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St. Mary's Catholic Primary School Summer Fayre 2016

Report by Peter Clay

SELMEC members put on a display here on 11th June, as we did last year. Unlike last year when we were in the hall, we were provided with a gazebo. I arrived to find Chris Warrell and Brian Leach there while the gazebo was being erected for us. It allowed (just) two double-length tables, with built-in stool type seats, to fit underneath with a gap in the middle to get in and out. Now my account will split:

First the good news…

From the spectators' viewpoint, left to right, were:

Brian Leach showed an automatic lift which travelled up and down, reversing at the top and bottom. As in all his models, the mechanism (depending on pulleys and cord on a rotating holder) was visible. His automatic belt drive had an epicyclic gear which caused the belt tension to increase with the load. Brian also had a duck and Hubble telescope, both arousing interest from children. He was also in demand to fit batteries and cartridges in the bubble-firing guns on sale!

Peter Clay brought his new variable linegraph which worked throughout. Finally motorised, it could also be manually driven (take heed — this will become significant). A version of Robin Schoolar’s south-seeking chariot using Multi-Purpose Gears intrigued spectators with three pointers all pointing the same way. He also had a Calais four-wheel steering car worked by tilting the body and his 'mascot' Dad's Army van.

Brian Leach watches as Peter Clay sets up his Variable Linegraph
Brian Leach watches as Peter Clay sets up his Variable Linegraph

Chris Fry brought a Guilloche Machine of his own design. A feature of this was the journal plates fixed by rods instead of bolts. This allowed the shafts to line up and the fitting of a two-stage gearbox to the table, giving a wide range of speeds. With a silent motor it produced intricate, attractive designs. His exoplanet orrery was worked by a flywheel spun up by spectators. It is a tribute to Chris that it ran for such a long time that it always seemed to be turning! A lovely red Ducati Monster motorcycle from the new range completed his display.

Chris Fry's Ducati motorcycle
Chris Fry's Ducati motorcycle

Chris Warrell had an Eiffel Tower from the Spin Master set with lights which unfortunately did not show up well in daylight. His big pontoon crane fascinated young spectators. His display of multicoloured Daleks also proved popular. A Russian lunar rover (Lunokhod 2) like Brian's telescope brought us into the space age. A canal lift bridge, nuclear flask railway wagon and BMX style bicycle completed the display.

A boy plays with Chris Warrell's Pontoon Crane
A boy plays with Chris Warrell's Pontoon Crane

…and now the bad news:

The first issue which may have a bearing on later events was that a water main nearby burst. This may have caused the power cut which afflicted our stall early on. At least I was able to crank my Meccanograph. A good thing as the power, which curiously enough other stalls did have, was never restored.

The third problem was the natural water main overhead! Models had to be moved away from the heavy rain which ran down through the gazebo roof. The public sheltering under it, rather than being a captive audience, turned their backs and chatted using our tables to put their cups etc. on. Fortunately the rain eventually stopped.

Our gazebos at the fayre
Our gazebos at the fayre

Overall, despite mishaps, our show went down well (the organisers were pleased) and, despite the weather, "a good time was had by all."

We were able to fly the flag for the hobby and our club, and give out fliers for the exhibition.

» This article appeared in the Autumn 2016 issue of SELMEC News.

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