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Friday 10th July
My Meccano excavator - a lock-down task - is now complete! Its vintage 20-volt Meccano motor plus the gears, drums, cables and pulleys enable the jib and bucket to be raised and lowered independently and at varying speeds. The controls are behind the yellow sliding door on the cab side. There are a mixture of colours because my old red and green Meccano had to be topped up with some modern yellow and metal-coloured pieces, but it all adds to the charm. I had to alter the Meccano instructions somewhat, changing the position of the motor to counterbalance the weight of the jib; it all now balances perfectly. It's been great fun and occasionally challenging: can't bear to think of taking it apart, so I'll find somewhere for it to stand for a few months. Might play with it, too!
Tuesday 2nd June
It's hard to come up with a third Meccano image without giving the game away as to which model I'm constructing. If you think you now know - and you must be specific about model and number - do let me know and a prize will be yours! As well as occasional days working on the model I've been writing articles for Choir & Organ, Organists' Review and Organ Building, copying old New College organ recital tapes on to CDs for the friends who played them (back in the 1970s), scanning colour slides from past decades, re-learning the Elgar Organ Sonata and many of the Bach 'Eighteen', and going for long walks. A pleasant and productive way to fill one's time!
Tuesday 19th May
Well, here's the second image from the building of my large Meccano model: what is it to be? I've actually made more progress than this, so will soon post a third image. If you can name the exact model then you win the competition and a new CD of me playing the wonderful organ at Southwell Minster will be your prize.
Friday 8th May
It's been something of a blessing to have had time over the past six weeks to tidy and file everything that needs tidying and filing, to get in two really solid organ practice sessions a day, and to enjoy plenty of reading. However, there was still time for something else: then it came to me - Meccano!
Guess the Meccano model competition
My Meccano has been in various lofts for 55 years, so out it came, topped up via Ebay, and I've embarked on making the tricky model which last defeated me at the age of 12. I'm determined it will not do so now I'm 68! I'll post photos of sections of it as they are made, and think it would be fun to have a little competition: the first reader who correctly identifies the precise model (name and number) I'm making will be send a copy of my Southwell Minster organ CD 'Southwell Splendour' which has a choice of music to suit everybody.
So, over to you, and here is an image of the first section I completed. What's the model going to be??
Monday 6th April
With my concerts and recitals postponed and several of my organ consulting projects paused, I suddenly (like everyone else) have an embarrassment of time on my hands. Now I know what it feels like to be properly 'retired'! Actually, it's a joy, for every day I have time for organ practice - refreshing old and learning new repertoire - plus sorting out some 600 organ project files going back decades. Now that is done, the Meccano has been released from 50 years imprisonment in various lofts and I am going to embark on making that giant crane which defeated me as a 13-year-old. Watch this space! Photo of my house organ displayed here, out of interest. The console started out in Portsmouth Cathedral in 1947.
Sunday 15th March
Just back from a most enjoyable trip to Potters Bar, where I gave the inaugural Gala Organ Recital on an organ newly installed in St Mary's Church. Interestingly, the instrument is a transplant - made by T. C. Lewis for the old St Alkmund's church, Derby, and rebuilt in 1972 for the new St Alkmund's building, this fine 3-manual had seen scarcely any use as the church's worship style evolved away from the organ. It proved the perfect fit for Potters Bar, once reconfigured and fully restored and updated by Henry Groves & Son, sounding cathedralesque in a fine acoustic. A large and supportive audience turned up - despite the coronavirus - and a good time was had by all - especially by me. See my Published Books page for a booklet about this organ.