Where The Time Goes….

… is anyone’s guess. I’ve done absolutely nothing to the racing car this week largely because I’ve been trying to get back on track with work. In order to finish the Hillman Special in time for the Monaco Dash, I had to push everything else to one side and stay on the car for 12-15 hours a day for the whole of the month of August.


Naturally, this has led to the introduction of economies in the household (bread-and-scrape for the foreseeable) so this week I’ve been doing a lot paperwork and preparing the ground for a bit of a push with my Avant Loader work in addition to training for a job which will take me abroad for a few days – so that’s fun. (I was going to go and get the pot of gold but when there’s two rainbows, you can waste such a lot of time).

© Science Museum London

© Science Museum London

So, in order to make the paperwork less of a chore, I decided that I’d entertain myself at intervals by investigating how to create a digital photobook of the build of the Hillman. I’m very pleased that I did one for the Austin as looking through an album is always so much nicer than clicking through pictures on a computer. Well, as usual, one thing leads to another and I tripped over a whole lot of pictures that I’d been given when I was tasked to investigate the construction of S. F. Cody’s Army Aeroplane.

© Science Museum London

© Science Museum London

It was, at the time, coming up to the 100th anniversary of Cody’s first flight (2008) which was the first sustained flight of a heavier-than-air machine in the UK. Everyone got quite excited about a flying replica being made ready and an Antoinette engine in an overseas museum was ear-marked for the show. Unfortunately, this particular project didn’t quite get off the ground – so to speak – and the various bits and pieces were stored.

© Science Museum London

© Science Museum London

But I’ve never forgotten how fascinating and delightfully simple it was to make working drawings of the myriad brackets holding the structure together and to gauge how the machine was assembled, solely because of the clarity of the images. These were most likely taken with a plate camera with the lense closed down for a very long exposure which resulted in, every now and again, a spectral figure able to be discerned amongst the rigging.

© Science Museum London

© Science Museum London

I don’t envy these girls their task; rib-stitching is very tedious. I imagine that there’s another three girls on the other side of the wing to pass the needles back through the linen.

© Science Museum London

© Science Museum London

You’ll notice that these drawings are marked ‘Secret’ and I’m sure I need not enlarge on the consequences of their being revealed to subversive elements.


But, getting back to the photobook; after about 15 attempts (reading the manual would have helped) I finally understood that the thing to do was to organise the selected pictures into a single file, upload that to the photobook programme and hit the auto button. So I did and it all worked – sort of – and then it was time for bed already.

That’s where the time goes; sitting in front of computers.


One comment on “Where The Time Goes….

  1. Nigel, As you type we are rib stitching a lower wing on our Curtiss Jenny… 2 people, 10.5 hours to rib stitch all 18 ribs with #8 Waxed linen cord!

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