallop MATZ (Military Air Traffic Zone).
Hardly a day goes by without one politician or another banging the NHS drum. The political ping-pong often revolves around the NHS wasted billions.
In July of this year the Jeremy Vine show on BBC Radio 2 covered the anniversary of the death of Aneurin Bevan, the founder of the National Health Service. I wonder what Mr Bevan would make of today’s NHS.
During the program Jeremy Vine interviewed an Aneira Thomas, the first baby born in an NHS hospital. She was born on the 5th July 1948 at Amman Valley Hospital, Carmarthenshire.
She, her three sisters, and her daughter have all spent years working in the NHS in a variety of roles. As you can imagine she is a champion for the Health Service and is very proud of her connection to it.
However, when Jeremy Vine asked her what was the single biggest cause of waste in the NHS here answer was surprising. As I recall (and you can correct me if I’m wrong) she didn’t use the opportunity to knock the Tories or blame Conservative policies. Instead, she seemed to draw attention to the waste within middle management.
During the preceding weeks I had seen numerous stories in the press about the amount of waste in the NHS. It began to look as if the NHS is a huge bucket with so many holes in it that every time the budget is increased a lot of it escapes through the holes.
For 2015/16, the overall NHS budget was around £116.4 billion. It’s the second biggest slice of the tax payers’ pie after pensions. Defence spending for example is a third of health care.
If you work in the NHS you will probably have your own opinion so feel free to add your comments below this post. I’d be interested to know what truth there is for each of these examples of the holes in the bucket.
Are these all valid? Can you think of any others?
Hospital parking charges are a contentious issue. Over £120,000,000 was collected in 2015/16 according to a report published by the Press Association.
On the one hand there are the hospitals justifying parking charges as an important revenue source that offset the budget cuts. While on the other the patients, their families, and their visitors are angry about paying for every visit.
If just some of the waste in the list above was addressed perhaps many hospitals could waive or at least reduce the parking charges.
Why can’t we admit to ourselves that the NHS is one of the most overrated, inefficient systems in the world? – The Independent, April 14th 2017
During one of the recent fits of de-cluttering I found a new way to sell CDs, DVDs, books, and other items that would otherwise sit in the car boot or eBay pile.
Sometimes it seems like the world is just too full of stuff. Our garages and our lofts are filled to overflowing with unused items that we hang on to ‘just in case’.
The surplus has spawned a new storage industry. Every town now has a selection of storage facilities and many of those lock ups are for the accumulated belongings of people how have run out of space at home.
We are obese with belongings. It’s time to shed some of the fat and turn it into cash.
I’ve tried car booting. It’s a very early start, usually on a Sunday, and a drive to a field or a school. You stand there for hours while people sniff at your £1 price tag and walk on seemingly unwilling or unable to haggle.
I’ve had an eBay account since 2003 (!) and sold plenty on there but it’s becoming harder to do so. The fees are high and the buyers can be pain with endless questions and frequent returns.
I don’t think eBay likes the small buyers and sellers any more. They seem to be more accommodating to the shops and other businesses.
What is needed is somewhere I can ship in bulk for a quick cash return. A sort of send and forget model.
One option is Ziffit.com. They provide a free app with which you can scan the barcode on your CDs, DVDs, and books. The app then gives you an instant valuation and adds the item to a virtual basket.
Once you’ve completed your scanning you’ll have a total valuation and you’re ready to pack and ship the goods. You can drop the box off at the nearest Collect+ point (usually a nearby newsagent).
At first you might be disappointed by the amount paid for each item but consider the alternatives:
Of course Ziffit isn’t the only company that offer this service but I tried others first with the same collection of CDs. Ziffit came out on top because they offered 20% more for the goods and the app worked better than others I tried.
It might be hard to part with a copy of Led Zeppelin II bought at HMV in 2008 for £9.99 but with iTunes and Amazon Prime it’s become a backup copy only. Besides, with the cash from the sale of old CDs I might just complete the circle and buy some vinyl.
Identity theft is a relatively recent phenomenon but it’s on the increase. Here are a few tips on how to prevent identity theft and what to do if it occurs.
Last winter I was the victim of identity theft. Someone used my name and address to take out contracts with several mobile phone companies.
I started to receive letters in the post from these companies. I have only ever had dealings with one mobile phone company so it was obvious that something had gone wrong.
One by one I contacted them and had the contracts cancelled. I spent a lot of time on the phone and it was a pain in the neck but at least I didn’t lose any money.
However, it did affect my credit rating for several months but I have now had that restored to its former healthy status. Below I explain how to do it if it happens to you.
As with everything in life there is a risk involved. We can mitigate those risks by taken sensible precautions. Those actions become habits once repeated a few times.
No one wants to answer the door to a bailiff demanding payment for a debt you know nothing about due to another incident of identity theft. Keep your personal information private and monitor your credit rating.
You’ll feel more in control and better prepared if anything does occur.
Twitter hashtag hours are an example of simple idea that is both useful and free to use. Simply send your tweet in a sixty minute window each week to reach businesses and individuals in a given area. It’s a great way to network and make new contacts.
As the idea has caught on it has spawned hundreds of new hashtags. Each one seeks to act as a focal point for a particular geographic area or a niche interest.
Some accounts have been duplicated while others have fallen into disuse. As with all things in cyberspace it’s a good idea to check the data for integrity every now and then.
The list below is for the weekly area or county hashtag hours in the UK. I compiled this list from another I found online but it quickly became apparent that the list I was about to use was out of date. It contained duplicate entries and other errors so I have checked each hashtag against the Twitter account the manages it.
Times are UK local time. If you spot any errors or find any other regional hashtags please let me know in the comments below and I’ll update the list.
There are hashtag hours for all kinds of interests. For example, if horses are your thing there is #EquineHour every Sunday 8-9pm,
#HorseHour every Monday at 8-9pm, #EquestrianHour to connect with horse lovers & equestrian businesses worldwide every Wednesday 8-9pm, and #RiderHour every Thursday 8-9pm
If your topic of interest is covered then there’s nothing to stop you from opening a Twitter account and starting a new hour of your own.