Flops' Friday mini blog


floppybootstomp

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Mr Flops getting nostalgic here, forgive me... ;)

Musing on tales past a few transport related tales involving me and the Royston.

Around 1970 Roy was driving this fridge lorry about to earn a crust. The fridge lorry needed a driver with an HGV licence, Roy would only have have been 19 or 20 at the time and you needed to be 21 to drive an HGV lorry. C’est La vie, tres naughty, Roy used his Dad’s licence which meant we had to call him Jimmy if we were pulled by the old Bill.

I used to accompany him sometimes just for the craic and one morning we found ourselves heading from Swanley to Hatfield which meant driving through central London to join up with the A1.

We came to the top of a steep hill adjacent to Highgate Cemetery waiting first in the queue at a red light. Roy thought it was dead funny to rev up and let the clutch out sharply which made this ungainly lorry do a wheelie and at the top of this hill Mr Rogers was doing this a lot and having a good chuckle.

Unfortunately around the fifth time he done it mechanical stress came into play and the diff broke, all four bolts sheared off making the prop shaft drop to the ground and making the lorry immobile. Needless to say when the lights turned green the other vehicle drivers behind us weren’t too happy. This road was a narrow two lane affair and soon a traffic jam built up behind us.

In time a policeman arrived who spoke to us and determined we weren’t moving until a repair crew came out and made repairs and told us it was his job to direct traffic until that happened. He also told us when he was ordered to this task he had just finished his night shift and had to stay with the broken down lorry until it was repaired. Needless to say this did not fill him with glee and we sensed a somewhat hostile feeling radiating from him towards us.

We walked down the hill to the Archway roundabout and took breakfast in a cafe. Not having anything to do except wait for Mr Mechanic to arrive and make good the fridge lorry, at opening time we went into the Archway Tavern and ordered a couple of pints of bitter. This is the pub where the Kinks had the picture taken for the front cover of their LP ‘Muswell Hillbillies’.

We kept checking if the lorry was ready to be driven but the repairs took time and at 4pm we finally left the pub having consumed several more pints of bitter and beat the locals at Pool. We were p****d as Parrots.

That poor policeman finally got to go home 8 hours after his shift had finished and we climbed into the cab of the lorry and somehow made it home. On reflection perhaps we should have gone walkabout locally, perhaps visited Highgate Cemetary but we were young and the pub seemed like the only option. Very naughty I know but that’s what happened.

In the same vehicle, I think it was August bank Holiday, we set off to Margate for the day and were chugging merrily along the A20/M20 when we noticed there were lots of hitch hikers along the route. Roy decided to stop for them and let them into the back of the lorry.

Eventually we must have had more than twenty hitch hikers in the back, all on their way from the busy metropolis to the sunny south coast. The rear compartment of this lorry, being a fridge lorry, was airtight and it was also pitch black.

As we approached the M20 services we became aware of many banging noises coming from behind us in the back of the lorry. These noises increased and became more frenzied as we realised it must have been our passengers banging away in the back.

So we pulled into the services car park and opened the back of the lorry whereupon all our passengers tumbled out in a rush, most of them gasping for breath. Not only did the darkness and the enclosed space induce feelings of claustrophobia but twenty people breathing oxygen in an enclosed space did not make for comfort.

A couple of the male hitchhikers looked like they were going to thump us but they didn’t and needless to say every single one of our passengers declined our offer to complete their journey. Oh well, we had good intentions.

Another time Roy picked me up from me Mum & Dads place gone midnight and we started driving to Southampton to make a delivery to an ocean going vessel. That night a thick fog swirled around the highway and the going was slow. We had the radio on and the news announcement told us a prisoner had escaped from a nearby prison and for drivers not to stop for anybody requesting a lift.

The escaped prisoner was a multiple murderer and was thought to possess a knife. As we cruised along at a slow speed the thick swirling fog took on a whole new meaning of being sinister and we expected at any minute to come across some knife-wielding nutter thumbing a lift.

I thought this was a good time to tell Roy the story about the mad murderer of Bodmin Moor who had apparently dismembered his victim then leapt onto the bonnet of a passing car and swung his victims head against the windscreen. I don’t think Roy was amused.

We made it to Southampton without incident and we sat on the edge of a quay at the docks, smoking a joint, and watched the sun come up over the water. There are moments in this life we all remember well and that sunrise, for me, is one of those moments. In my head I was singing Otis’ Dock Of The Bay and whenever I hear that song now I’m transported to a sparkly Southampton dawn.

Well there we go, reminiscing, funny how these things jog the memory now I’m no longer a teenager…..
 

floppybootstomp

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In my ageing bedroom computer I have a Startech bay mounted caddy where I can swap disks in and out and thus use different operating systems.

Here’s the spec for that machine, it’s 8 or 9 years old:

Asus P8Z68-V Pro (Socket LGA1155) Rev 1.xx Bios 3402
Intel i7 3.4Ghz Sandy Bridge 4 Core
Corsair 650W PSU
16Gb DDR3 Memory (2 x 8Gb) Kingston Blue Hyper X Freq: 802.7Mhz
Pioneer BDR-209D Bluray Writer optical drive
Asus Xonar DGX PCIe Sound Card
C Drive: Western Digital 500Gb (April 2011) (Win 7) or
Crucial MX500 SSD 240Gb (Linux Mint Cinnamon 64 Bit 19.1) or
Hitachi Deskstar 80Gb (December 2007) (Hopefully Win XP 32 Bit)
3 x 2Tb Hard drives
MSI GTX1050 2Gb DDR5 Graphics card

I have an old 80Gb Hitachi Deskstar from December 2007 which I usually use to try different Linux Distros but I thought I’d try and get Win XP working on it so I could install a boxful of old games that only run on XP (as far as I know). I had tried to sell these games including an ad on this forum but no takers, no interest, all too old I suppose.

Those games are:

Black & White 2
Far Cry
Driv3r
Unreal Tournament 2004
Tomb Raider 1
Tomb Raider 2
Tomb Raider 3
Theme Park World
TOCA Race Driver 3
Race Driver: GRID
Myst Masterpiece Edition
DOOM _ Collectors Edition
Devastation
FEAR Platinum Collection (FEAR 1 & 2 & Add-ons)

The only games I’m really interested in playing out of that lot are TOCA Race Driver 3 and Devastation both of which I enjoyed a lot back in the day. And Unreal 2004 works ok in Win 10 but to play online there are a million and one add-ons, mods and maps you have to download and install so I haven’t bothered.

I installed XP from a CD I’d burnt where I embedded the AHC1 drivers XP needed to run on my Intel motherboard. It’s a 32 bit version and also has Service Pack 2 embedded.

Installation was fine, loaded drivers for LAN, USB3 and sound card, all good.

Problems I encountered were I couldn’t install Service Pack 3, it kept telling me there was an error; I couldn’t install Internet Explorer 8 (the newest IE XP supports) as I’m told it needs an update (presumably SP3 but I don’t know) and Nvidia don’t supply XP graphics drivers for my GTX1050 graphics card.

I did try installing Nvidia Win 7 32 bit graphics card drivers but it wouldn’t have it. I’ll also try installing a different internet browser.

I’m going to try loading some of those games and see if they’ll run using the native Win XP video drivers, should be interesting.

I must say I don’t think much of XP these days though in its day it seemed fine, it always needed a fresh install every 12 to 18 months as I recall and was more prone to crashing than MS OS’s 7 – 10. Still, would be good to play those couple of games again and nothing ventured nothing gained.

I’ll also say I’m surprised that old 80Gb Hitachi Deskstar hard drive from 2007 is still performing well, this one was made shortly after Hitachi bought the brand from IBM who at the time were making hard disks that had an awful reputation for dying shortly after purchase. I suppose the one I own means they did make some that were ok.

On the subject of my computer stable, I’ve kept hold of a humble i3 desktop PC I was going to try and sell as I’ve just sold my CRT oscilloscope and bought a digital oscilloscope from Elektor magazine to use with it.

I’ve used a Kingston 240Gb SSD hard drive in this loaded with Windows 10. My new ‘scope is meant to work best with Win 10 so that’s what I went with, I’ve tried it, it works, but using a mouse and keyboard is a little unintuitive so I will eventually invest in a touch screen monitor which is meant to work best with this oscilloscope.

I bought an activation code for Windows 10 on Amazon for £11.00 which I had my doubts about but it worked flawlessly, no problems at all. I had downloaded an ISO for Win 10 from the Microsoft website and burnt a DVD from it but I could have used a USB memory stick instead.

So that’s what I’m up to, I’ll post updates here if anything of significance occurs.
 

floppybootstomp

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My attempts to play some old games on Win XP did not work out :(

I installed TOCA Race Car 3 and it wouldn't load, citing 'a refresh rate error' and Devastation just wouldn't start.

So it looks very much as if modern hardware - in this case the graphics card - is just not compatible with ageing Microsoft Operating systems, namely XP. This machine has had XP running on it in the past using an earlier graphics cards and those 2 games worked then, I think I was using an Nvidia GTX970.

This means I have finally accepted games from the past are unaccessible and I don't think I'll ever be installing Win XP again, not even in VM_Ware. I'm just about to take those games to a charity shop in Lewisham.

On the games front I've now completed the main storyline in Shadow Of The Tomb Raider and am just about to set out to tackle side quests and Challenge Tombs which if my memory serves me well are often difficult if this games predecessors are anything to go by.

So far I'm 57% through the total game, played 35 hours and have unlocked 26 out of 78 achievements. One of those was for the final boss level which tbh wasn't that difficult, killing a Jaguar in the jungle was a lot harder.
 

Becky

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That's a shame, sounds like you need to downgrade!
 

floppybootstomp

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Woke today to bright sunshine and a clear blue sky, on such a winters day. So went strollabout and rattled off a few snaps. Pondered on the fact I've lived in current abode for almost 11 years, strange how time flies as you hurtle ever nearer to oblivion.

Fat old sun:

DSC03755.JPG


I'm beginning to feel as old as this tree:

DSC03771.JPG


A foral tribute on a bench - did somebody become brown bread on it? Homeless person? Coronary? A block of frozen urine from a passing aircraft? Concerned folk need to know.

DSC03774.JPG


Part of the observatory complex with karzis seen at the bottom of the pic. Very handy for one if oneself becomes desirous of a pony whilst out and about:
DSC03778.JPG


In the garden:
DSC03781.JPG


Another garden pic. Very few people out today, very cold. taken about half past the noontime:
DSC03795.JPG
 

Becky

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Cor, beautiful photos! I love cold, sunny winter's days like that :)
 

floppybootstomp

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At last, my quest is complete, I have found a coat I like and didn't cost a small fortune.

Thanks for the link Mr Urmas, I bought this one: Cool and groovy outerwear

With the detachable hood, postage and re-packaging option it came to £98.76 which to me is acceptable.

I like the look of it, it's warm enough for this mild English winter, it'll do me.

Only slight misgivings I have are that sleeves are a bit on the long side (or my arms are a bit on the short side) and the top covering gives it a slight resemblance to a donkey jacket. Not that there's anything with donkey jackets, I used to wear one in my younger days for a spell.
Well sad to say this transaction did not turn out well.

After a few days I figured that as the coat sleeves completely covered my hands and then some it was probably too big so decided to return the large size coat for a medium sized coat.

Here's the timeline:

11th January: Coat and hood ordered, cost inc re-packaging and postage: £98.76
15th January: Coat arrives
20th January: Return requested via email as coat too big. Asked to exchange large for medium size.
24th January: Answer received via email explaining they will only refund original sale and I have to make a fresh order, they do not operate an exchange service.
24th January: Coat returned in re-packaging. Postage cost to me aprox: £13.00 The re-packaging originally cost me £3.49
I decide to wait until refund finalised before ordering another coat in medium size.
1st February: Email received stating my return has been accepted and money refunded via ‘Payment Highway’.
1st February: Email received from Repack telling me I have earned a repack voucher. I have no idea what this means nor am I interested in finding out.
7th February: Still waiting for refund. Decide I'm not going to order a replacement from this company.

So far this has cost me around £16.50 and if I ever receive a refund from Varusteleka it will only be about £82. I do appreciate the companys attitude but it doesn't seem financially viable trading with them. UK Firm Asos, for instance, offer cost-free returns/re-orders/exchanges.

I'm open minded enough to realise the Finnish companys heart and intentions are in the right place but when it comes to hard cash methinks they're ripoff merchants.

In the end I bought a lined leather jacket from Marks & Sparks for £179.00 which I'm very happy with and it fits me. I found the leather jacket at M & S Charlton but they didn't have my size. The shop assistant determined they did have my size at their Bromley branch so off I went to Bromley and came home with a new jacket.

Disappointed and disillusioned :(
 

Becky

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Sorry to hear that @floppybootstomp :( Online returns can certainly be a PITA, some places are better than others. I've used ASOS in the past and they offer free next day delivery for £10 p/a which is pretty good, and like you say they also do free returns. However I find that I return a lot of their stuff because it often fits badly.

Glad you managed to find a jacket in the end though. Good old M&S :D
 

nivrip

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I got a jacket/coat from M&S getting on for 18 months ago which cost about the same as you paid. It has been an excellent buy and well worth the money I feel. I'm sure it will last a long time too as it seems very well made and it really keeps me warm even in the coldest weather.

My good lady had the final choice and she usually gets things right. :D It must be OK because my two daughters like it too. :nod:
 

floppybootstomp

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In these days of inclement weather, short daylight hours and currently no work I've been staying in a fair bit and found myself browsing through some old compilation cassettes.

This one probably compiled mid-eighties - Mr Melancholy or what? - and I doubt if all of those would find themselves on any compilation I compile in 2019.

Tonys Mixture Tape One:

Glad It’s All Over – Captain Sensible
Willin’ - Little Feat
Goodbye Girl – Squeeze
Lodi – CCR
Spongi Reggae – Black Uhuru
I Won’t Let You Down – PhD
Meet On The Ledge – Fairport Convention
Maralinga/Tin Legs & Tin Mines – Midnight Oil
Our Lips Are Sealed – Fun Boy 3
Zoom – Fat Larrys Band
Crimson and Clover – Joan Jett

Chance – Big Country
In Another Way – Clark Hutchinson
Something In The Air – Thunderclap Newman
I Second That Emotion – Smokey Robinson
Reflections Of My Life – The Marmalade
Loving You Is Sweeter Than Ever – 4 Tops
The First Cut Is The Deepest – PP Arnold
Over The Hill – John Martyn
Dolphins – Tim Buckley
More Fool Me – Genesis
Under Pressure – Queen and David Bowie
Peace In Our Time – The Imposter
Never Never – The Assembly
 

floppybootstomp

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Went and had a look at the new local IKEA today. As I am just a lowly pleb and unable to gain VIP advance review status I waited a few days before visiting then joined the throngs of hoi polloi milling about the interior of the Swedish furniture merchant. It was mobbed out and the restaurant appeared full. I didn't actually need anything from the store but I was keen to see the roof garden but unfortunately for me it was closed with notices proclaiming 'Just adding the finishing touches, come back soon'. Pah.

As I left and strolled towards Sainsburys for to buy some tuck, a man was retreiving his bicycle from outside and shouted to me 'Meat balls?'. I replied, 'No, it's just the way I walk'. People are strange. So we have IKEA local now, it didn't seem to be having any impact on the local traffic at all, despite peoples' fears the area would become gridlocked. Won't have to travel to Croydon, Edmonton or Lakeside anymore now.

914_800.jpg


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916_800.jpg
 

muckshifter

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The 'meat balls' aint that great. Give me pie-n-chips with gravy & mushy peas. :)
 

Becky

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The 'meat balls' aint that great. Give me pie-n-chips with gravy & mushy peas. :)
What?! I love them :drool: Ian always enjoys stocking up on biscuits and Daim bars when we're there too. Oh and we occasionally buy things for the house :lol:
 

floppybootstomp

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Coupla months ago finally finished scanning the greater majority of my photo negatives, just the odd sized ones to do now. Today I made a tentative start on photo prints that I don't have negatives of.

Came across this one from eons ago.

April 1970. I was working on the Lewisham Boro News newspaper and there had been a spate of handbag snatches in the area so we decided to run a story on it and mock up a handbag snatch for a picture to go with the story.

The image was meant to convey nastiness and terror but all myself and fellow reporter Jenny Outhwaite managed was more akin to Benny Hill or a Carry On film. We tried. This pic in St Aubyns Road Crystal Palace outside newspaper offices. On left a Mk 1 Cortina.

012_BagSnatch_1970_800.jpg
 

nivrip

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Ha ! When the pic first came up I could only see the top of it and was wondering which was the man and which the woman.

When I scrolled down I could tell. :D You forget just how short skirts got. :D
 

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