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.
Wednesday, January 31, 2007
Having struggled for two days to find stock of a particular lampholder I found Clive at Technical Lamps
who said "no problem we have 900 in stock. This is my sort of supplier !
Tuesday, January 30, 2007
Apex Jazz Band at the Cricks
On Monday night we saw the Apex Jazz Band at the Cricketers
in Horsell Birch, Woking. The band had the standard personnel, comprising Tony Nutt (cornet), Peter Minett (soprano and alto sax), Clive Burton (trombone), Terry Twiss (guitar, banjo, vocals), Bert Shipp (bass guitar and vocals) and Ian Parry on drums. They bravely attempted 'I'm Coming Virginia', a number played so perfectly in 1927 by Bix Biderbecke, Frankie Trumbaur, Eddie Lang, et al, that no other band can ever match that performance. Peter and Terry gave a fine duet performance playing 'September in the Rain' and Clive Burton played everything brilliantly. He is coming to the Europa one Sunday in February; we look forward to that.
Monday, January 29, 2007
Urban Gin House Band with only two regulars
On Sunday evening we went to The Europa
in East Molesey to see the Urban Gin House jazz band. The quintet was mostly deps, comprising Alan Brock (trumpet and vocals) Les Dyos (slide trombone), Ray Poole (keyboard), Mike Bennett (string bass) and Eddie Kettle (drums). The guests from the audience were John Shepherd (pocket trumpet), Peter Clancy, Roy Stokes and Peter Talent (slide trombones).
We particularly liked Ray's piano playing, even on the number that he did not know.
Sunday, January 28, 2007
Gatsby Jazz Band; 50th anniversary year
On Saturday evening we went to The Wych Elm
in Elm Road, Kingston Upon Thames, for the monthly performance by the Gatsby Jazz Band. Mike Adamson, band leader and banjo player, had issued a notice regarding the band's 50th anniversary. It was started in 1957 by the clarinettist Dick Jones, who died in 1993. Since then Mike has led the band and he pays tribute to Alan Jenkins, (trumpet, vocals and Mike's driver) without whom the band could not have continued.
The picture shows the youngest members of the audience, for whom Alan sang two numbers from 'The Jungle Book' in Louis Prima style; 'King of the Swingers' and 'Bare necessities'. With young fans like these jazz might survive after all !
Mike made up for insulting Selina previously by presenting us with two photographs of us from the December gig. Selina is wearing her shortest skirt with the new green jacket and looks fantastic. Mike then asked me to use up the complete film in his camera by taking shots of the band.
Saturday, January 27, 2007
Where are our Three Phase Converters manufactured ?
I am frequently asked to explain where we manufacture 3 phase converters
. The answer is: either at our factory in Bulgaria or at Park Farm Berkshire, whichever is most economic. We started with the 4kW Booster from New Zealand, then manufactured it in Bulgaria, followed by the 8, 12 and 16 kW units. Park Farm started in the manufacturing business by producing 1.1, 1.5, 2.2 and 3 kW units. We recently began production of the 4 kW and 6 kW units there and we undertake final assembly and test of all the larger units. We are unusual in moving production from off-shore back into the UK.
Labels: Phase converters
Friday, January 26, 2007
Magna Jazz Band with no deps
On Thursday evening we went to the Berrylands Hotel in Surbiton for the weekly Magna Jazz Band gig to find that it was the full band with no deps. Highlights for us were:
'I Can't Sleep, with Pete Towndrow saying he had never played it before but still joining in as if he been playing it for years
a piano solo version of 'I Can't Get Started' by Alan Dandy (pictured).
Thursday, January 25, 2007
Goodbye Fiat Punto, welcome back Suzuki Ignis Sport
On Wednesday afternoon we returned the Fiat Punto courtesy car to PMC body repairs
in Sussex and collected the repaired Suzuki. PMC seems to have done an excellent job, fitting a new floor panel under the spare wheel to replace the one that was badly kinked in the accident. While waiting for the Suzuki to be given a final clean we looked round the PMC 'museum'. This included a pair of Jaguar XJ140s, one restored and one original. The paintwork on the original one was apalling.
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
Panama Cafe Orchestra at the Cricks
On Monday night we saw the Panama Cafe Orchestra at the Cricketers
in Horsell Birch, Woking. The band, playing better than ever, comprised Dave Lowe (cornet), John Lawes (clarinet), Chris Lowe (trombone), Mike Gibbons (drums), Chris Houslander (sousaphone) and Dave Griffiths (banjo). The pictures show them in standard and Disney format. Our favourite number, to which Selina and I danced, was 'Black and Blue' with a wonderful jazzy vocal from John. The sad news was that the band's former banjo player and novelty vocalist Brian (always know as 'Barney') died just before Christmas. The band played him out at his funeral.
Monday, January 22, 2007
Urban Gin House Band with Ken Ames & Eddie Kettle
On Sunday evening we went to The Europa in East Molesey to see the Urban Gin House jazz band. It comprised Alan Brock (trumpet), Mike Byrne (trombone), Ken Ames (guitar), Mike Bennett (string bass) and Eddie Kettle (drums). Guests were too numerous to list here.
Selina complimented Ken on his fine guitar playing and we asked him about his guitar. It is a Japanese copy of a Gibson that is basically acoustic with a separate electric pick-up. Ken made the point that cutting a hole for a pick-up always spoils the acoustic sound. It certainly sounds great when Ken is playing it!
Sunday, January 21, 2007
White Alice Farm bed & breakfast
While setting up the first wind turbines at our Misty View Farm test site in Cornwall, we stayed at White Alice Farm
for two nights. Great view, nice bedrooms, a kitchen and a residents' sitting room that proved really useful for a business meeting. I recommend this for anyone wanting a remote Cornish location. We will definitiely use it again next time.
Saturday, January 20, 2007
Misty View Farm Test Site
Today we set up two Ampair
wind turbines at our new test site at Misty View Farm in Cornwall. One is the Ampair 'Hawk' 100-24V and the other is an Ampair 300-24V. Each is charging a bank of batteries that powers a 240V AC load via a sine wave inverter. There was no shortage of wind while we were there. Is there ever ?
Labels: Wind power
Friday, January 19, 2007
Magna Jazz Band with Keith Brown
On Thursday evening we went to the Berrylands Hotel in Surbiton for the weekly Magna Jazz Band gig. Keith Brown (pictured) deputised on drums for the absent Rex Bennett. Our favourite number was the Alan Dandy's solo on keyboard: 'Rachmaninov's prelude in C sharp minor' otherwise known as 'Russian Rag'. It is interesting to note that jazz musicians never refer to a key as 'sharp' but always 'flat', e.g. C sharp becomes D flat. I don't know about F Sharp / G Flat because I have never heard this key mentioned in a jazz context. G Flat sounds wrong somehow.
Tuesday, January 16, 2007
Phil Brown Swingtet at the Cricks
On Monday evening we saw the Phil Brown Swingtet at the Cricketers
in Horsell Birch, Woking. It was the full band with no deps., the front line comprising Phil Brown (trombone and vocals), Lester Brown (trumpet, flugelhorn) and Mark Aston (tenor sax, clarinet) with the rhythm section of Andrew Clancy (keyboard), Ken Ames (guitar), Mike Bennett (bass) and David Clancy (drums). Guests were Peter Clancy and Roy Stokes (trombones), Colin Lewry and Ray Poole (both keyboard). Ken Ames was given a vocal spot with 'That's my home'. The highlight of the evening was 'Tuxedo Junction' with a few choruses from 'Pennsylvania 6-5000' thrown in the middle.
The evening was particularly good because of all the interesting people who chose to sit at or alongside our table.
Monday, January 15, 2007
Urban Gin House band with Colin Lewry
On Sunday evening we went to The Europa
in East Molesey to see the Urban Gin House jazz band. Leader Richard Wilcox was still ill so the quintet comprised Alan Brock (trumpet and vocals) Mike Byrne (slide trombone), Colin Lewry (keyboard), Mike Bennett (string bass) and Mike Knipe (drums). The guests from the audience were John Shepherd (pocket trumpet), Aileen May (bass, pictured), Peter Clancy, Roy Stokes and Peter Talent (slide trombones). We had an interesting discussion with Mike Byrne about the local trombone players good and bad and a frank discussion with Mike Bennett about surveyors; are they all bad people.
Sunday, January 14, 2007
The Last King Of Scotland
On Saturday evening we saw The Last King Of Scotland
at Guildford's Odeon cinema. A great film, if somewhat gruesome. Forest Whitaker deserves an Oscar for his convincing portrayal of Idi Amin. The instant changes between charmer and madman helped us understand this terrible part of history.
Saturday, January 13, 2007
Fortis Insurance and PMC body repairs
On Friday evening we stopped at a roundabout because cars were already on it and a careless driver rammed our stationary Suzuki in the rear, causing extensive damage. After wrenching bent bodywork away from a rear tyre we were able to drive home. I telephoned Fortis Insurance
later in the evening and they immediately faxed PMC body repairs
in Sussex with instructions to proceed with repairs. PMC telephoned on Saturday morning to say we could bring the car there immediately and drive away in a Fiat Punto courtesy car or, if we preferred, a PMC driver would come to us on Monday to collect the Suzuki and leave us the Punto. Result: less than 24 hours after the accident, and on a Saturday, we have a fully functional car to drive (as pictured). Good service !
Friday, January 12, 2007
Magna Jazz Band; Bugler's Lament
Thursday evening was spent at the Berrylands Hotel
in Surbiton, where Brian White's Magna jazz band
were playing. The photographs show all the regular musicians, playing together on that night. Highlights were 'Perdido Street Blues', 'Apple Blossom Time'(starting as a waltz at my request) and Alan Dandy's solo 'Lady Be Good'. However, our favourite of the evening was Pete Towndrow's cornet feature 'The Bugler's Lament', using no valves on the Cornet. This was the number he played at the Epsom Jazz Club, the first time we ever saw this band, causing us to say "we must try the Berrylands". We have been going there ever since !
Wednesday, January 10, 2007
Indesit gas cooker
On Sunday morning our new Indesit gas cooker arrived. It has two major advantages; low price and drop down door. The latter was a requirement due to past problems with door catches. Unfortunately the electric ignition only works for the hob and not for the oven. We await a service call.
Tuesday, January 09, 2007
Dinner without Jazz due to Zena's party
We arrived at the Cricketers on Monday evening to find that Zena had
reserved the main section of the pub for her birthday party with 80
guests. No chance for the other regulars to get near the jazz although
we were able to eat in the other section of the pub. I understand that
the pub is very pleased to get such a big booking on a Monday so no blame
is due. I do think that it is very selfish of Zena to hold such a
function on jazz night; it is her group that always talks loudly during
the music. Why do they come at all on a night when live music is available?
Monday, January 08, 2007
Urban Gin House Band with Roger Limb
On Sunday evening we went to The Europa
in East Molesey to see the Urban Gin House jazz band. Leader Richard Wilcox was ill and we wish him a speedy recovery. The resulting quartet comprised Alan Brock (trumpet and vocals) Roger Limb (keyboard), Mike Bennett (string bass) and Mike Knipe (drums). The guests from the audience were John Shepherd (trumpet), followed by Roy Stokes and Peter Talent (slide trombones). Alan and Roger played some numbers that they 'half knew', resulting in many short solos.
Sunday, January 07, 2007
Apocalypto at the Guildford Odeon
On Saturday evening we went to Guildford's Odeon cinema to see Apocalypto
. A very gory film but stunning scenery and very different from the average film of today. Full marks for trying something different.
Saturday, January 06, 2007
CarTrawler and car hire at Brussels airport
We tried to hire a car using Cartrawler, an agency provided by the airline (or was it the hotel booking service ?). Cartrawler is telling us that we cannot have air-conditioning unless we have a car the size of a Toyota Avensis. I have responded as follows:
I have just checked a few hire companies on the web (something I had hoped to avoid by using you) and find:
Easycar; Corsa Diesel with A/C
Avis; WW Golf with A/C
National; Opel Astra with A/C.
I accept that the smallest cars might be difficult but surely we don't need to have as large a car as the Avensis in order to have A/C ? There will be just two of us plus one suitcase and a flight bag and we intend to use the narrow roads in the Ardennes so size is a disadvantage. The weather is unpredictable in Belgium during August but I have seen a middle-aged healthy man become ill due to the heat. We cannot risk our holiday being ruined by a heat wave.
I will give you one more chance to come up with something suitable.
Friday, January 05, 2007
Magna Jazz Band with Tony Pyke & Dave Hewett
On Thursday evening we went to the Berrylands Hotel
in Surbiton, to see and hear The Magna jazz band
. The two excellent deputies were Dave Hewett on trombone (pictured from a previous visit) and Tony Pyke on alto sax and clarinet. In the absence of Brian White, the band was led by Pete Towndrow who not only plays great cornet and trumpet but has a good jazz voice. His vocal on 'I'm gonna sit right down and write myself a letter' brought shouts of MORE from the audience. Other highlights were 'Dark Eyes' from Dave Hewett and my request for 'Carnaval' featuring Alan Dandy (keyboard) with Rex Bennet providing the Bossa Nova beat on drums. This is a very modern piece for the band and for me but it is still one of my favourites. My Charlie Byrd record that includes it is now 40 years old so modern is a relative term.
I sat in the famous lucky seat and won a Judy Eames CD in the raffle followed by a win from Selina that we asked to be drawn again in the interests of fair play. The new winner was Peter Winn, sitting the other side of me ! The lucky seat has become the lucky corner.
Thursday, January 04, 2007
Michael Perham; Transatlantic record;
A 14-year-old boy has arrived in Antigua to become the youngest person to
sail the Atlantic single-handed. Michael Perham, from Potters Bar,
Hertfordshire, ended his 3,500-mile voyage when he sailed into Nelson's
Dockyard at 1400 GMT. We at Ampair were one of his sponsors, providing
solar panels and a towed water power generator that can also be hoisted
in the rigging to provide wind power. I must acknowledge the excellent Spluch Weblog
for the picture, with no apparent insistence on copyright !
Labels: Water power
Wednesday, January 03, 2007
Wind power curves; Ampair 600 grid tie
On Tuesday I started to produce Excel graphs from pages of test results for the grid tie version of the Ampair 600 wind turbine. Performance is far superior to the theoretical curve in the product brochure.
Labels: Wind power
Tuesday, January 02, 2007
River Thames at Shepperton
On Monday we ate lunch by the River Thames at Shepperton
. It remains a lovely spot, apparently immune from development.
Monday, January 01, 2007
New Year's Eve problem solved by Rajdoot
For New Year's Eve we thought we would go to one of our regular pubs. The Saddlers Arms was standing room only, The Cricketers was charging 15 pounds each and The Europa had no live music. When every pub lets you down, what do you do ? You go to an Indian restaurant, where customer service always comes first. We went to The Rajdoot
220 London Road, Burpham, Guildford, Surrey, GU4 7JS, which we recommend to anyone in this area.
Labels: Eating out