Peter Burton's daily log, covering Peter's personal interests, e.g. jazz, travel and general grumpiness plus (occasionally) the business of Isomatic and its associate companies.
Sunday, April 30, 2006
Gatsby Jazz Band at the Wych Elm
On Saturday evening we went to The Wych Elm
in Elm Road, Kingston Upon Thames, where we saw the Gatsby Jazz Band. The rhythm section is very trad. comprising Sousaphone, Banjo and Washboard/symbol/spoons. The front line comprised trumpet (Alan Jenkins, with great vocals) plus good deputies on clarinet and trombone. Highlight for me again was 'C'est Magnifique' with Alan using a superb French accent.
Leader Mike on banjo has a bawdy turn of phrase that is finely balanced between compliment and insult. The three mature women he referred to as 'bits of crumpet' were flattered but barmaid Margaret clearly objected to him calling her the old scrubber behind the bar. I wonder what she might do to his drink next time ?
Both the bar staff and the locals are very friendly so I can recommend this venue just as a pub. It is a great pity that jazz is only once per month and sometimes we have to miss it because we are away.
Saturday, April 29, 2006
Dinner at the Cricks, squirrels in the loft
On Friday evening we had dinner for four adults and one child at the Cricketers
in Horsell Birch, Woking. Since the new owners took over, there is no separate restaurant so it is bar meals throughout. The menu is substantially different, although some old items continue. Everybody seemed to enjoy their meal and 4-year-old Stella enjoyed the garden with swings, slide and other children.
We used to think the grey squirrels that are everywhere around here were rather sweet. Now we have them in our loft, views have changed. I sprayed them with air freshner, which they certainly did not like, one falling to the ground in its haste to escape. It then had to run from next door's cat. Now I have fitted an ultrasonic rodent repeller. Perhaps I could join the squirrel cull
. The picture comparing red and grey is with thanks from the same BBC web page.
Friday, April 28, 2006
Magna jazz band with 4 deps.
On Thursday evening we went to the Berrylands Hotel
in Surbiton, where Brian White's Magna jazz band
performs every week. There were only two of the normal line-up, Richard Lyons on bass and Rex Bennett on drums. The four excellent deputies were Dick Charlesworth (clarinet, tenor sax and vocals), Denny Illet (trumpet), Dave Hewett (slide and valve trombones) and Dave Herridge (keyboard). There were many great numbers and Rex was given many more opportunities to shine than usual. Special features were as follows:
100 years from today (my request) with a great tenor solo from Dick
Novelty vocal 'Chicken Rhythm' sung by Dick
St James' Infirmary with Dave Hewett playing the slide of the trombone + beer glass
'Kiss to build a dream on' featuring Denny.
Dick thinks one should not end a sentence with a preposition so it should be 'A kiss on which to build a dream'. This would dramatically alter the scan of the lyrics but it was played as an instrumental so no problem.
Thursday, April 27, 2006
Ampair at Interbuild 2006
We are just coming to the end of Interbuild 2006
, where Ampair
has been exhibiting its new 600W wind generator for the first time. The response has been incredible, 2000 brochures having been taken and 10-20 times that number of persons having visited the stand.
Wednesday, April 26, 2006
Grid tie inverter for net metering
On Tuesday I played with a so-called 'grid-tie inverter' that supplies electricity to the national grid from a wind generator or from solar panels. Balancing one's own generated electricity against that supplied from the grid is called 'net metering'. This is certainly a good way to ensure that all one's own generated electricity is used to good effect. The only snag seems to be that the UK (and some European) regulations insist that the inverter is disconnected if mains power fails. This means that grid tie eliminates the facility for back up in case of power fail. Renewable energy customers in the UK, etc. will have to choose between these two options. The new web site from Ampair
(coming soon) will offer both wind and solar solutions for home renewable energy.
Tuesday, April 25, 2006
Ian Cruickshank's Gypsy Jazz
On Monday evening at The Cricketers
in Horsell Birch, Woking, we saw Ian Cruickshank's Gypsy Jazz
. Fantasic guitar playing by Ian Cruickshank and John Coverdale with the great Peter Morgan on bass. It is hard to pick a highlight from such a fine evening of jazz but I will go for the final number 'Moto Swing', which we never hear anybody else play.
Monday, April 24, 2006
Ruckus Blues at the Saddlers Arms; West Ham in the FA cup final
On Sunday evening we saw Ruckus Blues
at the Saddlers Arms
, Send Marsh, Woking, Surrey. The duo comprises Dave Raphael on harmonica and Mike Chowney playing acoustic guitar and doing most of the singing. They specialise in Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee numbers plus a fair sprinkling of Huddie Ledbetter.
The performnce was punctuated by shouts from a drunken fellow West Ham supporter, celebrating our team's victory over Middlesborough in the FA cup semi final.
Sunday, April 23, 2006
Tristan and Isolde at the Guildford Odeon
On Saturday evening we went to the Odeon Cinema in Guildford to see Tristan and Isolde
. Amazingly we knew nothing of this ancient legend so the story line was very fresh and new to us. Plenty of action and soul searching !
Saturday, April 22, 2006
Gene Vincent and Cliff Gallup
Yesterday we posted a package to a customer with the address 'Be Bop a Lula'. The older members of staff began musing about the probability that this is an ageing fan of Gene Vincent and the Blue Caps. I still have some of their recordings, including the first Race With the Devil
, memorable for the highly original guitar playing of Cliff Gallup
who inspired the young Jeff Beck. I could never catch the mumbled words on the record but the advent of the WWW reveals all.
Friday, April 21, 2006
Magna Jazz Band at the Berrylands Hotel
On Thursday evening we went to the Berrylands Hotel
in Surbiton, where Brian White's Magna jazz band
performs every week. It was the full band with no deputies. Highlights for me were the blues 'Lonesome Road' and Alan Dandy's keyboard solo 'Prelude to a Kiss', during which the audience kept quiet for a change.
Thursday, April 20, 2006
The small transformer
business is very active since last week. One of the many enquiries has already resulted in an advance payment for the initial batch of 1000 units. This comes at a time when yet another transformer manufacturer has ceased trading. Perhaps reduced competition will negate the difficulties of this business.
Wednesday, April 19, 2006
Hard day at Park Farm, then Seinfeld
We spent a long hard Tuesday at the Park Farm headquarters of Boost Energy Systems
, mostly answering all the telephone calls that resulted from the long Easter weekend.
For relaxation in the evening we watched a DVD of old Seinfeld
episodes. This is surely the greatest comedy series of all time.
Tuesday, April 18, 2006
Panama Cafe Orchestra at the Cricks
On Monday evening at the Cricketers
in Horsell Birch, Woking, we again saw The Panama Cafe Orchestra
. The sweet cornet of Dave Lowe and the fine clarinet/alto sax of Richard White were supplemented by excellent deputy banjo/guitarist Dave Griffiths. Normal banjo player Barney Rubble came along for a short while and played/sang three numbers.
This venue has become the record-swapping club; we took away so many records on loan from a fellow jazz fan that we won't find time to play them all by next week.
Monday, April 17, 2006
Bay View Court Hotel, Bournemouth
We have just returned from 3 nights at the Bay View Court Hotel
in Bournemouth. Good facilities and live music every evening we were there, see web site for details.
We also went to a jazz evening at the Longham Bridge House Hotel
. Gerry Brown was on trumpet and jokes. He likes to dish out stick to the audience but if we answer back he says "no hecklers please". He can dish it out but he can't take it.
Of our day trips we liked Wimborne, Shaftesbury and Poole Quay. We give an emphatic thumbs down to Swanage. Car parking charge of 2.5 pounds is bad enough but notes/cards are not accepted and no change is given. How many people have exactly that amount of change in their pockets ? Get lost Swanage, we won't be spending any money in your town !
Thursday, April 13, 2006
Sales of single to three phase converters
In the course of our 3 phase converter
work we have observed that sales are concentrated on one or two power ratings for a while but then the 'fashion' shifts to other models. Currently it is 1.5 kW and 8 kW models that are selling like hot cakes but next week could be different. I wonder if our competitors have the same experience ? I can think of no rational explanation.
Tuesday, April 11, 2006
Apex Jazz Band at the Cricks
On Monday night we saw the Apex Jazz Band at the Cricketers
in Horsell Birch, Woking. This was the full line-up, comprising Tony Nutt (cornet), Peter Minett (soprano and alto sax), Clive Burton (trombone), Terry Twiss (guitar, banjo and vocals), Bert Shipp (bass guitar and vocals) and Ian Parry on drums. Every number was good, particularly Clive's feature 'Autumn Leaves' with Terry Twiss on tenor guitar and Terry's vocal 'Your nobody's sweetheart now' with his own words for the repeat.
Sunday, April 09, 2006
Basic Instinct 2
On Saturday evening we went to the Guildford Odeon to see Basic Instinct 2
. It was much better than the amateur critics reported on the Internet Movie Database. They are too critical, perhaps because they are stuck in the past. I left the cinema feeling glad that I had not been swayed by the IMDB reviewers. 14 hours later I am still trying to find flaws in the plot but I cannot think of anything serious. My advice to everyone is see it for yourself and make up your own mind.
It follows a similar pattern to Basic Instinct 1 but the plot is less confused. It still left me wondering at the end but in a more satisfactory way. Sharon Stone is as sexy and evil as before and wears her 48 years extremeny well; this remains her defining role. David Morrisey was good enough in the male lead role, even though he is no Michael Douglas. Of the supporting cast I particularly liked David Thewlis as the police detective.
Saturday, April 08, 2006
Corus, Terms and Conditions
I can now reveal that the prospective customer with the onerous terms and conditions was Corus. I was asked which of the Ts & Cs was unacceptable so I listed 15 of them. Corus has now cancelled its purchase order. As a general statement on the subject, suppliers would be well-advised to read customers' Ts & Cs before accepting an order. Otherwise they could face huge claims for consequential loss in the event of any failure.
Thursday, April 06, 2006
Newton Laws of Motion; Alternator
Thinking about methods of measuring the input energy/power/torque of a wind power alternator has taken me back to basics. Amazingly I could remember the four laws of Newtonian motion plus kinetic energy, etc. Despite this, I still have not thought of an accurate method that uses what we have at the workshop plus one hundred pounds or so for extras.
Wednesday, April 05, 2006
Resistance welding transformer order
We received a resistance welding transformer
purchase order from a large company with small print terms and conditions that are unacceptable. I wonder how other suppliers deal with this ? I suppose it is a balance of risk versus business.
Tuesday, April 04, 2006
Phil Brown at the Cricks
On Monday night we saw the Phil Brown Swingtet at the Cricketers
in Horsell Birch, Woking. It was the full band, including Ken Ames on guitar, who was given a rare vocal spot. He has a good jazz voice and should sing more often. Ray Poole and Peter Clancy were guests on keyboard and bass respectively, each for two numbers. A rapport seems to be growing between Mark Aston (tenor/clarinet) and Rex, a wildly enthusiastic jazz fan with an incredible memory going back over 60 years. Rex now 'conducts' Mark's performance from the front of the audience.
Sunday, April 02, 2006
Eastbourne, Pavilion Tea Rooms
Today we went to Eastbourne for the first time this year. It is probably the best seaside resort on this rather poorly served south-east coastline.
We had brunch at the excellent Pavilion Tea Rooms. It has been brought up-to-date recently, e.g. the traditional old-fashioned waitress uniforms have gone, but the food is as good as ever.
Failure to Launch at Guildford Odeon
On Saturday evening we went to the Odeon Cinema in Guildford to see Failure to Launch
. Nothing spectacular but a pleasant enough rom-com.