greetings to our friends world wide last nights blog made at considerable effort and expense seemed to crash before it was published so a brief catch up before we get to boxing day. the flight with air France was so so they really seem to have gone down hill this last year there wasn't even a choice of meal and itveas a 777 plane with the awful seats, we had to check the wheelchair in at the gate and when we arrived at Havana Cuba it was two hours before we had the luggage and the wheel chair it was really quite nerve wracking typically air France staff had all pissed off before anyone could figure out what would happen to the wheel chair the Cubans were helpful ish but of course nobody spoke any English. so when we got out we changed some cash and caught a taxi the wheelchair did speed things up with queues etc and we got the same room at the hotel as we had last time, too late then for eating and after a good nights sleep and crowded but good breakfast I left the girls to explore the tourists sights and got what I could by way of film on Christmas day it was almost normal for taxi vintage yank jobs and even lorry buses even saw an old camel bus which we didn't on the last trip. WiFi hard to get to grips with but girl in business centre the worlds expert on every device. good meal in the restaurant in hotel and then sue had a trip on pavement and twisted ankle so I managed to get tubegrip bandage from nearby pharmacy. I went to my old spot near the railway crossing out by docks but I'd scouted out other spots and settled on the end of the motorway section which was pretty good and although perhaps old trucks are getting slightly thinner on the ground there is still a good selection from worldwide and plenty of variety and constant unexpected sights like a ford perfect coming around a corner also morris minor and lots of European truck a nice old man truck today,plenty of truck buses,old cars still everywhere,we hit the road tomorrow to Cienfuegos getting ourselves sorted this evening so we are all ready for the departure hoping the driver is well switched on and can get his head around my interests . 2.5 hours of film done by end of day two in Cuba it was wet Christmas but hotter and sunny boxing day.
we had a bad night as about two am Mandy who had been coughing nearly all the time was sick so we had to make the bed and put all the bed clothes in the wash then arrow cars didn't turn up this morning they had always been so reliable but one of
f our lovely neighbours rescued us and took us to the airport then all three pieces of hand luggage git searched, bacon butty and we are now off to the gate next stop Paris
our cine film derived Austrian tram and trolleybus archive takes us back a long way before these shots were taken by our friend Ken Harris in the early 90s, in fact some of the vehicles featured in the film have no colour photos that I've found on the net. The first selection have just have basic editing to make them easier to view, they are from many collections in the PMP archive and although the quality does vary many are superb records of life from the late 1950s onwards through to about 1986
Yesterday I put a few photos which show type of thing to expect, I'm hoping to get some of the Vienna sequences to this stage before we leave for Cuba tomorrow morning , at any case please pass the word around as I think it of almost national importance as it is such a unique look back at ages long past, I will put on suitable sound tracks when they received the final editing. The DVDs should be out by February or March, I am happy to consider launching them via societies or club, museums etc in Austria and Germany which will have a great demand.
It's certainly wind down time now and the DVD orders have dried up at last and Mandy is glad of a break, it's been a bumper Christmas following a year of difficult trading. We have introduced yet more countries to our coverage and completed in depth tours of bus, tram, trolley and truck destinations - more of the same for 2015 plus we already have the start of plans for 2016 which include a return to China to sweep up those places not visited, those which have great changes and the North Korean weekender trip.
This superb shot via Flckr is typical of the trolleybus you'll see in the old Austrian films although several are from a previous generation and quite basic. We hope that this will provide some Christmas / New Year entertainment as keen eyed enthusiasts for the region spot all those small details you can pick out with moving images.
We are now waiting for our friend Sue to arrive and the alarm is set for a fairly early hour tomorrow as we fly from Manchester via Paris to Havana. Remember some of the vehicles we saw last time we went, here to finish are tasters, I'll blog whilst 'on the road' but opportunities are limited there.
greetings friends worldwide, we seem to be hurtling towards the big day now and only one more blog to go before we start on our travels. The carol service at St Oswalds was very full as was the car park and Mandy ended up having to hobble across the cobbled road which was a pain. Mandy has now managed to pull a muscle across her chest, it was like this when she woke up this morning so we are guessing it happened in the night. I was in work today, the roads were as expected very quiet and it was dead in the office with just a few of us not already on leave or working from home. There is a management visit expected tomorrow so lots of sweeping and tidying although whether anyone actually shows is another thing.
I've been working away this evening on the Austria tram films, in fact her is a small selection of pictures I found on the net which are assisting me identify the places, its sometimes hard even making sure you have the correct country, time is running out so I doubt if I'll get anything finished but perhaps tomorrow a couple of taster clips before we leave. There is certainly quite a lot of material amongst it including some on the old video master which i don't seem to have anywhere else such as my friend Albert's film from Barcelona which he took on his trips to Austria. I've not found much on the likes of Salzburg trolleys are the trolley systems which finished earlier but there are many gems from Innsbruck and Vienna plus Graz and Linz. I'll try and find my original notes made for me many years ago they are all in a drawer together.
some of course are easier to spot than others and are not what you would expect as things have often changed beyond recognition, the architecture of Innsbruck and Vienna does often help and weren't the deckers of Vienna brilliant and I hope that its the Vienna trolleybuses that I've managed to get shots of there were two systems or lines in the city once upon a time, some of the old Austrian trolleys are hardly recorded at all on the net. Thanks for the Flickr uploaders for enabling content which shouldn't be copied for commercial use.
I'm not really getting ahead of ourselves but this is a reminder that there is only now very limited time to get DVD orders in and posted before we leave for our annual Christmas and New Year break and gather in more material to keep the momentum going into the next year. I've put the notice on the EBay shop although it does remain open to orders all the way through as does the PMP shop although I've put a large note on the shop home page. I'll pull the plug on the Amazon shop Monday night as there is no way of managing it whilst away, you would just get battered for posting orders late, its a bit of a pig though as we have done an awful lot of business through Amazon this Christmas.
We are now working our way through the Austrian archives, I've got Ken Harris's film onto one programme which last about 92 minutes, I can just get it on the DVD. There is an awful lot of old cine film on Austria, some like Innsbruck and Vienna is pretty easy to identify but the likes of Linz and Graz have changed so much and I never visited it in still photo days. Anyway I'll do my best and if I get stuck perhaps have another go at crowd ID of the scenes albeit that didn't really work with the Japanese film but I'd expect better results from Austria. We had a very mild day and it continues so through the evening, it's the carol concert this evening at St Oswald's, large crowds expected at the Bells afterwards, heady days for the pub trade although it collapses after New Year. I wonder what it was like in the shops today, glad I wasn't out. We had a pleasant evening with friend Sue up at her sisters near Wigan last night, quite a late night out really. I think Sue was relieved to find we now have a driver and a people carrier in Cuba, all I need now is the country's expert on the old vehicles who knows where all the glorious Brit machines are hidden, other than an Anglia and a mini I don't think I spotted a UK made lorry last time but there are some known to be about.
I won't get time to finish any of the Austrian cine films before we go and they'll go to the back of the queue as I catch up with the Cuban footage but I'm sure you can all spread the word in the right direction and build up some anticipation. It's been a hectic build up on the net making up for a bit of an indifferent year at a lot of the rallies. We've already posted next years probable intinary although it could well change.Tomorrow we are at Manchester visiting Trish and Derek who have other cousin Dudley and partner Anne staying on their way to sunnier climes. Some covers from the last few DVD releases and go on to our youtube channel for oodles of clips that have gone on this weekend.
I've just finished uploading clips / trailers for the remainder of our Australian archive DVDs which are all now live and are also available on the PMP shop . I have tried to refocus after getting pissed off with the pratt yesterday but as a hobby it's sad that some just seem to go out of their way to be obtuse and I really don't need either the hassle or the back stabbing that is better suited to a bad workplace than as a safe family viewing channel / resource. The Australian scenes concluded with a great long running film which soaks up the likes of ACT, Queensland, South Australia and Tasmania with both cities and country operators with an astonishing variety of vehicles. The latest editing software does have plenty of plus points but when editing with added sound to silent film it just seems to go off on it's only little quirks. Taking of quirks the Youtube channel still seems to get crazy zany and purely ridiculous claims on copyright which included the latest Canberra film , I'm sure it's just random electrical noise that matches so called 'music' in a jumble of traffic sounds.
We've had a busy day although getting clothes ready for the Cuban trip meant that there was no filming, however having finished three arcives in the past week we've not been sitting on our laurels. The next subject of archives in Austria and thus you'll deduce that we are alphabetically working our way through anything which may not have been picked up yet, this includes several trips by Ken Harris around the early 1990s and then some amazing scenes from our cine archive which will have widened since the first attempts to bring them to video without any of the benefits of computer editing and filtering etc so I'm quite looking forward to the challenge which being restricted to a smaller number of mainly well known locations shouldn't be that difficult especially when it's compared to the now abandoned project opf getting all our Japanese footage on DVD, very few people from Japan responded to crowd help in identifying the scenes. We could do with some more effort on use of the Youtube channel which whilst growing does seem to languish with an almost static number of hits each day / month, likewise the subsribers climb but not fast enough. The only cure is to go for the films which seem to attract masses of viewers which can be quite surprising with the likes of Oran trams being way up the top along with Mansfield which still features three times in the top ten viewing figures.
Being topical we should note that our North Korea film courtesy of Martin Rickett still goes down well and even attracts positive comments from their medi watchers along the lines of how open it was for everybody all those years ago which is actually partly true with a bit more freedom for photography which even included the gold mine railway! We are out this evening meeting friend Sue up at her sisters after dinner. I'll get all my camera kit packed for the trip tomorrow, we have settled for a people mover complete with driver which hopefully will open new possibilities for me, lets hope he has an interest in old vehicles and isn't afraid of picking up local advice. Some of the Oz clips next.
I wrote to Atlas Editions and asked why they don't sell all the buses in the Uk but not to my surprise I got no answer, they do however have one of the all time widest growing varieties of bus models to a near as damn it recognised UK scale of 1/72 the same as our model aircraft and only a tiny bit away from 1/76 which cover the majority of UK bus models. The little package which arrived within a couple of working days from Slovakia was undamaged and contained another trio of perky little gems covering Italy, Austria and Netherlands.
There are many more to go and they are still pouring out to subscribers around the glode, the only ones I wouldn't want are the UK models which are actually 1/76 models already available from the likes of Corgi only sometimes even worse than the original issues. Although the only overseas decker so far is the Berlin bus I hope that they widen the range a bit. There are lots of amazing prototypes from the old USSR which could be tackled and the complimentary tram models in smaller 1/86 continental scale are wonderful and just beg to be motorised whilst the esoteric French autorail or railbus models are off on a tangent so far away from the norm that they have to be some models of the century for their reasonable price. Love it or hate it Ebay is probably the best place to pick up those issued abroad. There are some beauties from Hungary at present on the shops but they can attract optimistically high prices which are best avoided so as not to encourage greediness. Let everybody make a reasonable mark up, few fortunes are now made through this medium.
Talking of bargains we got a communication from Scottish Power about our gas and electric supply tarif and as instructed enquired about other tariffs, if we went online we would save about £200 so trued to register but their site is useless, their call centre rubbish, there whole operation poorly rated and after a million years as customers through the legacy forbears we've swapped to the Co-op as not only do we pay 33 % less they even give the divi on fuel for members.I'm having a short last pre Christmas sale from midnight, then I'll put the shop holiday setting on. Last night I finished the picture side of the latest Australian bus DVD archive, now I must tackle the sounds, the hardest part. Some shots of the south American Atlas / IXO buses
Hi ho here we are again as jolly as can be all good friends and jolly good company except that we are off out with our friends Emma and Phil this evening as the take a very short break from farm,horses and children and quoff a few reds with us to celebrate eons of friendship. It's been a busy day on the trip planning front, a day is a long time in the execution of plans which sometimes go up the swanny river. This time it's Cuba and we shall no longer be steering ourselves around but have a chauffeur to do it all for us due to the fact that they have no self drive cars of sufficient size left, so at least we don't have to worry much about the maps after all my careful planning. There will be no frustration and time lost and may be our driver will be an expert of hidden transport gems and open closed doors or find doors where I never saw them at all.
Enough of the ramblings, the first of the WA Australian archives is ready and loaded on the shop page under Australia no less. There will be a follow up again mainly Perth but something extra before I clock up the remainder of the country with one great swoop and there really are some classic gems to come your way, I wonder is Santa in Oz sees the list and wants to get a sackful as early Christmas presents. Mandy's cold is on the mend, my bronchitis is on it's last fling. It's been a quiet day for orders although I bet there is one last rush at the weekend before I start shutting down for the holiday period. When we get back it will not be long before our next Asian adventure. I've been discussing trips in 2016, a new China trip, South America, Haiti and Dominican Republic, have you seen Haiti buses, pieces of artwork each telling a story. Clips from the Oz archives already on Youtube, please go on our channel and click some adverts, viewership slipped last two weeks.
as I seem to be pulling through the worst of the bronchitis Mandy is now going downhill fast so I've recommended an early trip to the doctor as there is so little time left before we leave for Cuba a week tomorrow. We got the Cuba tourist cards today and the e ticket etc, I'll check through the rest of the documentation as we get ready to go, I bet Sue has already started her packing, we haven't even thought of it yet. What another dreary miserable week it has turned out, it's also eerily quiet a work with the amount of emails and calls dropping off each day and less and less people in the office. I got yet another of the Atlas trams from China, it arrived within a few days of ordering, the post in China seems to work very well, I've never had a problem over the years with anything there. I've never heard anything back from my pen pal Li, I can't imagine whats happened, perhaps it was remarrying and getting a flat not leaving enough time to write in English, perhaps one day I'll get back to the coal mine villages of Handan province.
The DVD editing has gone well and I'm ready to make the first of the Australian Perth DVDs which I've just finished putting some sound on, I had to look up one of my early Perth films to get a half realistic soundtrack, hopefully I won't have too many hassles putting it on Youtube, often find that people claim spurious rights over sounds of buses and cars but then that is 'modern' music and what it sounds like, a collection of noises at random. I think there will be three volumes from this excercise, after Perth WA there will be Brisbane and other areas of Queensland, one trip to Adelaide, a couple of visits to Canberra and a single trip to Tasmania. We seem to have posted cards to just about everyone who has sent them, nothing up yet but we have a tree inside and out and a santa gnome that Yvonne bought us which looks quite smart by the lamp at the back of the settee, amazing really but then it is a M&S gnome after all.
I took a trip down to the Stobart Port this lunch time as it was sunny but by the time i got the camera out it had started to rain and was pretty darn cold to boot, anyway a few stills to lighten up tonights missive.
PMP Sponsors the North West Vehicle Restoration Trust at Kirkby.