Saturday, March 21, 2020

Picturesque Scotland

Luskentyre estuary backed by the mountains of North Harris.

Edinburgh with a dusting of snow.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Another sign of the times:

"Break a Leg" is only apropos in the acting profession .. NOT in the teaching.  Get well soon :)

Sunday, March 08, 2020

Aliso Creek Trail Update

Link to my: Oct.30th. 2019 posting:

Trail upgrades (flood control) complete and the trail is open.  Only down side the small bridge over the creek has not been replaced (Yet ?? )  see pictorial views below:
First we have and nice sun rise sky, with last nights rain clouds making their departure:
Trail swings under the 5 Fwy.:
Location of the former bridge:  (easy to step across when not in spate).

Tuesday, March 03, 2020

ICI Nobel Ardeer / Massey Ferguson; Kilmarnock

Short History story:
Leaving school after sitting my “A” and “O” levels ( at Irvine Royal Academy)  I took my first “Real Job” .. ICI Nobel division; Ardeer, Stevenston, Ayrshire Scotland. As part of tenure with ICI I managed to attend university and graduated with a Mech. Eng. degree.
The Ardeer peninsula in Ayrshire is basically a gigantic sand dune - chosen by Alfred Nobel in 1871 as the site for his British Dynamite Factory because of it's remote location and lots of sand to make protective berms and blast walls.
It soon grew into the world's largest explosives factory, making explosives for mining and quarrying, and expanding into other explosives and propellants for both civilian and military uses.
Nobel Explosives became part of ICI (Imperial Chemical Industries) in 1926, but production shifted away and the Ardeer plant diversified into other non-explosive products, unfortunately these didn't do so well - much of the site is now derelict. 

Thinking back .. my experiences at Ardeer were to serve me well in future ventures & adventures. It would be a Herculean task just to list the Skilled trades and unique process mastered at Ardeer.  Some trades seldom encountered in an industrial habitat: Sailmakers, Patternmakers, Tinsmiths, Blacksmiths,  Instrument Artificers, Glassblowers, Train Drivers. These coupled with major: metal, wood and glass working trades along with many detailed facets within a trade made a unique set of learning adventures. Add to all this a plethora of Engineers and Scientists of every ilk. To help visualize this site.. It’s approx 21 Sq. miles .. 7 miles long by 3 miles wide. A shipping dock on the Irvine (south) side. Inside the factory boundaries: Infirmary, Dentist, Banking to name a few.
Nobel Enterprises was sold in 2002 to Inabata.

As an apprentice tool maker and mechanical engineering candidate I got a 6 month rotation in most of the factory activates:  Explosives, Chemical and Acids.  In the explosives section you learn about Static Electricity VERY fast. Negligence could be and was fatal in some instances. I worked there from 1965 thu 1971. 

Shorty after leaving ICI I worked briefly for Massey Ferguson in Kilmarnock, before moving to USA.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Asian Paper-Making, in days of yore

A first rate public resource:

Old Papermaking In China And Japan, 

by: Dard Hunter.. 1932

Front Cover and an example page:

Sunday, February 02, 2020


2nd. of February, 2020 .. UK
February 2nd., 2020 ...... USA
2020, February 2nd ....... China

02 02 2020 .. Classic Numerical Date Palindrome. 

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Happy New Year ... 新年快乐 (Xīnnián kuàilè)

恭喜发财 (Kung Hei Fat Choi) I wish you earn more money This year

Thursday, December 19, 2019

A few words from my early days

With a new book on order: "Search for a Whisky Bothy" by Ralf Mitchell, a few words came to mind:

"Howf" .. "Bothy" .. "But 'n' Ben" .. I grew up using these words .. all used for a specific purpose but they do share a descriptive similarity.
Its easy to "Google" the words and get a fair explanation.

HOWF:  for me this was a small Fitters Workshop space, inside a large complex, used to store tools and some odd assortment of spare parts. This was at ICI Nobel division Ardeer.

BOTHY: was a small, stone and brick building, in the back garden of my Mom's eldest brother (uncle Tam) 

BUT 'N' BEN: a small cottage style building in Dumfries and Galloway in SW Scotland that we lived in for 3 years.  Picture of me on my fourth birthday, my dad standing in the doorway, worked at RAF station West Freugh near Stranraer:

Saturday, December 14, 2019

Coming to a store near you

Container ships at a terminal in; Qingdao, China

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Book on Order .. Ralfy .. UPDATE with REVIEW

A first book from; Ralf Mitchell, a retired Undertaker/Embalmer. Ralfy based mostly in Glasgow Scotland, now living on the; Isle of Mann.
Author's comment: "A humorous autobiography by a whisky reviewer with a youtube channel called 'ralfydotcom' travelling from early childhood memories to an adults apprenticship with scotch and Scotland. People and places are explored and whisky is sampled, and all for the sake of malt-moments." 

It's a couple of days after Xmas .. The book sits waiting for my son Andrew to pick up and read.
I finished reading it on Boxing day.. I've let it settle and now pen my review:
A doff O the Bunnet to Ralfy for having the courage to take this on and marketing it. No surprises in the story line, well animated characters, a comfortable read.. I do detect some literal E150 in a few stories and some chill filtering going on.. might just be my sensitivity. 

Friday, December 06, 2019

Eating porridge .. Chinese style

Hot porridge could help warm you and nourish your body in cold weather. In China, it's customary to eat red bean porridge on the first day of Major Snow and eight-treasure porridge on the eighth day of the last month of the lunar year. In addition, there are other varieties such as wheat porridge, sesame porridge, radish porridge, walnut porridge and tuckahoe porridge.

Wash the rice, put into the pot with tuckahoe powder and walnut, add the water to the water, use the fire first, and use the small fire to gently cook the rice, add Soy Sauce, Salt & Pepper Powder, as appropriate then stir.

Friday, November 29, 2019

Taiwan tea plantation workers terrace a new field

Tsai Hsu-chih (蔡旭志) is betting on reviving the industry first — if he generates enough work in the area, he could start training new people to pick leaves as a part-time job. Young people likely won’t be interested, but he could target housewives or older people looking to re-enter the workforce.
He hired workers to terrace another piece of land to expand his farm, and he is in the process of setting up a licensed tea processing factory that can support several farms. He wants to attract students and tourists to learn about this area’s history and try their hand at picking and processing tea, and hopes that his success will influence his neighbors to also revive their plantations.