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A Special Builder's Notes

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The Special Builder's Breakfast Club

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01 June 2024

Heads Up!

I forgot to mention that at the Humber annual beano, held this year in the Guildhall, Bury St Edmunds, I discovered the existence of the UK's only surviving Royal Observer Corps Operations room. It still contains a lot of the original furniture and equipment that enabled the ROC to be, along with the Chain Home system of radar, the eyes and ears of the Royal Air Force during the Battle of Britain and beyond.

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I knew I had an aeronautical map of similar vintage in my aviation drawer, but some months ago I'd reorganised a lot of paperwork and of course, the map was nowhere to be seen - not even in the map department on my bookshelves.

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I eventually found the map in my old school trunk, and although it predates the Second World War by two years (1937 was the year that Pa went to Halton to begin his apprenticeship) I shall donate it to the ROC room.

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Counsel is the official driver of all things ancient in The Great Collector's emporium, but his being on holiday in Spain meant that I had to step in to take the 1913 Straker Squire to a local 'Cars on the Green' event. Centre throttle pedals require some concentration, as does the changing of gears. I have to admit that whilst going up the gears was straightforward, could I go back down again? No. Each time, I had to pull in and start again in first. The Great Collector was happier with this arrangement.

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My vehicle of the day was this fabulous NSU Quickly. A basic 2-speed model of the sort that Pa used to buy and sell back in the 70's - until the station CO remarked that this sort of 'trade' was not becoming of an officer.

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My Riley chum button-holed me at the event and handed me part of a remote oil filter system fitted to one of his client's cars. With only partial land around one of the union threads, the Dowty seal wasn't doing its job.

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A couple of lines of weld and a tidy up on the mill; problem solved.

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The hangar door wheels will be more difficult to sort out. Considering the cost of the hangar when it was built in the early 90's, I was surprised at the gash job the manufacturers had done for the wheel boxes. The wheel itself is cast iron, but the mounting seems to have been made with material from the scrap bin.

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On the apron was a dead hornet. It looked like a spider of some description had sucked all its innards out.

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More stainless steel 'T' pieces had to be welded up in double quick time - just when I was looking forward to getting back on the Special....

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... and then Flaming Cactus dropped by to have a hand-drawn sign replicated for the Red Rooster Musical Festival on a local estate. I might get Friday to myself if I keep my head down.

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