Wednesday June 24th 2015
Not sure I want to go on with this, it sounds like some deluded, potty professor, that’s what most of my friends and family think. I’ll wait until tomorrow and talk it over with little Charlotte Elizabeth at least she and I talk the same language – Farmyard. I blame it all on the bomb. If you click HERE it may explain a few things.
Thursday June 25th 2015
OK, Lottie gave me two raspberries so it’s a go. It all started with the great floods of 1968 when Downside Bridge got swept away, I happened to be working in the USA at the time but came back to find a pile of rubble on each bank of the River Mole. I retrieved a few bricks, which was built in 1780, and wondered what sounds and sights those pieces of old rubble had experienced. Think of it. My great grandparents, among others, and their family walked, rode and trotted regularly over the bridge to Cobham from their home in Ockham.
I selected a piece of rubble and embedded it in a clear epoxy resin and put it on the mantel piece and decided that plenty of others would love ‘A Piece Of Historic Rubble’ and the APO was born. Next was the concrete race track at Brooklands, at the time I was working inside the track and spent my lunch hour selecting ‘pieces of history’ - only a few! By 1986 I had streamlined the design, invested in a plastic mould for the plinth and designed a jaunty pyramid package. I designed and registered the APO logo as a ‘Seal of Authenticity’ – how could it fail? Because I was crap at marketing despite having gained a Diploma in Sales and Marketing from the National School of Salesmanship (another story) and I couldn’t do everything.
In 1989 somebody offered me a Jumbo Jet full of the recently demolished Berlin Wall, I declined. I then set up a stall in Gatwick Airport with hundreds of ‘Pieces of Old England’ but it was in the wrong terminal as most passers-by were off to the Costa del Sol and A Piece Of Old England was not on their shopping list, my daughter who volunteered to assist me wished she hadn’t. Undaunted I switched to semi-precious stones and sold them in the canteen at Air Products where I worked (and other places including Harrods) for Christmas presents – they sold out. What can I say? Incidentally I was permanently ‘high’ on the fumes in my shed from the epoxy resin. Today I have a few samples left so you better hurry! There is more to it, however I’ll spare you the detail except maybe for this piece of sales literature which I was, and still am, quite proud of and which prompted the article in Marketing Week.
THE APO SOUVENIR
A Genuine Piece of History
It is a great shame that much of our National Heritage ends up as a pile of forgotten rubble – discarded,
burnt, pulverised or at best as hard core for new foundations.
Historic walls, floors, ceilings, fixtures, fittings, or even pathways, roads, bridges, race tracks,
airfield runways, buildings and structures of all kinds, all are disappearing at an ever increasing rate,
all have their own unique historic significance and all are of interest to many people.
It is true that some of this demolition is for the sake of restoration but what about the REAL historic fabric,
what about the REAL history that lies within this discarded rubble. Rubble that actually echoed the voices,
the cries, the laughter, the screams, the moans, the agonies and excitement of the past.
Rubble that once was the fabric of our society.
Surely there must be a way to preserve from oblivion, to perpetuate the memory of even a small piece of history.
Even your favourite pub surely deserved a better fate.
The APO Souvenir is a unique memento, a GENUINE piece of history.
Each piece has a story to tell about it’s PRECISE place in history, about those who touched it and the sounds it echoed.
If walls had ears……..?
So, that’s it, 12 years in a nutshell, next is the EasyReader which was 15 years, watch this space.
These are beautiful Pieces of Old England three hundred million years old from the Mendip Hills - the pieces of Downside Bridge and Brooklands Track sold out. Then the fumes from the epoxy resin got the better of me so I gave it up.
NB The rock sits in a pool of hardened resin and displays it beautifully.
The Surrey Advertiser Friday October 10th 1986 on the left. Still seeking.
The APO's top right are stacked up against my shed which one day I might turn into 'historic rubble', think of it.
This is a piece of Bob's shed, built in 1978, each brick and tile lovingly laid by the hand of Bob and each bucket of cement mixed with his own shovel and each piece witness to the sight, sound and smell of Bob.
Definitely a winner - or maybe not!
Enthusiasm for the APO rekindled after reading that – probably make a million myself!
Friday 26th June 2015
The EASYREADER put simply, again, is a unique product. People will tell you that there are many book supports out there that do the same job but they are wrong. Judge for yourself, I have approximately 200 left in my garage in case you would like one.
The Easyreader is designed to 'take the strain' while reading in bed or holding your recipe book or reference book.
You will need an over bed table for reading in bed (they are supplied if you are unfortunate enough to be in hospital) and yes, you have to turn the pages.
The clever design uses a second book as a counterbalance in order to prevent your book (or kindle) from tipping forward.
The second book will also prevent the pages from a hard back or paper back from closing.
The support is 30cm wide and will cope with most books or magazines.
It is designed and made in the UK from tough 3mm thick clear Acrylic Sheet.
Put on my black tie again today, this time for a colourful lady who was a part of my childhood she was laid to rest beside her husband who died some 30 years ago, today is also their wedding anniversary – divine intervention? Goodbye Mrs T.
Saturday 27th June
I’ve started so I’ll finish.
THE HANDY SANDER
Unlike the previous products the Handy Sander came to me suddenly one morning in the shed. I had the problem of sanding down a painted brick wall with the coarsest grade of sandpaper (or aluminium oxide). The sanding blocks out there in all the DIY stores were just various shapes and sizes of ‘blocks’. So, I found a length of standard rainwater down pipe – 68mm diameter, chopped off a length of 115mm – the same width as a standard roll of sandpaper (in the UK), slotted it down its length with a 25mm wide slot and bingo, you have a combined sanding block and dispenser which is wonderful to use. You can make these yourselves in 10 minutes flat, round or square, black or white to taste.
The product has been evaluated by a leading global manufacturer and although the Innovations Manager thought it was a great idea the costs/profits didn’t stack up. I thought of making a couple of million in the shed but then I woke up. In any case the shed is full of APO’s and Easyreaders at the moment.
Bottom right is a round within a square and can be separated. Ingenious!
Sunday 28th June 2015
In the news this morning is a piece about 'The RAF Bases That Time Forgot' you can see it HERE. What an opportunity for someone to package up all the bits, write a potted history and sell them to all the tourists. It could be called 'The APO'!
The only other way of earning a crust that I have succeeded at and is worth a mention is that of becoming a Recruitment Consultant or Employment Agent. All the time I spent working at the drawing board I also spent dreaming of ‘alternatives’ and in 1988 I set up a one man business called Independent Recruitment Services for Professional Engineers and Designers. I took a small office in Cobham High Street and walked to work every morning for 18 months before the cheques started rolling in. I then got bored with it and went back to the drawing board – literally. In 1992 I then wrote ‘A Guide to Recruitment Consultancy’ by Bob Jones which spells out my own particular modus operandi. I have one copy left which will explain everything. I note that James Caan (from Dragon's Den) started his multimillion recruitment empire in 1993. I’m not sure if he bought a copy or not.
It is not my intention to turn this blog into a boring autobiography so I’ll quit now until I can come up with something of real interest. So watch this space. Thank you.
I've now got to work out how to add a page to this blog as it's got too long. What was that Sam? Don't bother?
Something of interest?
Splashed out on a Thai meal last night at The Victoria Oxshott – ate too much, drunk too much – never learn. The Vic’ is a place also of a million memories; I started going there at the age of 17 in 1956 when I had hair, what did I look like? This is me with Gloria from Wales – she was interesting!
Asked to drive 50 miles round the M25 today to visit a ‘with it’ 100 year old in a care home in Essex. To my passengers surprise I jumped at the chance as I was in a mood to mix it with the tail gaters, lane jumpers, turn the wheel and then indicate or simply don’t indicate brigade. I have no problem with lane hoggers and I sympathise with that poor sod who got done for lane hogging. It’s a shame we have a lane called a ‘fast’ lane or an ‘overtaking’ lane. In the States you pick your lane and pootle along at 55mph, or used to in 1969. If somebody wants to undertake or overtake then be my guest – much safer. I reckon that we in the UK have the wrong mind set about overtaking, why must it be in the ‘fast lane’? I think I’ll write to someone.
Care homes are depressing places, especially when you get older. I think that everyone who works there deserves a medal but they are still depressing. I tried to engage with some of the cared for about my blog but nobody stirred.
Monday May 4th 2015
Today marks around about 20 years since I registered this web domain and in that time the idea has not created a seismic wave or even a ripple in the pond of life. However, yesterday, my grand children noticed my new slim fit jeans from Uniqlo so it can't be all bad. I wasn't going to plant any vegetables this year as it's usually only the aphids, bugs and slugs that benefit but I've decided to take my chances with sun flowers and corn on the cob so with any luck I could end up with a yellow forest.
Tuesday May 5th 2015
And why is there a Spitfire on the front page of this website? Well as Max Hastings eloquently puts in his book about Winston Churchill (The Spitfire is) 'The most aesthetically beautiful aircraft the world has ever seen, their grace enhanced in the eyes of posterity by their role as the saviours of freedom'. So why not? Recently I actually built one called Jock you can see it HERE the sound track is great as well. Why Jock? Maybe later, anyway talking about grandchildren our youngest, now one year old, is called believe it or not Charlotte Elizabeth! our little Princess.
Monday May 11th 2015
Apologies, I had every intention of producing an un-missable blog every day but missed the deadline due to unforseen circumstances. You will be interested to know that according to Google Analytics hits for this site shot up to 33 last week - most of them from Brazil - probably interested in Spitfires! Good to know that we now have a 'stable' government, I've never understood why the rest are called the 'opposition', is it because they are required to oppose regardless? That's enough of politics, I've just got to nip down the high street and count the road rage incidents - could be avoided if there was more walking to work!
Friday May 22nd 2015
Apologies again, had to go to Ibiza in a Spitfire - well there were around 150 others on board - but to me it was a Spitfire. Flew through somebody else's vortex on the way back which caused a momentary concern but she took it in her stride, the pilot was a young lady as well. Never fails to amaze me how it all works, I used to work for Boeing way back in the sixties so I should be somewhat enlightened in aerodynamic matters and structures but the sophisticated systems of nowadays are mind blowing except of course at Heathrow Border Control when more than one Spitfire disgorges a few thousand passengers in one dollop.
Sunday May 24th 2015
The only problem about going on holiday nowadays is you are requested to 'fill in the questionnaire' about all aspects of your trip, 'Why did you say that you were extremely satisfied with your flight?' Because I was extremely satisfied! Who dreams up these idiotic questionnaires? Maybe they are all predictive text. I think I’ll write a book using predictive text, it’s probably been done already but the most important part of the system is normally available for the next couple of weeks ago………..I’ve decided to plant some runner beans after all.
Tuesday May 26th 2015
I expect that if there is anyone out there reading this you will have deduced that I am a child of the forties and fifties and as such consider myself very fortunate to be able to do one press up every morning, it's probably because we spend more in our Energetic Health food shop than in Waitrose. 'It is exercise alone that supports the spirits and keeps the mind in vigour', not sure who said it but if it means that I will be capable of two press ups next week then there is hope.
Wednesday May 27th 2015
Talking of Energetic Health, yesterday I covered 60 yards in less time than it takes for our little one year old Princess to fall backwards in her plastic garden chair and prevent her from coming to grief, the phrase ‘faster than a speeding bullet’ came to mind. Fortunately her Grandmother witnessed the whole episode in slow motion and awarded me one and a half brownie points; maybe those expensive daily doses of 100mg Bio-Quinone are worth it after all.
Sunday May 31st 2015
Many years ago my clairvoyant told me that I would write seven books before I die, I started my first one about seven years ago, which is still not finished yet, which means that I will finish the last one in 2057 and bearing in mind it is nearly 60 years since I passed my driving test I reckon that either I will live to 199 or I might not. Tip of the day – do your press ups half way up the stairs – it’s easier.
Tuesday June 2nd 2015
I don’t want to be focused too much on ‘getting old’ but yesterday was another reminder, I was refused insurance from a car rental company – they don’t care if you are over 75 in Ibiza – think I’ll move to Ibiza. Henry wouldn’t be too pleased if I did so perhaps I’ll stay put, Henry is the chocolate Labrador we look after a couple of times a week, he’s lovely really. We are now told that standing up at your work place is good for you, great, I feel good, I stood up for 48 years at an old fashioned drawing board, sharpening my pencil and rubbing out – sorry deleting.
Thursday June 4th 2015
There's a lot of tragic stories out there at the moment but the sun came up again this morning. Well the sun didn’t actually come up I was on a part of a spinning planet which allowed me to see the sun again. Hope you were too.
Friday June 5th 2015
Had time to think today, think about all my failed inventions, the APO, the Easyreader, the Handy Sander not to mention walktowork.co.uk, there were many others that even I have forgotten. The Anti-Gravity machine did work, I even made one but it went into orbit and not been seen since. There is always hope.
Sunday June 7th 2015
Conversation overheard this afternoon in Beaver Lodge Montreal Canada – ‘What did I tell you young Bob, before crossing the road? Look right, look left then right then left again, except, EXCEPT, when the Grand Prix comes to town, then you look left, left, left, left and left again and what did you do ? Yes, you looked right. If you’d have got flattened by Lewis Hamilton and his mates you would have been headline news, now finish your sticks and get to bed we’ve got this damn dam to finish tomorrow’.
Monday June 8th 2015
OK it wasn’t that funny and it probably wasn’t Bob the Beaver it was probably Gordon the Gopher, either way it was the most exciting part of the race. Moving on, today was the long awaited ‘old boys hike’ in the Sussex hills. We have more than 300 years between the four of us and apart from the odd twinge, gasp and trip we never give up. The lush green fields and hedgerows rolling into the distance were a sight to behold not to mention the wildlife struggling to make itself heard amongst the sound of the arriving texts, emails and phone calls. If you don’t know Kingley Vale just north of Chichester, it is worth the trip.
Wednesday June 10th 2015
If you take the trouble to Google Kingley Vale you would learn that ‘it is known for its twisted and ancient yews and includes a grove of veteran trees which are among the oldest living things in Britain’ well all I can say we (and they) were in good company! Also, the wildlife struggling to make itself heard could have included a Melodious Warbler so named because of its melodious tweet, I would be interested to know if there is a Grumpy Warbler and if so he or she would also have found itself in good company. No, I didn’t mean you Den.
By the way the view from the top of Kingley Vale is quite magnificent; the whole of Chichester Harbour is spread out in front of you from Hayling Island to Dell Quay. You can see virtually all of the Isle of Wight, the container ships plying in and out of Southampton and in the near distance one of our party, I won’t say who, spotted an oil drilling rig, well we knew that there was a lot of fracking planned for the area but surely not already? On closer inspection with the bin’s it turned out to be Chichester Cathedral with a nodding donkey in a nearby field – sorry Den. Today was a Henry day, he always looks forward to a sniff round our local beauty spot Polesden Lacey, the view from there is also magnificent, in the distance you can spot all the Spitfires lifting off from zero nine left at Heathrow – (today was a cool North Easterly). If you squint a bit you can just make out the queue into the fast track booths in Terminal 5 Border Control which stretches outside, up and down the taxi ways and half way up the glide slope to zero nine right. That’s not funny either, especially if you are in it.
Thursday June 11th 2015
Today I spent an hour and a half listening to a guy I know who’s made millions in the Big Apple. If you want to hear Neil Capel’s story about ‘predictive marketing’ i.e. knowing what your customer wants before your customer does - then click HERE (you have to scroll down a bit). Henry couldn't understand it either so he and I went for a stroll on another of his favourites – Oxshott Heath – or Oxshott Woods as us locals call it. It is a place with dappled glades, strongly scented pine, sandy hollows, heathery slopes and a million memories and probably the place where I will scatter my ashes?
Friday June 12th 2015
Reason to celebrate today, my eldest granddaughter called to say that she had delivered her first baby. I’m trying to work out whether or not that makes me a great grandfather – she’s a trainee midwife. Also today somebody won £93 million on the lottery – it wasn’t me – phew!
Stunning Image of Red Arrrows removed temporarily.
Might be copyright!
Saturday June 13th 2015
Red Arrows seen over Cobham this morning on their way from the flypast at the Trooping of the Colour celebrating The Queen's Birthday to the Biggin Hill Air Show. Nothing to do with walking to work except that Flying to Work could be my next project. dot.com! Also Cobham Flower Show today organised by Cobham Garden Club, a great turn out well attended amazing sweet peas and rhubarb.
Sunday June 14th 2015
Now I don’t want this blog to descend into a series of boring tweets so I’ll leave it now until I can think of something really interesting to discuss?……………………………….. like why is it that the ceiling roses in the bedrooms of this 80 year old house are not in the centre of the ceilings? They are about two feet from the windows, I have lived here for over 40 years and for 30 years I didn’t notice, it wasn’t until an old girl friend of mine woke up one morning and said ‘Bob, why aren’t your lamps in the middle of the room?’ I hasten to add that the question came over breakfast! So why is it that the builders in 1935 put the bloody lamps near the window? If you have the answer you would make someone very happy.
Monday June 15th 2015
Since starting this blog I have become aware of a billion bloggers out there all eager to immerse you in their worlds. All you have to do is search for any name plus blog (i.e. Bob's Blog etc). Most are boring and self-obsessed some are innocent and charitable some are clever, artistic and inspiring some are funny and not so funny. Some are dogs, cats and all manner of creatures all eager to share their worlds. However if you are not careful you will find yourself drawn into all sorts of murky places, so beware. My take on all us bloggers is that nobody else has the slightest interest, so blog away safe in the knowledge that nobody cares two monkeys – except maybe posterity.
Being a Spitfire enthusiast I searched for ‘aero blog’ and came up with THIS it is an invasion of Spitfires that is an everyday occurrence in the UK, play the video on full screen and be prepared to gasp at the 'power of the digital pen'.
Today we bought a ‘Two Together’ railcard to deepest Yorkshire via Platform 9 and three quarters at Kings Cross. Watching endless queues of people eager to have their photograph taken pushing Harry Potter's luggage through a wall while jumping up in the air was, to me bizarre but a testament to ‘the power of the pen’ by J K Rowling. When I say we went to Yorkshire I mean I went with the person who has put up with me for nearly 50 years and still thinks (on occasions) that I am amazing – especially when I fit a new knob on the saucepan lid – which is often.
The reason for the trip to Yorkshire was, yes, a sad one, sharing in somebody else’s grief but also the celebration of a life is always a journey of mixed emotions. However we had one window of opportunity to visit a local point of interest, which, fortunately was the home of the Bronte family in Haworth a delightful Yorkshire village with a cobble stoned High Street and ‘The Parsonage’ the home of Charlotte, Emily and family who draw visitors from around the world to wonder at the vision, emotion and inspiration pouring from a pen nib, which I studied in great detail. The ‘power of the pen’.
The train ride was great Sir Richard (Branson) but a long way to go to beat the Spanish Renfe. Also the Premier Inn Bingley was great Sir Lenny (Henry) except for your choice of music at breakfast.
Thursday June 18th 2015
Sunflowers are nearly 5 feet high, runner beans failed again! Corn on the cob looking good. Nearly summer solstice. If there is anyone out there fed up with Parakeets and Jackdaws raiding their bird feeders – I’ve solved the problem. Details on request.
Sunday June 21st 2015
For those of you who may be interested in how it is that I can put together this incredible (before it’s time!) web site, I use www.moonfruit.com. It allows you to control every pixel. In the past I have paid money to various ‘professional’ web builders who frankly didn’t have a clue as to where I was coming from. There were times when the site had to be rescued from ‘the hackers’ who kindly left graffiti daubed on most pages – highly frustrating. However, finally here we are with a fantastic opportunity for a fellow visionary. Hello? I believe there is something out there called Social Media which maybe I should engage with but I think I am past learning another language like hash tags, linky dins, Facebook, Google+, Instagram, Reddit, Pinterest, Vine, Tumblr, Twitter; Nexopia, Badoo, Bebo, Vkontakte , Delphi, Draugiem.lv, Hyves, iWiW, Nasza-Klasa, Soup, Glocals, Skyrock, The Sphere, StudiVZ, Tagged, Tuenti, Myspace, Xanga and XING; Mxit, Cyworld, Mixi, Orkut, Renren, Friendster, Sina Weibo…………. actually it does seem to make perfect sense after all!
Monday June 22nd 2015
A couple of months ago I fought my way through a cloud of dust which had come from my old brief case, dusted down my Pentel pencil, scale ruler and eraser and drew up some plans for an extension to little Charlotte’s house. Today we got the stamp of approval from the local council so little Princess blew me a raspberry of delight – the old skill is still there! Now I have to get Building Regulation approval the fee for which is extortionate.
Anyway the point of this episode is that in my old brief case disgorged pieces of old parchment which I had forgotten about. They hold details of inventions/designs/ideas which have emanated from I don’t know where and which, one day will ‘change the world’. So what? I hear you say, we’ve heard it all before. Well now I have decided to reveal all to the world in these pages over the next however long it takes. No doubt there will be somebody out there who might recognise the genius, make a million and cut me in for a percentage – some hopes. First I will reveal details of an Application for a Patent for a revolutionary source of energy dated about 1960 which never got out of my brief case. No Chic, it’s not your anti-gravity machine. Watch this space.
Tuesday June 23rd 2015
THE MUSCLE ENGINE
•So? Tell me why it won’t work? If you can’t read it on your smart phones the title is :-
•ENERGY SOURCE UTILISING ELECTRICALLY STIMULATED ANIMAL MUSCLE.
•Notes. The muscle is to be enclosed in a suitably conducive environment to achieve maximum efficiency.
•The rest should be obvious
•Apply electrical stimulation to the muscles in turn, result they contract and relax.
•This one is ‘double acting’ but could be a million acting.
Yes it’s a bit like your bicycle but this muscle has been extracted from an animal and it thinks it’s still alive in a ‘conducive environment’. Q.E.D.
Before you dismiss the idea completely, there is something out there called Electroactive Polymer which is a synthetic muscle and in my mind could wipe out the internal combustion engine and it’s pollution at a stroke except that the oil companies might have something to say about that.
OK so much for that my next project was ‘THE APO’ which could solve the national debt problem. The APO took me 12 years to develop; I even invested cash in this one. The product even prompted the following from Iain Murray of Marketing Week on July 26th 1985 ‘The beauty and simplicity of the scheme are breath-taking’. Watch this space.