Thursday, March 31, 2011

Two Museums, Mein Kampf and a Ship Canal

The Imperial War Museum North  - broken egg shell architecture by Daniel Libeskind as viewed from the Salford side of the Manchester Ship canal.  The building behind is a flour mill.
Large facade - small entrance door.

Keep calm and carry on

As I said...

Trabant papier mache in motion - this war museum focuses on the effects of war on people and society and Iron Curtain junk (no Ural motorcycle on display as presumably they could not afford the product placement fee)
Compulsory reading for every married couple in the Third Reich

The tallest  of the broken shells has  a viewing point and curiously the dioramas carry braile writing  - a thoughtful but possibly misplaced touch.

Across the canal at Salford Quays the Lowry Centre houses a small collection of works of the local painter LS Lowry

Naughty Nikos
Even the Lowry has a junk shop selling tittle tattle

As a result of Liverpudlians ripping off the Mancunians, a canal was completed in 1894 that connected Manchester docks with the sea.  People from Manchester travel to Liverpool to this day to visit their wheel trims and car radios.


Addendum and Health warning for Gadjo Dilo

Monday, March 21, 2011

Beginners Guide to Kink Instability

Looking back at the 45 years or so of my life spent living within 35 miles of London, I probably went there for touristic reasons approximately three times.  OK, I spent about 5 years commuting to and fro and my dear old Dad used to take me regularly to the Tottenham Court Road to buy his collection of crappy ex-military valve radios that I could not even give away 20 years later - this early symptom became a full blown handed down Nikos family syndrome of filling up garages with junk.  I remember passing by Pride and Clark in Stockwell (from where I bought my second motorcycle in 1976, a Yamaha RD200, RD standing for "Run Down").

Preamble over, get to the point Nikos.

Now (I do mean now) I live near Manchester and have decided to visit the place at least three times as a tourist - this is last Saturday's effort supported ably by Mrs Nikos.

This is the eclectic Beetham Tower, home of the Manchester Hilton - in the foreground the former Manchester Central station - now GMex conference centre.

This is China Town

Hazard awareness sign post  - a swinging tram

MOSI  - click here to find out more - A memorial telling us how Manchester used to be the seat of Engineering and scientific excellence.

A replica of Robert Stephenson's 1830 Planet Locomotive provides joy rides.

A wheelchair trike with mobility power and style ------>>click here

Contra rotating propellors on an Avro Shackleton maritime patrol aircraft built at Woodford near Manchester, powered by the RR Griffon "thirsty for fuel and oil, noisy and temperamental with high-maintenance needs. In 1961, these engines needed top overhauls every 400 hours and went through a spate of ejecting spark plugs from their cylinder heads"- sounds like my sort of engine then. Interestingly, the Napier Nomad was earmarked for this aeroplane  - a Twelve-cylinder, two-stroke valveless diesel engine compounded with three-stage turbine driving both crankshaft and axial compressor.

The top end of the RR Merlin engine, closely related to the Griffon but with more trouser than mouth designed for performance at higher altitudes   - only 48 valve tappet adjustments required every month.

One of two  prototype English Electric Lightnings - 0-60mph in 2 seconds and 36,000 feet about 178 secs later. Designed by real men using slide rules.

My BMW cylinder head - only 8 tappets to adjust every 6,000 miles.

In 1954 Metropolitan-Vickers began research into nuclear fusion containment under the curious project code name ZETA - Zero Energy Thermonuclear Assembly - it never caught on.

There was some other girly stuff to see at MOSI with textiles and steam engines on display too but we needed to partake in "High Tea" at the Midland Hotel.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Mein Carnival

Team Nikos emerged from the house entrance onto the Carnival parade scene on Rhein Strasse a pig, a cow and a lanky chicken wearing 3 layers of thermal underwear as despite the blue sky and sun, the temperature was a trifle brisk around the gonads.  This year we resumed the full meatball catering service.  We did not make it too far as we met up with a Russian lady whose husband kept giving us vodka.  As the pig and cow cannot drink to excess unlike the chicken the chicken became rapidly pickled.

First things first - beer and meatballs

The camera is playing up again

The traditional Helau salute

Vegetarian alternative

Always good to see mounted police ladies in such fine fettle.

Mrs Nikos adores Carnival  - Helau darling.

Google buttocks protest

The camera has a glitch yet again - must be the fancy "face detection" function playing up

Only 30% proof, this stuff slips down a treat.
Trike with blue hair.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

March Musings

So far March has been a bit of a disaster on the IT front but I can report excellent milk foam in Wiesbaden.

This is a demonstration of an important scientific discovery filmed today in Wiesbaden -  a spoon resting on milk foam.

If this appears on your computer screen scream.  It took me 3 days to rectify and this machine was supposed to have been protected against trojans by state of the art security software.  Do not send $79.99 to  Murdoch Spyware Inc (a division of Slater Nazi PLC) when prompted so to do.

This is a copy of the Choragic Monument of Lysicrates in Athens in Tatton Park - I like to take a walk during my lunch hour or two and discovered this quite by chance.

According to Auto Fahrt this is the new mini Mini.  When the new Mini came out some 10 years ago (?) I was keen to test drive it but was mighty disappointed as it handled worse than my VW Passat and had less space inside than a Smart car.  A pretty pointless vehicle and a poor testament to the brilliant concept created by Alec Issigonis.  I suspect that the mini Mini will be similar, all crumple zone and no trouser.

Meanwhile back in the workshop I am fiddling with the valve clearances on a classic air cooled boxer engine to retain my sanity from IT driven hysterical madness.  But life is not so simple -   the rocker shaft end float has to be adjusted first.   The newly acquired motorcycle lift is a boon in cheap Chinese manufacture and convenience.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Carnival Capers Condundrum

In Mrs Nikos' home town there is some sort of heavy mass hysterical get together on Rosenmontag aka "Karneval".  This year that will take place in Wiesbaden (twinned with Tunbridge Wells)  this coming Sunday (?) and celebrations joyously include "....dressing up in fancy costumes, dancing, parades, heavy drinking and general public displays with floats".
Question is do I return to my award winning get on German TV fetish giraffe disguise or shall I be a pink cuddly pig or even a kangaroo?  Last year the  beer barrel proved a large flop and the pig had a nasty fall on sheet ice.  I could try that one provided that the lycra will accommodate 20 layers of thermals to pad me out and I will definitely wear my electric Gerbings motorcycle gloves to keep my extremities warm (current forecast Clear. High: 4 °C. Wind SSW 27 km/h. Windchill: -6 °C). Flippin Heck.

Team Nikos following the abortive interview on a German TV channel (Libary photo courtesy of KinkyFernsehen Auspufen GMBH.)

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