Autumn 2017 Newsletter

Autumn 2017 Newsletter cover

Autumn 2017 Newsletter
Issue 164

Henwick Primary School Summer Fair 2017

This event took place on the 8th July 2017. Usefully we were, as last year, in the hall where refreshments were served. On the downside, although plenty of tables were available they had built-in low benches suitable for young bottoms. This resulted in yours truly perched precariously on a pile of chairs one end, and Brian on some extra high seat like a Wimbledon umpire!

Spectators consisted of parents and children, most of them young. Comments like “cool!" were heard from some children, unlike from some parents — I heard a father tell his son that Meccano was like a sort of metal L**o!

Kids busy building at the Make It With Meccano table
Kids busy building at the Make It With Meccano table

We were honoured to have the local MP, Clive Efford, visit our stall — he chatted to us all (without announcing who he was) and seemed genuinely interested in the models. We gave him a flyer for our show in October — we’ll have to see if he turns up!

So, to the models:

Chris Warrell showed a mini blocksetting crane, Daleks, two small robots from a tin, his Heath Robinson Christmas pudding stirrer, and some small models.

Tim Surtell had his Lightning Leap, Spanish Knight (now modified to take a coin in a slot), maraca, ice cream cart and YouTube ‘1000 subscribers’ plaque. He also did a lot of work in organising everything, putting up banners, and ran Make It With Meccano. Tim reckons about 30–40 took part, including parents. Expecting a lower turn-out he printed 10 certificates and ran out in about half-an-hour!

Tim with the Lightning Leap
Tim with the Lightning Leap

Brian Leach had his model of Lullingstone Castle gatehouse, castor mechanism and gearbox. One child declared Brian’s castle to be ‘very professional’ but added that it needed a staircase inside. They’re learning!

Peter Clay brought his Meccanograph of his own design, a № 1 set delivery truck and the new Ferrari from Spin Master. This was notable for the amount of plastic strips etc. and even plastic lock nuts — exactly like a standard Meccano square nut but a tighter fit on the bolts. This in a set that advertised ‘real metal’ on the box!

Peter demonstrates his Meccanograph
Peter demonstrates his Meccanograph

Apart from a tendency of young children to take up a model — frequently a car — play with it, and then put it on another person’s table, it seemed to go well on the whole. ‘A good time was had by all.'

My apologies if I’ve got anybody’s model details wrong.

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Eltham Park Festival 2017

I arrived at about half past eleven and already our gazebo was almost totally set up. I helped with a couple of banners and quickly put my models on the table and we were off.

The gazebo had a red covering which gave the models a strange tint. Red plates became almost orange in colour. [It’s also done strange things to the photos — Brian’s green dinosaur has turned yellow! —Ed.] I am colour-blind but can still work out most reds and greens. Also the gazebo had restricted height. A divider from centre front to back was too low and quite sharp. Fortunately there were no accidents.

Our gazebo with the Make It With Meccano tables out front
Our gazebo with the Make It With Meccano tables out front

The weather just about held, with some sunny spells and only a few spots of rain between 2 and 3 o’clock. It was windy and the side of the gazebo often billowed inwards where I was sitting.

This was the first outing of the new ‘Meccasaur’, built by me in the few days before. It performed quite well, but its feet slipped a bit on the table top as it was on a slight incline. Meccasaur is not on sale in the UK which I think is a big shame. It can walk forwards, left, and right. It roars at passers-by. There is a room guard mode. You can ask it questions to which it nods ‘yes’ or ‘no’. It is also programmable and can record sound. In general, the children liked it — I don’t think any were scared by it.

Brian’s Meccasaur
Brian’s Meccasaur

Also going down well were Chris’s steam loco, James’ ‘Cylindricurse’, Peter’s Meccanograph, Adrian’s pumping engine and Tim’s Lightning Leap. Also the ‘Make It With Meccano’ workshop was very busy.

The festival was open from 12 noon — 5:00pm, with the busiest period being 12 noon — 3:00pm. Later on I wanted some food and drink. The open air BBQ was a disaster. I thought I had about a 10 minute queue but after 15 minutes the queue had only moved four spaces. I gave up and later went to the main canteen. Things were faster there, but it was still quite a wait!

Santiago’s Cylindricurse ride
Santiago’s Cylindricurse ride

There were plenty of stalls around and Chris spent some time at the St. Luke’s stall (his church) and also participated (with James) in some 4-a-side Walking Football [we won 8–5 -Ed.]. Also, with the festival being run by the police, there were plenty of police cars old and new to look at.

Kids looking at Chris and Tim’s static models
Kids looking at Chris and Tim’s static models

Models on display:

Adrian AshfordPumping engine; cabin cruiser.

Brian Leach — Meccasaur; dice; Lullingstone Castle gatehouse.

Chris Warrell — Eiffel Tower; Daleks; steam locomotive on O gauge track; crash tender; mini block-setting crane; bike.

James Plicio — Cylindricurse fairground ride.

Peter Clay — Meccanograph; sports car; delivery truck.

Tim SurtellThe Lightning Leap; Spanish Knight; maracas; ice cream cart.

The whole gang’s here! (From left) Peter, Chris, Adrian, Santiago, Tim, Brian and Felicity
The whole gang’s here! (From left) Peter, Chris, Adrian, Santiago, Tim, Brian and Felicity

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