Outings Report for Weald and Downland Open Air Museum

Wednesday July 2014.  

The weather was dull, but that did not detract from our enjoyment, and the trip went well, except for one hiccup.


The Guided tour of Weald and Downland Museum took us to the key historical houses, whilst others made their own menu from the 45 historical houses on display, The guide pointing out the prime features of each as we progressed, and included the bakery with its old tools. The party also looked at the Artifacts in the lower level of the Downland Gridshell, (that’s an interesting wooden geodesic building in its own right) and we also had time to look at the visiting Spinning and Weaving Exhibition in the upper level of the Gridshell.

We had extra time, because the visit to the Lurgashall winery was cancelled - Despite John Clarks earlier face to face meeting at Lurgashall, completing a Booking Form, confirming this by e-mail, and confirming our numbers the day before by phone, they denied that we had a booking, and would not accommodate us.  John was extremely angry whilst dealing with an incalcitrant owner of Lurgashall over the phone, and eventually put the phone down on him.  John has complained about Lurgashall Winery to the English Tourist Board and we are fed up with dealing with incompetent companies, hence we are starting the Probus Boycott of Lurgashall Winery.



Outing Report Bristol Ancient and Modern - SS Great Britain and Bloodhound

27 Aug 2014  

Everyone managed the early start and long journey down the M4 and then M5 to the Bloodhound HQ at Avonmouth, where we had an eye-opening wake-up to the challenges facing the Bloodhound team in their quest to raise the Land speed record by 30% to close to 1000 mph.(1000 mph means faster than a bullet, and covering a mile in 3.84 secs!!!!!!)

Our excellent lecture guides very clear and well-enunciated presentation covered previous Land speed record attempts, the turbine engine from a EuroFighter, and the challenges facing the team in developing a tailor-made rocket engine and its fuel, the aluminium wheels  (perfectly machined) the Critical neutral aerodynamics of the body, the double-skinned curved but optically perfect windscreen, the cockpit and controls. He also described the search for a new very flat, 7-mile long plain which floods and rejuvenates each year, in South Africa, some 250 km from the nearest large town, which had been scavenged by local labour to remove 20 tons of small stones.  We saw the basic chassis under construction and were informed of the various tests to date.

We will all be anxiously watching the website for news of progress and achievements towards the record attempt itself over the next 18 months.


In the afternoon, an illuminating visit to the SS Great Britain –our excellent Guides outlined the chequered progress of the first steel hull and powered boat – (surprisingly less than fifty years after Nelson’s all-wood and all-sail fleet at Trafalgar) - first launched from Bristol, as a five-masted passenger ship, then wrecked on the Irish coast, expanded and re-engined to become an emigrant Clipper for thirty years carrying 700 passengers per trip to Australia round Cape Horn, before becoming the Windjammer and sinking, blocking the Harbour at Port Stanley in the Falklands – before its final repatriation on board a wet dock to Bristol.

The ship is now fitted out internally as the immigrant clipper with very good models and fittings, first class dining room, berths and steerage, galley, and moving engine. The stories of live animals on board - for subsequent slaughter for food).the poor stability, the sickness and state of the decks, made one amazed at the determination of the immigrants to travel the five-month journey.    

A super day, enjoyable and educational, and very successful outing,

Well organised by Mike Reed



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