Friday, January 10, 2020

Mischief Afoot and the possibility of a smart gadget

After my birthday this week I may only be 27 years short of my telegram from the Queen (or I suppose by then, King) but I still enjoy a bit of mischief.

 Here's a little present Kath bought me for Christmas.

(yes, today I am mostly listening to Fleetwood Mac on my PC).

If the letters stick well enough to Herbie's cabin sides, I'm now free to embellish her name panel with things like this.

I can't wait.  Any ideas for other amusing strap lines welcome.

Also, I have another project in mind.  We recently enjoyed a visit to the brilliant little Whipple Museum of the History of Science in Cambridge - just a few yards from the Cavendish Lab where Crick and Watson unravelled the mystery of DNA and only a few more yards from the pub where they celebrated afterwards.  The Whipple museum might also be called a museum of lovely old gadgets and exquisite workmanship, like this reproduction of John Harrison's famous clock that enabled navigators to find out where they were after centuries of being a bit lost.

No I'm not going to attempt one of them - who do you think I am?  But some other exhibits did inspire me - particularly little brass astrolabes and some lovely old slide rules.  Oooh I love slide rules. In my day as an engineering student they were rarely out of our hands.  Only as accurate as your eyesight and the steadiness of your hand, one of our lecturers always used to refer to them as guessing sticks (I think he thought they were too new fangled).  Ask an engineer to multiply 3x2 in those days and he would have squinted at his slide rule and answered " About 5.98".  Nevertheless a rare disc shaped slide rule I still own was what inspired the design of my first CanalOmeters

So the beautiful things we saw at the Whipple inspired me to consider whether I could make a more permanent CanalOmeter instrument instead of my laminated cardboard ones. Much as I love brass as a material I can't see myself engraving that with any style, so I've been hunting around for ways to make an alternative.  Now when say I intend to "make" something I use that word in the same way that Sir Christopher Wren "built" St Paul's cathedral.  So the idea is I do the design and commission the manufacture from someone with the requisite skills and equipment. 

Hunting around on the internet it didn't take me long to find a solution at the website of  They have a really good online design tool for engraved plastic notices etc.  You can layout your design to your heart's conchantment (a favourite word I picked up in an old Irish folk song) and see the cost add up as you add text etc.  Then order the finished article and they make it for you. Presumably they have some sort of computer engraving machine. The service is not dirt cheap if you have lots of text, but not prohibitively expensive for a special item.  Actually for a simple engraved plastic notice "Beware of the gerbil" or similar  they are quite cheap.  If you need a bespoke plastic sign for anything, I'd take a look at them. So I might go ahead with it, but first I have to choose a route to CanalOmeterise.  I'm currently researching the route between Great Haywood and Fazeley for suitable points to include, so that's a possibility.

And that of course might give you a clue to where Herbie may be moving to this spring.


Sarah said...

Crick and Watson *and Franklyn*!

Carol said...

Oohh ... let me guess .... Great Haywood to Fazeley? Genius ... that's me!

Herbie Neil said...

Carol aah but where on that stretch are we getting a marina mooring?

Adam said...

I said the other day, I bet they're going to King's Bromley.

Herbie Neil said...

Adam, You might think that, I couldn't possibly comment:-)

Vallypee said...

It sounds as if you’re raring to go this year, Neil...
I love the magnetic letters with their opportunities for nonsense, but then I love nonsense in any form.
I’ll be curious to see exactly where you end up of course!