Monday 31 July 2023

Typewriters (6) : Smith-Corona GT

Ghia are well-known for their car design, especially for deluxe models in the Ford range, but did you know they also designed a typewriter too? The nice but somewhat curious Smith-Corona GT has Ghia (and thus automotive) styling. This is a typewriter with go faster stripes and pieces of rubber on the trim including the carriage return lever. When you open the case (which carries the Ghia badge like a proud owner's Ford Grenada Ghia) you get the smell of rubber!

Although rather plasticky the typewriter works pretty well, the Q key sticks when used but other than that there are not any other problems to report. It is the typewriter i am currently using for my touch typing practice. The ribbon was recently changed, this was a much more fiddly (and inky finger dirty) job than usual. 

Sunday 30 July 2023


Another rail-less weekend, another local trip then. I had a walk around Digbeth, which is a very interesting part of Birmingham. Decaying former (and still in use) industrial units alongside hipster locations. You can see my photos here.

Friday 28 July 2023

Churches (190) : St Nicholas, Ashchurch

The parish church of St Nicholas in Ashchurch, Gloucestershire dates from from the late 11th century with building beginning in 1092, though the church was not consecrated until 1121. The church has a long nave, a north aisle was added in the 13th century, the west tower in the 14th. A clerestory was added in the 15th. The church still has it's rood screen, a rare survivor of the Commonwealth and Puritanism. 

The church was restored in 1889. It is largely built from limestone. 

Wednesday 26 July 2023


On Monday i had a day off and went up to Stafford to take some photos of trains. Of course usually i would travel on the railways at the weekend but there was a rail strike on the previous Saturday. A week day is always better for Stafford anyway, there is usually some interesting workings like new trains on test or rolling stock on it's way to maintenance. Plus a lot more freight! You can see my photos here.

Monday 24 July 2023

Surrey Places (10) : Bagshot

Bagshot is a village at the north western edge of the county. The first mention of the village (as Bagsheta) date to 1165 though there has been settlement in the area from before the Romans. Bagshot was located in a royal forest, a royal hunting lodge now the site of Bagshot Park, the residence of Prince Edward.

During the Elizabethan age was on the main stage coach route from London to the West Country and had a number of staging inns. The village gained a railway station in 1878, it's parish church dedicated to St Anne was built in 1884. Being close to Aldershot, much of the land around the village is owned by the Ministry of Defence.

Sunday 23 July 2023

Jewellery Quarter

The weekend saw another railway strike, so a bus adventure to a local place instead (though i am starting to run out of places to go to be honest). I went to the Jewellery Quarter in Birmingham, plenty of old buildings and sights of interest. The weather was terrible though so i will need to return for a longer trip. You can see my photos here.

Friday 21 July 2023

Churches (189) : St Mary, Abergavenny

The Priory Church of St Mary in Abergavenny, Monmouthshire was originally the church of a Benedictine Priory which was established in about 1070. After the Dissolution the building was spared and became the parish church. The church has a cruciform layout and has a large chancel and nave. Indeed, the large size of the church and the effigies and monumental tomb it contains has even led to it being called the Westminster Abbey of Wales!

The church was fully refurbished in the 19th century and little of the original Norman church remains, though the Norman font has survived after it spent a couple of centuries outside of the church in the churchyard. 

Thursday 20 July 2023

Model week : Basset

The latest model project, #106 a Beagle Basset, is now at the painting stage. It has come along pretty well though it seems white paint is just as hard to get a decent finish on a model in the acrylic world as the enamel.

Tuesday 18 July 2023


It was time for a rail adventure to somewhere new. On Saturday i headed up to Alfreton, this required no less than four trains to get to (but only three coming back!) Due to a delay i didn't get to the Derbyshire town for an hour later than planned but i still had plenty of time to see everything i wanted to see including the rather nice church. You can see my photos here.

Monday 17 July 2023

Surrey Places (9) : Haslemere

Haselmere is a town on the south west edge of the county close to the borders with Hampshire and West Sussex. There has been detected settlement in the area since the Neolithic, a Roman cemetery has also been found in the area. Haselmere is not mentioned in the Domesday Book, it's first possible mention dates from 1180. Haselmere was large enough to be granted a town charter in 1221 which indicates it probably had existed for some time beforehand.

Haselmere was granted permission to hold an annual fair in 1397, the town has no less than five watermills for corn and wool production. In the 16th century Haselmere became known for iron making, a mill also providing power in this case. Textile production was also a major employer in the town into the late 19th century.

Haselmere railway station, a stop on the line between London and Portsmouth, opened in 1859. The town expanded westwards after the arrival of the railways, this included the consecration of the church of St Christopher in 1903.

Haselmere signal box

Station forecourt

St Christopher

Another view of the church

Sunday 16 July 2023

IBM System/3 Advert

A rather odd at times but fascinating advert for the IBM System/3 minicomputer.

Friday 14 July 2023

Churches (188) : St Edburgha, Yardley

The parish church of St Edburgha in Yardley, Birmingham dates from the 13th century with parts of the chancel wall still dating from then. The nave, north aisle and  the Becket chapel date from the 14th century. The west tower and it's spire dates from 1461 and is visible on the horizon as far away as Erdington. The church was restored in the 19th century including a rebuilding of the spire. Part of the church roof over the nave was replaced in 1926.

The church is built from sandstone.

Monday 10 July 2023

Surrey Places (8) : Shalford

Shalford is a village near the centre of the county, south east of Guildford. The village appears in the Domesday Book as Scaldefor and was listed as having three mills. The village prospered during the reign of King John when it gained a charter for a great fair which covered a wide area. The village was also a centre for gunpowder production

The village had a number of fine houses and may have been a country retreat for wealthy people from Guildford. Shalford gained a railway station in 1849 but in 1944 was the scene of a major rail disaster when two goods trains, one carrying aviation spirit, collided.

Sunday 9 July 2023


After a tiring week, and with railway uncertainty, i didn't feel like a rail adventure yesterday so instead had a bus adventure to Moseley in Birmingham, though this still ended up resulting in thousands of steps! I was able to visit two more churches, also see where two new railway stations will be when their construction is completed (though this seems to be a while off yet). You can see my photos here.

Friday 7 July 2023

Churches (187) : St Peter and St Paul, Kettering

The exact date of the creation of the parish church of St Peter and St Paul in Kettering, Northamptonshire is unknown though the earliest priest dates from the 1220s. The church today mainly dates from the 15th century and is in the Perpendicular style though the chancel is Early Decorated and dates from the 13th century.

The church has a nave with clerestory, aisles and north and south chapels. The west tower has a 55m high spire. 

Thursday 6 July 2023

The mighty Silver Reed

Centrepiece of my calculator collection is my mains electric powered Silver Reed 1250PD. After a good clean it powered up perfectly though the ribbon was completely shot. I received a new ribbon today and for the first time in decades the print out is clean and crisp. Maybe i should do my accounts, the red ink will be handy.

Wednesday 5 July 2023

Tuesday 4 July 2023

Model week : Beagle

The latest model kit project under construction is #106 a Beagle Basset 206. Construction is well underway though some painting was carried out first due to the windows needing to be put in and painting beforehand hopefully will avoid any accidents.

Monday 3 July 2023

Surrey Places (7) : Farnham

Farnham is a market town on the western edge of the county close to the border with Hampshire. There has been human activity in the area since the Neolithic at least, Farnham has Saxon origins and the name probably means Fern Meadow (Fearnhamme). The first mention of Farnham dates from 688. At the start of the 9th century, Farnham was recorded as being under the control of the bishops of Winchester. Farnham castle was later built (in 1138) as a residence for the bishop as Farnham was half way between London and Winchester and thus the perfect place to rest at night on the bishops' frequent "commutes". King Henry VIII spent part of his teenage years at the castle.

Cloth making, especially kersey, was the major trade of the town in medieval times. Farnham gained a market charter in 1249, and was said at one time to have the largest corn market outside of London. The arrival of the railway in 1848 with it's link to London led to London businessmen taking houses in Farnham.