Thursday, 15 August 2013

Eating and blind-making

There's nothing like visiting a few old New House customers in beautiful parts of England to work up an appetite.

On Wednesday I was at Beaver Blinds in Torpoint and ABC Blinds in Dorset. Both have used our fabrics for years and they are careful and impressive blind makers. Ones I'd whole-heartedly recommend.

Sitting in Beaver Blinds' office next to the water, it's not unusual to see some warship sail past. While just up the river, there's the famous Brunel Tamar bridge (sadly this is not my photo)...

ABC is in the lovely town of Bridport, and on the way home I happily stopped at River Cottage's famous Canteen & Deli in Axminster. 

I know it's a cliché, but I couldn't stop myself taking a pic of one of the most beautiful plates of salad & humus I've ever seen...
Decorated with colourful petals and nasturtiums it was a joy to look at and wonderful to smell. I felt BAD like a destroyer-of-art, gobbling this plate down so quickly.

Today at New House's design meeting, we discussed our September Top Drawer stand and chatted freely about our many other up-and-coming projects. We also had a superb lunch of fresh flower salad, cookies and all the other good things I'd picked up from the River Cottage Deli that helped our discussion flow and sparkle... there's nothing like a plate of good food to get everyone talking!

Friday, 9 August 2013

SS Great Britain - a masterpeice of engineering

One of my godsons, James visited last week and on a rainy day we went to the historic city of Bristol to see the SS Great Britain.

New House is a design and engineering company, and the ship & museum turned out a million times more interesting than I imagined.

The Great Britain was the world's first iron ship and another of Isambard Kingdom Brunel's genius designs. He's up there with Leonardo, Newton, Edison or Darwin as one of the worlds most original thinkers. Brunel calculated that even though iron was heavier than wood, it was much stronger, so a ship could be built that weighed less, could be bigger, carry more cargo or passengers and be more durable than any wooden ship.

It's a testimony to the British manufacturers of his day that they welcomed his new ideas, backed him, and built this amazing ship. In one huge technological leap SS Great Britain superseded all other ships.

To construct the vessel, Brunel built a new dry dock in Bristol. He originally designed his ship as a paddle-steamer, but saw a famous tug-of-war between a new propeller screwed vessel SS.Archimedes and HMS Rattler (of equal horse power, but a paddle-steamer). Seeing the screwed vessel pulling the other along at 2.5 knots, Brunel re-designed the Great Brittan so his single screw design let him place the engine at the lowest part of the hull and increase the deck space, that the paddle mechanisms would have taken up. 

After her launch in 1843 everywhere the Great Britain went she was a wonder, as she was by far the largest vessel afloat.

Eventually the Great Brittan was beached in the Falklands and used as a warehouse. Made from wrought iron (a heavy but slow-rusting iron) she survived. A huge donation by Sir Paul Getty allowed for the ship to be towed across the Atlantic to the Bristol dry dock where she was first constructed, 127 years later.

She's wonderful to see today and I recommend anyone to visit :
The engine room :
First class accommodation :
The old Mr. Brunel :
The NEW Mr. Brunel (my godson James) :