Back Back to Memoirs index.

Glitches in reality

This site is aimed primarily at an aeromodelling audience. This page consists of notes made at the time, or shortly afterwards. No attempt has been made to tidy things up from the perspective of an average reader. Readers with an appropriate mindset may find it interesting. My apologies for any lack of clarity.

Probably December 1977 or 78

About to depart from Watford to Paris for the CIAM meeting by train and boat, I went to see my estranged girlfriend, Marie, and found her and her son, Ian, very ill with food poisoning. I then travelled to Garston to inform her mother of the fact and to transport her to back to Marie to care for her. I then returned home to catch my train, with no hope of making the boatrain connection at Charing Cross, but no real hope other than to try.

With little more than an hour to go I walked up to Watford High Street station to catch the train to Charing Cross, needing to change at Baker Street. The train stopped at Queens Park and we were instructed to disembark due to work on the line (this was a Sunday morning). We were instructed to exit the station and catch a bus which would take us to Willesdon. With many delays all round I eventually arrived at Willesdon and jumped on the first train that arrived travelling in the direction of central London.

Looking up at the train indicator, I was surprised to find that this train actually went to Charing Cross with many stations in between. On arrival I rushed up to the mainline station and, after further delay finding the platform, caught the boatrain with about 20 seconds to go.

It is difficult to be specific regarding times, but the maximum time that I had available from my front door to Charing Cross would have been no more than 1 hour and 10 minutes.

Some time in 1980/81

Having set out for Argus Publications in Hemel Hempstead from Croxley View, Watford, rather late, I was upset to get stuck behind a slow moving lorry between Hunton Bridge and Apsley. I arrived in the office only a couple of minutes late. I appeared to have completed the trip in around 11-12 minutes. Repeating the trip late at night on empty roads revealed a minimum journey time of 18 minutes. I have no recollection whatsoever of the period between getting stuck behind the lorry at Hunton Bridge and arriving in Apsley - still behind it.

?/?/90

In the process of getting a Morley 'Huey' helicopter from the car to the pit area, I managed to get glow fuel all over the keyboard of my PCM 10 computer transmitter - effectively ruining it. The tank of the helicopter was empty and neither it, or the fuel bottle/dispenser were anywhere near the transmitter.

06/03/97

Went to Bedmond with three helicopters: Enforcer, SR-X and Baron 20. Attempted to fill Enforcer from Duraglo 5 bottle via pump on Superglo 5 bottle. Pump would not prime. After many gyrations and attempts to get fuel through the pump, I eventually got it primed with Superglo. I removed the pipe and transfered it to the Duraglo bottle, pinching it off to avoid losing the prime. It still didn't prime so I pumped frantically to attempt to reprime the pump. Then I noticed fuel pouring out of the tank overflow. The tank was full. It was definitely empty when I started as I hadn't flown the model for about 6 months!

07/03/97

Checked Eudora 'In' box and found a message from Tony Wright headed 'It's 2.5 Mb, sorry', posted 05/03/97. I had complained to him on 06/03/97 about a file that appeared to be 7 Mb long! Now this could have been his original message with a coincidentally named heading, but the two files in the Eudora attachment folder of half and three quarter Mb were still there yet I KNOW I had deleted them!

13/07/97

On its second flight at the SAM 35 Gala, the Box Car Chief started to go lean during the overheads and finally quit in the clover, hitting the deck with a thump. Having helped Tom Hughes to fly I went back to the car to clean the model. There was none of the usual fuel down the fuselage or under the outboard wing and the tank was empty. A later check of the tape recording showed that the flight was 5 minutes and 57 seconds. John Lynch (the judge) swears that the first flight was 5 minutes 30 (shorter!) despite the fact that I completed the schedule plus another 30 laps. When I unloaded the model from the car, on arriving home, it was dry. Around midnight that day I found that the tank was leaking and the model was covered with fuel coming from around the U/C legs.

20/12/98

The brand new fan heater that I had bought for the bedroom suddenly stopped while I was working at the computer. It is a thermostatically controlled fan and I assumed that it had turned itself off because the room temperature corresponded to the setting. Some time later I realised that it had not restarted and it was getting cold. The thermostat had been turned right down!

Unknown

My mothers old clock on the wall of my workshop suddenly appeared to have lost time. Investigation showed that it had stopped - an almost unknown phenomenon since it usually lost time when in need of a new battery, but never stops. It had been fitted with a new battery only a few days before. This battery was hanging half out of the chassis. It is a very firm fit.

31/03/00

Set out for bank and then Bedmond at about 1215pm. Had to park a long way from the bank after a couple of trips around the block, then long walk.

On arrival at Bedmond I climbed the hill and had numerous flights with all 3 CO2 models (5 with Scram, 7 with Jersey Javelin and 3 with Southerner Mite) including nearly losing Southerner in a thermal and another long walk to recover it. Then stowed models in car - walk down and up hill - and flew Concept 30 SR-X. Put 3/4 tank of fuel through Concept and did 20 autos.

Another trip down and up the hill and I put 3/4 tank of fuel through the Avantgarde and did 22 autos.

I sat around admiring the view while contemplating the final trip back down the hill. Another member arrived with his heli. "Been here long?", he asked. "All afternoon", I said, and received a very funny look. We then chatted for a while about the club and helis and I said goodbye as he started his first flight.

Having stowed everything back in the car after cleaning the two helis, I made myself comfortable, started the engine and looked at the clock. IT WAS 1415!

Departure and arrival times at home were consistent with the time on the car clock.

Recently

Having invested in a digital TV receiver, I have become familiar with the phenomenon of the picture freezing or breaking up (pixellating) sometimes simultaneously. Quite common is the loss of sound with the picture continuing, or vice versa. With old type analogue TV any interference or poor signal strength produces noise on the sound and 'snow' on the picture.

I have now begun to experience a situation where the picture will freeze or pixelate, or the sound will be lost when I am watching analogue TV. My inclination is, "I don't think I'm watching digital!" I then check and find that I am not. It doesn't happen again!

Granted that there may be a good reason for this involving the way that the signal is processed before transmission, why does it stop when I wake up and start paying attention?

So now my well used and familiar FM radio is beginning to show breaks in sound without any background noise.

I blame mobile 'phones - but what do I know?

3/10/07

This one is a lot more difficult to quantify as a lot of it is the impression gained at the time. For many years I have made trips to the St Ives area of Cornwall and have a fairly good idea of how long it takes. I do keep records of the trip on a small tape recorder. The fastest trip that I am aware of was in a nearly new hire car which didn't want to go slowly - in fact, I was caught by a speed trap approaching Hayle. That trip took around six and a half hours (after deducting stops) for almost exactly 300 miles.

I had acquired an old Ford Fiesta for the princely sum of 175 with MOT and a years tax. It really didn't want to go very fast (I rarely saw more than 50 MPH) but it did around 50 MPG too so I wasn't complaining. It was fairly clear that the second choke of the Webber carburettor wasn't working.

I set off for Cornwall in no particular hurry at 10 am, expecting to arrive at St Ives Bay Holiday Park, Hayle at maybe 7 or 8 pm. I needed to fill up with petrol at some point and, as there is now a notable shortage of petrol stations in the Watford area, headed for Slough. After making sevaral passes through Slough without finding a single ggarage, I headed out towards Beaconsfield and eventually found a garage with the car running on fumes. After filling up I set out for the M4. It was now 10 minutes after 11 am.

With a good down slope and a following wind I could almost make 60 MPH - sometimes. It was embarrassing to crawl past a lorry going downhill and having it roar past me when I was going up the following hill at 40 MPH, or even 35 MPH.

I wanted to stop in Bodmin to check when the Bodmin and Wenford Railway would be running. I was rather bemused to drive down the hill into Bodmin at just 4 pm. After parking in the station car park and checking the timetable, I had a quick stroll around the town centre and set out for Hayle. I managed to take the wrong road and ended up travelling back up the A30 in the direction of London!

So, turn araound at the next junction and back towards Hayle. I arrived at the entrance to the holiday park at almost exactly 5 pm, just plain confused.

Referring to my tape recorded records, after deducting stops I get a journey time of five and a half hours - an hour less than my previous best in a far better car. The average speed works out at 57 MPH. This is certainly not impossible, but it is just about as fast as the car was capable of in favourable conditions.

It seems to me that averaging a cars fastest speed for something close to 300 miles is more than straining reality.

Hayle 16/10/2008

Being lifelong shortsighted (well, since at least the age of four) I wear thick glasses in a heavy frame. This particular frame has a break above the top right corner of the right lens. This has been repaired many times but I seem to have found an arrangement that works fairly well for long lengths of time. Since I need to perch them on the end of my nose for close-up work they often fall off.

One peculiarity here is that the joint will survive a fall which ends with a resounding thud on a hard surface, yet will fail after a short fall onto a softish surface.

One evening, when on holiday in Cornwall, I had placed them on one leg when I was sitting in a chair and they fell off onto a carpetted floor. I should explain that I had taken them off to examine some small text in a book. "Oh", I thought, "that could have broken them." Examination revealed that they were fine. A little later, I repeated the same move but without them falling on the floor. When I picked them up and replaced them on my nose, I realised that I couldn't see properly. The cause was that the right lens was still resting on my knee!

The frame was not broken and I had one hell of a job getting the lens back into the frame.

10/04/09

My mothers old clock, mentioned previously, suddenly lost 2 minutes. I put it right and forgot about it. Some time later I noted that it had lost another 2 minutes. I put it right again and decided it was about time that I changed the battery. Later the same day it had lost another 2 minutes. I put it right.

Some days later I noticed that it was still keeping good time. On a sudden thought I checked my mothers birth date - 10/04/1909!

I still haven't changed the battery.

Bodmin 29/04/09

I have an older digital camera which takes 3.5" floppy disks inserted directly into the camera. This is very convenient apart from the need to carry a supply of disks. While taking photographs on Bodmin station, I mislaid one disk which was already full. I searched all my coat pockets and trouser pockets without success and decided that I must have dropped it somewhere. I searched the platform, concentrating on areas where I know I had been. No luck.

I used a number of disks and was careful to stow them where I could find them. A couple of hours later, I put my hand in my trouser pocket - and there was the disk. This is just one of many examples of a lost item turning up later in a place that I know it could not have been.

24/07/09

If you have no ineterest in model helicopters, this probably won't make much sense, but here goes:

I have a small helicopter (7.5 inch rotor dismeter) which has a rather sluggish control responnse. In an attempt to improve things I added a spring to the rotor head to stiffen the teeter effect. This was an improvement but I decided that I needed to reduce the helicopter control movement and increase the control movement from the transmitter. I should point out that the model is flown indoors in the large 'front room' of a victorian villa house.

The first flight attempt resulted in the helicopter skittering across the floor and tipping over without hitting anything. Two more attempts convinced me that something was wrong. On examining the model I was amazed to find that one link from a servo to the swashplate (lateral cyclic - aileron) was missing and one link from the swashplate to the rotor head was bent, while the other was missing. This particular model had previously withstood an enormous amount of punishment with no more than a detached link. It now rather looked as if someone had stood on it! Remember that it hadn't actually hit anything.

I searched the floor for the missing parts without success. On examining the model I found that the bent link was now missing! I had a spare linkage set in my workshop and fetched this, only to find that I was one link short (a partner to the missing bent link).

I replaced the missing servo link with a spare and returned to the floor to search for the other link (either the bent one or its partner) I eventually found a straight one, although its position suggests that it may have been one lost earlier (the reason I only had one spare).

At least I could now fly the beast to check my modification. Returning to the small work surface normally used to install batteries before flying, I was stunned to find the missing servo link lying in plain view. I checked about six times, but it has to be the original since I still had two spares.

After all of this I ommitted to increase the control throw on the transmitter and the model proceeded to attack tne wall of the room and richocheted off onto the floor. The only damage was the disappearance of my head spring modification. So, return everything to what it was originally and enjoy a couple of perfectly normal flights.

Two days later I found the bent link sitting on the workbench in the workshop. (Through all of the above, the heli was never in the workshop!) I was amazed by the effort needed to straighten it.

Comment

I have long held the opinion (shared by others) that we each build our own reality. Rather less common is my view that we all have some erratic ability to travel sideways in time (to parallel timelines). This would explain why two people in a close relationship can have widely differing versions of the same event. The conventional view is that one of them is wrong. Maybe they are both right.

There is some belief that any time loss experience is the result of alien abduction. Am I the only person to experience time gain?

I am convinced that 'glitches' in spacetime are a common occurance but we ignore, or forget, them to protect our sanity. Long ago I made a resolution to make notes on such things. Since then, I have found a number of notes that are clearly written by me, yet mean nothing.

Top