Project Darlek

darlek

Project Dalek began in the spring with Lex (Aka – Charlie!) suggesting we – using the Royal We – construct a Dalek for her to play with – one big enough for her to climb in and operate from the inside! This reminded me of my childhood when I dreamt of getting up on Christmas day to find a Dalek in my bedroom or in the hallway. Like many children of my era and my own daughter – many years later – I loved the adventures of Dr Who and had a particular fascination with the Daleks.

I was raised at a time when we got excited about a Satsuma, a Banana and couple of bars of chocolate in a darlek2sock hung on the bedpost and one special toy from Santa. Anyone of a similar age and background will know what I’m talking about! I never did get any sort of Dalek – so I grew up without one, but when the suggestion was made to build one, something stirred, un-reluctantly, in the childhood memory part of my brain. The persuasion needed wasn’t the usual mind bending psychology of a lifelong salesman my young daughter normal employs to twist me around her little finger – I just agreed! We started by measuring up the small toy Dalek (albeit missing the eye!) she had and measuring her height, plus a little for growth, to make a scale replica. We also had her Dr Who memorabilia to refer to, which showed a range of designs that had appeared over the years – an array of slight variations I hadn’t realised. After a few sketches I decided to make three frames, one each for the top, middle and bottom and join those sections of plywood. Lex came up with the idea of the very top being made from a laundry basket – an excellent idea.  I found some old furniture castors in the garage and we fitted three to the base for mobility. It was decided to fit adarlek3 door in the back for entry and covering for the lower section came from the packaging of 3mm plywood used to protect some roof lights fitted to our house recently. Lex did a lot of the holding while I did the cutting of the framing sections, using a jigsaw. The frames are held in place with spacing formers made out of 15mm ply – as are the frames. We attached the variously shaped thin ply sections to the frame using 15mm panel pins and glue – which at times got a bit messy! It took several weekends to get to something recognisable but gradually the Dalek took shape.

Lex picked the sink-plunger weapon to use in a local DIY store and we made a bracket so it pivots side to side and up and down. For the lights on top, which look a bit like ears, I used a pair of old trailer lights I’d had hanging around for years. I converted them to LED lights instead of 12V bulbs, using a piece of copper clad circuit boadarlek4rd. Lex chose the colour and soldered in the LED’s – three in each.

Of course Dr Who travelled in time – like Charlie Green and his special aeroplane – and Lex and I have had many conversations whilst building the Dalek about time-travel and where we’d go, given the chance. Where would you go?

Next time I’ll have more news on the build including the electrics.

Two out of Three Ain’t Bad!

Two out three Ain’t Bad! No, not th2e song by Meat Loaf, but sunny days at the Goodwood Revival last weekend! As usual a fantastic display of vintage racers was on display as well as some

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One of my favourites – an 1932 Alfa Tipo B.

gorgeous aircraft on static display and flying. Almost everyone was playing their part in the themed event with lovely ladies and dapper gents in appropriate outfits and the odd cameo roles of various groups that percolate around the Goodwood Racetrack venue, like C.O’Medy – the road menders. In the past I have flown in, as a charter pilot delivering customers, but this year I arrived by car like most do and should have got there earlier to miss the queue!

I was lucky to have a Paddock Pass – thanks to a close friend – which meant I could mingle with some really expensive motors! Ferrari’s, Bugatti’s, Maserati’s and even equally classic MG’s. Friday was practice day with racing on Saturday and Sunday.

Another impressive piece of kit was the reproduction Albatross DVA with an equally impressive reproduction Mercedes 180hp DIIIA engine to power it. The build company, The Vintage Aviator Ltd of New Zealand, spent years reverse engineering the aeroplane and all its components including the engine and it’s built to fly, not sit in a museum. Its current home is Stow Maries airfield in Essex, the only extant WW1 period military airfield still with many of its original buildings. Many of these have now been restored and it has been turned in to visitor attraction

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My old mate poses by the side of the Albatross with period straw hat!

with volunteers manning the museum, café and restoration workshops.

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The cockpit has very little in the way of instrumentation compared to what a modern day pilot would expect!

It was good of Goodwood to give me a mention over the loudspeaker system on Sunday – I should have taken some copies of Charlie Green and The Pirate’s Treasure along! They had a De Havilland Foxmoth there, which is bi-plane passenger aeroplane, but not a DH50 that is the magical type in my stories. The Goodwood Revival certainly is a jewel in the crown of the classic motor racing circuit and makes a great fun day out. There were a few sights to inspire me with ideas for characters in my next book too. I also bumped into the artist Simon Canacott who has illustrated a copy of Charlie Green and The Pirate’s Treasure as he read it.

 

My First Post!

DSC02026The first press coverage of my debut novel – Charlie Green and The Pirate’s Treasure – appeared in the Shoreham Herald, Thursday, March 31. The catchy title given to the feature captures both the book and my experiences – Pilot dad publishes pirate adventure! With years of experience of writing technical aviation manuals (two books published) I was inspired – over six years ago – whilst playing with my two daughters to embark on my first novel. I love working on craft projects with them and at one time we built a two-storey play den at the bottom of the garden – they named it their ‘Fairy Dell’. Within it they acted out their fantasies and I found myself being taken back to my childhood days and thought of the stories I had enjoyed.
I was enthralled with the H.G. Wells book The Time Machine and fascinated by the adventures of buccaneers on the high seas in old sailing ships. Someone once said, “Life is what happens to you while you busy doing other things”! Finding time to do what you would really like to do is not always straightforward, and being in the right frame of mind to write a novel came to me on holiday. As that only happens once or twice a year, my first book took a few years to complete! With a different approach, Charlie’s next adventure is already occupying plenty of pages and the first draft is nearing completion after only six months! If I had a pound for every time I’ve thought, I wish I could have been there, when reading about historical adventures. Stories like The Secret Garden also inspired the theme of time travel on a journey through history and my passion of flying meant there was only one machine appropriate for the transportation of my adventurers!

Reports of the lost treasure of Capt. William Kidd – amongst others – excites many people with the thought of discovering a hidden horde that might still be somewhere for the taking and it got me thinking about – what if? What if you could actually travel in time – what would you do, where would you go? I remember that as a child I dreamt of going to many places and being on board a sailing ship discovering new lands was one of them, or a swashbuckling pirate ship chasing a Spanish treasure ship! I relive and share my childhood dreams through the antics of Charlie Green and his siblings in Charlie Green and The Pirate’s Treasure, published on 28th April 2016.