Monday, 10 December 2012

A Yorkshire Family Afloat

 A good friend of mine - John Paul is  in the process of blogging the nautical exploits of himself and his family. In 1980, he had built a yacht himself, and his family and an adopted son ( for the voyage) set off from Scarborough via the French Canals, the Mediterranean, the Suez Canal and Red Sea for Singapore.
read about their exploits here: 

There was a entry in the Yorkshire Post of the event, which  was re-printed in November 2012,

IN July 1980, the Paul family from Pickering set forth on a sailing adventure from Scarborough to Singapore. The intrepid group included John Paul, his wife Brenda, their daughters Belinda, 22, Nicola, 19 and Katie, 16, and family friend 18-year-old Peter Wood. Sadly, they had to abandon the voyage after a severe storm near Port Said in December that year damaged their 33ft motor yacht Ambition. “We were told it was one of the worst storms for 20 years. We were rolled onto our side, but fortunately we picked up quickly,” said Mr Paul.

(Entry found via, 10/12/12).

Monday, 1 October 2012

Gordon Stevens - And All The King's Men

This is one cracking read. I admit I am a fan of alternative endings to various historical events. This book by Gordon Stevens (you can get secondhand on sites like as its out of print) puts an alternative spin on the Battle of Britain and depicts a German victory in England in 1940.  The main character in the book is a man called Jack Masters, a Kent farmer who is approached by British intelligence before the outbreak of war in France. He is asked if he would be interested in joining a resistance network, and of course he says yes. The book is very descriptive about events of the invasion, the annihilation of the Royal Air Force, and the subsequent collaboration by the majority, and the small number who choose to resist, albeit in a small way. My only criticism of this excellent book is that Stevens writes the Germans do not progress any further north than the Cheviot Hills in Northumberland. This is very difficult to believe, surely the Germans would have wanted to complete invasion, especially before invading the Soviet Union. But hey, don't let this put anyone off buying or reading this excellent book, imagine if this had really happened? Its a scary thought...  

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

B.S.A Factory

The B.S.A factory employed over 40,00 people at it's height. These Youtube videos show what life was like at the B.S.A factory in 1958. How many British employers would bother organising a sports day like this, let alone pay people for the day off work? It is understandable why most B.S.A employees would stay at the factory for the duration of their working lives, and one can also understand why the factory was sorely missed when it closed and then was demolished in 1978.

Monday, 27 August 2012

The Mighty B.S.A. Bantam, Was It More Of An Eagle?

 Bsa Bantam D1 125cc,

The B.S.A Bantam was the first bike owned by many lads and lasses in the 50's 60's and 70's. Production started on the 24th June 1948 of the D1 model. The Bantam underwent a few model changes as the years went by, 125cc, 150cc and finally 175cc.
BSA Bantam 150cc

My favourite, the BSA Bantam B175, this one from 1971

As a classic bike I think it has a lot going for it. Cheap to run (100mpg approx), plenty of parts available, and as reliable as other bikes of the era. It will plod around at a comfortable 50mph, the 175 will do 65mph at a push. It is such a shame they stopped making them. there is no accurate figure for how many Bantams were built, but it is estimated at around 500,000. 
                                                      Image found at:,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA300_SH20_OU02_.jpg

I just read a really good book about the Bantam by Owen Wright. Full of interesting facts and figures, it also is chocablock full of good photos and adverts. There are even first hand accounts of some extraordinary journeys, such as that of Brenda Collins who travelled from Canada to Mexico on a Bantam in 1952 covering more than 10,000 miles.

This lad on Youtube made an excellent video of his Bantam, even now it attracts riders of all ages.

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Swainby Classic Car & Vehicle Show Sunday 26th August 2012

Today we paid a visit to the Classic car & vehicle Show at Swainby, near Northallerton, North Yorkshire. It was only £4 for two of us, a bargain. I was really looking forward to it as I had heard that there was a large contingent of BSA bantams present. I am interested in buying one so I was hoping for a chat with an owner, but they were either ignoring me or too busy too talk to me. Nevermind. Apart from that we enjoyed our look round some excellent examples of lovely vintage vehicles.

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Real Radio Legends Where Are They Now?

Micky Horswill, Malcolm MacDonald and Bernie Slavern all dropped from real Radio phone in show The Legends.This has caused an outcry amongst fans, me I liked to listen to them at work. It was bad enough losing Gary Rowell and Chris Coopland with the match commentaries but this is the final straw. I call upon all the general public -BOYCOTT REAL RADIO.

Have a read of this:

In the meantime where are they now?

Thursday, 12 April 2012

The Purple Man Of York

Today I visited York and we saw the Purple man in Stonegate. I don't quite understand what he does, but he's harmless. Someone told me he was getting bullied for his harmless antics, this, if true is sad. I thought it was nice to see him back. He even has a website:

Thursday, 5 April 2012

On This Day In History

What happened years ago on April 5th?
                                       The Admiral Hipper after being hit by bombs.   Image found at : accessed 5/4/12.

The Soviet 3rd Ukrainian Front reaches the outskirts of Vienna which has minimal German forces to defend it. In the West, the French First Army (de Tassigny) captures Karlsruhe on the upper Rine. The US 8th Air Force carries out another heavy attack (450 bombers) against Kiel which causes severe damage to the cruisers Hipper and Emden. Found at:, (accessed 5/4/12).

Less than a month later and the Germans unconditionally surrendered.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Happy Birthday John Craven's Newsround

There aren't many people who haven't heard of John Craven. There are still a lot of us left who remember his revolutionary Newsround on BBC1. It was great for catching up on the news as a child, he wasn't a pompous public school boy talking down to us, he spoke to us on a level without being boring. You can still see Newsround on BBC1, although John Craven no longer presents it, he retired from the programme in 1989. He is now a presenter on Countryfile.

I can't believe it has being going for 40 years, here's the link for the full story on the good old B.B.C. website:

And some You-tube footage;

Can you believe Curry's gave away free CB radios when CB became legal in 1981?

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Farewell and Adieu To Niall Quinn an SAFC Saviour

Today Niall Quinn officially cut all ties with Sunderland Football Club. Over the last 5 years he has been responsible for the drive that took Sunderland to the top half of the Premiership, turning them from a yoyo club into a professional first class team. He has retired from the club to concentrate on his family life and business interests in Eire. On behalf of all Sunderland fans worldwide, I just wanted to say thanks Niall.

Saturday, 31 March 2012

Sorry To Those Who Beg To Differ- But The Falklands Are & Will Remain British ORA los que pidan para diferenciar solamente a la Malvinas lo siente el & Seguirá siendo británico

Some of us remember the Falklands War in 1982. There are still a few of us who remember The Second World War. Before WW2, Hitler and Stalin met and discussed the carving up of Poland. A country which wasn't theirs. There are many similarities between Nazi Germany and Argentina in this respect. Argentina still lays claim to the Falklands, a piece of land which was never theirs to claim. This is really undemocratic when the majority of Falklanders want to remain British and part of the U.K.

In 1982 we sent men and women to the Falklands to repel a foreign dictator, who really had invaded the Falklands to divert attention away from the economic and political crisis in Argentina. We remember Goose Green, Twin Sisters, Tumbledown and the General Belgrano. We remember the lives lost in battle. We remember men who died so that others can live in freedom and speak English.

To conclude I say this: The Falklands are and will remain British as long as the occupants want to be a part of the U.K. Hands off please Argentina. Respect the airspace, respect the fishing rights. Forget about losing a war 30 years ago and concentrate on peace and prosperity.

Algunos de nosotros recuerdan la guerra de Malvinas en 1982. Todavía hay algunos de nosotros que recuerden la Segunda Guerra Mundial. Antes de WW2, Hitler y Stalin resolvieron y discutieron la división de Polonia. Un país que wasn' t el suyo. Hay muchas semejanzas entre Alemania y la Argentina nazis a este respecto. Todavía de la Argentina demanda a la Malvinas, un trozo de tierra de las endechas que nunca era el suyo a demandar. Esto es realmente no democrático cuando la mayoría de Falklanders quiere seguir siendo Británicos y parte del Reino Unido. 

En 1982 enviamos hombres y a mujeres a la Malvinas para rechazar a un dictador extranjero, que había invadido realmente la Malvinas para divertir la atención lejos de la crisis económica/política en la Argentina. Recordamos verde del ganso, las hermanas, destartaladas gemelos y el general Belgrano. Recordamos las vidas perdidas en batalla. Recordamos a los hombres que murieron de modo que otros sepan vivir en la libertad y hablar inglés. 

Para concluir me digo esto: La Malvinas es y seguirá siendo británica mientras los inquilinos quieran ser una pieza de las manos BRITÁNICAS por favor de la Argentina. Respete el espacio aéreo, respete los derechos de pesca. Olvide perder una guerra hace 30 años y concentre en paz y prosperidad.