Freesteel Blog » 2012 » August

Tuesday, August 21st, 2012 at 2:01 pm - - Cave 3 Comments »

A fine institution carries on for another year. For details, see the logbook when it is typed up.

The scene when we arrived at Expo Headquarters in the Potato Hut


Monday, August 13th, 2012 at 1:44 pm - - Cave

It took 24 hours from Cambridge. Not many breaks.

Expo has been going for 2 weeks already.

One of my prime leads [shown below] has already crapped out.

Becka seems to have scheduled some tourist caving with the local caving clubs in their bigger caves, and decided it would be a good idea if we walked over the plateau to reach them. This is a BAAAAAD idea. But we’re committed.

Thursday, August 9th, 2012 at 8:46 pm - - Hang-glide 1 Comment »

Even older photos have been unearthed, this time in the form of strips of negatives which I cut up and mounted into slide frames to trick the scanner into accepting them as legitimate.

The only way I could identify the year was from this photo on the right where it was spelled out with bier bottles.

At least this time we do have some records in the Austria Expo 1990 logbook:

13/7/90 | Journey out – Team Cavalier | Mark D, Francis, Peter S

I set off at 1.30pm on Friday. Drove to Cambridge to pick up Julian’s hangglider and found problem no 1 – the roof rack provided didn’t fit on the Cavalier. Fortunately I found an ancient roof rack in my parents’ garage which I managed to bend to fit (It was so rusty it wouldn’t adjust). Proceeded to Dover picking up Francis & Pete en route. Second problem appeared sometime after Dover – the car was drinking stacks of oil. Since lifting the bonnet to fill the oil up involved taking the hangglider fastenings off we had a rather trying time. Arrived eventually at 9pm Saturday evening, absolutely knackered. God, did I enjoy the beer in Hildas.

Neither I nor Mark S had gone to a place like this. After almost two weeks phoning up and hunting around for some sort of hang-gliding instruction, we finally realized that we were going to have to do it ourselves and take our lives into our own hands — with or without a parachute.

Mark taking off from the lower ramp


Thursday, August 9th, 2012 at 1:21 pm - - Hang-glide, Weekends

Found some very old slides from around 1991 in reasonably poor shape from when I originally did hang-gliding as a student.

This one looks like it’s from Austria, though either it wasn’t reported or typed up from the Expo 1991 logbook. It is a caving expedition, after all, so this kind of thing is irrelevant on the matter of how people find out who did what where, when they want to know why they are planning to explore an old area. The logbook is able to explain that it wasn’t done properly and needs another look
(eg people were fed up, tired and miserably cold from the draught — which as any fool knows is an indication of further cave passage.)

The glider was an Airwave Magic IV in tasteful colours.

This one looks like a dusty run down some slope in Spain.

I got off on only three hang-gliding jaunts to Europe in my time. That’s where it’s at. I should do more of them.

Thursday, August 2nd, 2012 at 10:16 pm - - Cave

Weekend of the 14th July was designated CUCC rescue training practice for the usual Austria caving expedition where we got to learn about all these new-fangled mid-rope rescue techniques, including this one which I’d heard about, but never seen demonstrated.

It’s to be used by a small person rescuing someone bigger than them who is incapacitated while ascending the rope and needs to be removed from it quickly.

The trick is to connect the lower section of rope with a knot to their top jammer so it hangs freely, install the descender onto it and then transfer the combined weight from their chest jammer onto the descender (hanging from the rope on the top jammer) by cutting it. The top jammer is then left behind holding the two pieces of rope together while they abseil down to safety.

Hopefully it’s not on brand new rope or there is the possibility that the outer sheaf of the rope will slip down off the core now and off the cut end, leaving both hanging from material like the finger of a woolly glove.


Thursday, August 2nd, 2012 at 8:51 pm - - Other

Recently, every time I come back to this blog, the apache webserver on my server has crashed. I have to log on and restart it. I can’t find out the problem. Maybe it’s due for an upgrade or something. But anyway, I’ll keep muddling along as I do.

Thursday, August 2nd, 2012 at 8:50 pm - - Machining 2 Comments »

Here is an example random part which the great folks over in Copenhagen have been throwing at my scallop routine.

The problems thrown up by these computer generated random parts are easy to ignore — there is always something better to work on — because no one is actually getting let down by them. But when a bug showed up on a genuine customer part that mattered, I spent a week working through it, which was long enough for the flood-gates to be opened. The random part generator was kicking out failures at the rate of six a day and chucking them into the bug tracker by the bucket load until I told them to STOP!.