I popped down to Nelso St in Bristol at lunchtime, to see some of the graffiti which is part of the See No Evil street-art project. This weeks photo-challenge is to take a square photo, so most of what I shot was with that in mind.
I also took some non-square shots which better show the scale of some of the work on display:
I had as much fun watching peoples reactions to the work as I did looking at the work itself. I might have to pop back with my DSLR and a nice long lens to go peoplestalking.
I spent Saturday building a wheeled platform for my PAX, which should make it easier to work on (and easier to live with!) I was a little bit generous with the amount of tolerance, so there’s a bit of a gap around the PAX but that’s not really a problem. J came over on Sunday to give me a hand hauling the PAX up onto its trolley:
Now that it’s mobile, I can set about moving the rest of the furniture in the lounge to make space for it. I think the cat will get used to it eventually!
Since my last post, I’ve been giving the other selectors I’ve got a bit of an overhaul. Cleaning, oiling and adjusting the mechanism, tweaking relay contacts etc. I now have 3 working selectors – which means the exchange can now handle 3 simultaneous calls! Which is still a bit daft with just me in the house, I’d need 5 people to come and visit to bring al three selectors into use. Mind you, that’s no more daft than having the thing in my front room in the first place:
I spent last night with the 3rd and 4th selectors on the bench, using number 3 as a reference I replaced the wipers on number 4. This is quite possibly the most fiddly thing I’ve done on this exchange so far. I’m sure it’s really straight forward if you’ve been on all the appropriate GPO training courses, but if you’re just trying to figure it out on your own it’s not easy! Selector 4 is the one furthest from the camera in this picture:
So, selector 4 now has new wipers, and steps cleanly mechanically. Unfortunately there seems to be an electrical fault with it. It will step vertically on the test stand, but it won’t step horizontally. Thankfully the rotary magnet seems to still be alive (at least, it meters at 50Ω, which is about right) as changing those out looks like a nightmare. There is a good solid connection to battery on one side of it (it’s energised by connecting the other side to earth) but it doesn’t even attempt to operate.
My other initial thought was the N springs, but they all appear to operate correctly.
So, it’s more time spent pouring over the circuit diagram for me then!
I promised myself that I wouldn’t do any of the fun jobs on my PAX (eg replacing the ringing vibrator contacts, fault finding selector position 2 or setting up a second selector) until I’d given it a bit of a clean. So, out came the soapy water and mild detergent along with a nice new non-stick-safe washing up sponge…
That’s them up there, by the time I finished.
Some bits of the PAX (notably the inside of the base) are now almost a completely different colour, and the whole thing looks a bit less like I’ve just dug it out of a shed at a steam railway. I’m hoping it smells a little less musty, but won’t really know until I next leave the house.
Cleaning has shown up some surface staining which won’t come off all that easily (it seems to be spilt varnish or something) and several places which are beginning to develop rust patches – but I’ll get to them all in good time.
Yesterday, Ian and I drove from Bristol to Porthmaddog in Wales to the Ffestiniog Railway to collect a small(ish) telephone exchange or PAX (Private Automatic Exchange) The railway were having a bit of a clearout, so while we were there we piled a load more stuff in the van. Probably more than we should have really!
(The big grey box at the bottom of the van is the PAX)
It was a long drive home, so we didn’t unload the van immediately. Instead Ian came over before work this morning to help me get the PAX out of the van. After a lot of effort, we managed to get it into my lounge, where I can work on it until I no longer need to get to the back of it. Once it’s all working, I’ll move it into an alcove where it’s less obtrusive and disguise it by putting a pot plant on top of it or something.
It’s a 50 line automatic exchange with 7 connect circuits (although I’ve only got enough selectors to populate 4 of them) once fully populated it can support up to 7 conversations at once. It’s equipped with tie-line circuitry so I can connect it to other exchanges. I’m hoping to use these to hook it up to the internet so that other people with similar exchanges can dial into it.
The selectors are all 2000 type strowger selectors, which are familiar to me from the exchanges I help to look after at the Dean Forest Railway. I’ve spent the evening fiddling with it, checking things over and cleaning relay contacts. After a thorough visual inspection I bravely hooked up a set of batteries and jacked in the best of the selectors. With very little fettling, it works! So I’m already 25% of the way there!
All the phone numbers are 2 digit numbers, in the ranges 20-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, 60-69. When you dial the first digit, the selector steps up that number of positions. When you dial the second digit, it steps in that number of positions. In the video below, you can see me dialing 68 and see the selector step up 6 places, then in 8 places.
I just love the noise these exchanges make! I can’t wait to sort out the rest of it!
Over the last year or so, I’ve been baking this cake on and off trying to iron out a few of the wrinkles in the original recipe. I think I’ve pretty much got it sussed now so I’m going to type up the scrappy piece of paper covered in scrawled notes and crossings out. It’s in metric (sorry about that) but mainly because that’s what the original recipe was in.
300g Soft brown sugar
50g granulated sugar
300g Self raising flower
1 heaped tsp Cinnamon
Zest of one lemon
Juice of half a lemon
240g (1 pot) of Sour cream (I’m very approximate on the sour cream, it seems to come in 300g pots and I just end up leaving some in the pot, I don’t measure it)
500g (approx 4 sticks) of Rhubarb
Stage 1 – cook down the rhubarb
Roughly chop the rhubarb, and put it in a pan with the 50g of granulated sugar. Add the lemon juice, cover and cook on a very low heat until the rhubarb softens and begins to break up.
Use a sieve to separate out the pulp from the juice, and leave both to cool to room temperature
Stage 2 – the cake batter
Preheat the oven to 150C
Beat the butter, sugar, lemon zest and eggs together with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. The mixture may curdle at this point, but don’t worry about it.
Fold in the sour cream
Sieve in the flour and cinnamon, a bit at a time. Fold it in to the mixture.
Take the cooled rhubarb pulp, and gently stir it through the mix
Pour the batter into a greased and lined 8″ cake tin
Stage 3 – Baking
Bake at 150C for about an hour, until golden brown on the top. Test to see if it’s cooked with a metal skewer. If it comes out clean, it’s done. If you’re using a smaller cake tin, you’ll need to adjust the timings accordingly (I think a 7″ tin took about 1.5hours last time I tried it)
When done, leave it to stand in its tin for 10 minutes, then take it out and cool it on a wire rack
Stage 4 – Optional extra
Add the juice of the other half of the lemon to the juice from the rhubarb, and another 50g of sugar. Return to the heat until the sugar has dissolved. Leave it to cool then dilute it with iced water for a somewhat sharp but refreshing lemonrhubarbade! (It goes very nicely with the cake)
If you have a go at baking this cake, I’d love to know how you get on. Let me know in the comments.